Hats On The Rise This Spring

The top hat was once the mark of an elegant gentleman, women carefully preserved their collections of felt, and straw hats embellished with beading, feathers, and embroidery. Outside of a few ceremonial events formal hats are rare if not extinct and in casual wear heads are covered with the graceless baseball cap. Nowadays, hardly anyone can distinguish between different hat styles. What's the difference between an opera hat and a top hat, for instance? Between a trilby and a fedora? One might as well be speaking a foreign language. This broad disuse and ignorance makes it difficult of course for those who appreciate the use of a hat. But why? A man should easily recognize the practical use of putting a beaver short-hair felt hat on during a brutal winter or a straw hat with a decent sized brim during brutal summer heat. A trained eye will observe the anatomy of a hat lends itself to a wide range of variations. The crown, and brim are the main elements and the wearer should be careful to select shapes that complement him best.

A wide brim will compliment a shorter face, those who have less a defined jaw. The severity or subtlety of the brims curve can play with facial features in interesting ways. Take the time to try on different shapes to discover what works best with your jaw line. The crown will either widen or narrow towards the top. If you have a short round jaw a crown that tapers at the top will make those features stronger, you would be better off with crown that either widens or only tapers slightly. A contrasting band will also add length to the face. Obviously if you tilt it forward you will lose even length.

The past decade has shown an increasing interest in men's headwear, but most men have felt wary of venturing past a couple of styles which soon were oversaturating the market (the fedora and the trilby especially). Now there is a surge of interest in felt bowlers but rather than be tied to trends, why not branch out? There's nothing wrong with following trends but personal style requires an original touch whether it comes from a unique shape, material, or color. The past SS09 shows have given us distressed straw panama hats with tapered crowns from Junya Watanabe, Burberry and Obedient Sons emerged with wilted bucket hats. Ute Ploier played with the classic bowler while Marjan Pejoski presented old world conical hats.

Top right and top left: Ute Ploier SS09. Bottom left and right: Marjan Pejoski SS09

Junya Watanabe SS09

Whatever decision is made the direction appears to be clearly in favor of the hat once again. And while certain styles such as a D'Orsay top hat might not work for one, and a grey felt porkpie may not suit another there is a hat out there for everyone. We spend so much time fixed upon anothers faces in discourse that it is well worth the time framing ourselves in this way, and perhaps taking our daily wardrobe to the next stage.

some guy wearing a bowler by Barbara Feinman


Bukuroshe said...

I love your blog!!!

Ian Brown said...

Thank you!

Giancinephile said...

Which reminds me how I've always wanted a Borsalino (blame those films)! haha

Hats are certainly headlining the SS09 season...

Ian Brown said...


Its hard not to get caught up in the romance of a good film noir.

I'm really happy that hats are getting some use and expect the trend to continue. I just hope that we see less and less affected use on the streets.