Help me find a fashionable hat.
May 3, 2010 8:33 AM   Subscribe

[HipFilter] I need an anti-sunshine hat for the summer. The problem comes with my pretensions toward fashion. Sartorial details within.

Due to medication that I take, I get sick (physically ill/exhausted/nauseous) if my head is exposed to direct sunlight for too long. I still want to go out though. So I've decided to get a hat. I have never worn a non-winter hat. Most important is to keep the sun out of my face, less (although still important) to keep it away from my neck.

When out casually -- which is what I need the hat for -- I dress in a minimalist hipster/punk/urban sorta deal. Tight (occasionally v. tight) jeans or shorts made out of tight jeans cut off at the knees, tight t-shirts or cut up t-shirts (no neck/sleeves), hi-tops (b/w or black chucks or colorful old-school looking Nikes), track jacket or hoodie if necessary, leather jackets for the cold. I don't really do accessories. I never wear jewelry.

So. Fedoras, bowlers, jazzman hats, and other sorts of Gentleman Hats etc. are all right out. Panama hats? No. Stetsons are a bit out of my price range and just too there. Standard Yankees baseball cap? No. Other than that, I have no idea what sorts of hats exist. Wearing a woman's hat, so long as it is not incredibly feminine is not a problem. Subtle would be nice. I don't want to be the Guy with the Hat. Moderately inexpensive (<$50 generally, < $100 for something guaranteed to last a few years) would also be nice.
posted by griphus to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (19 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
I dress in a similar fashion to you and just bought this hat, it's from a UK store but you can find something similar. Can't link on my iPhone sorry but here's the link:
posted by ellieBOA at 8:39 AM on May 3, 2010

Straw fedoras are a little silly, but are light and comfortable for summer and wouldn't be out of place among hipsters.
posted by oinopaponton at 8:45 AM on May 3, 2010

I need to wear a hat in the sun as well, and not knowing anything about hats, I wore a stupid plain black baseball cap. Then, while at a fair, a friend coaxed me into trying on a flat cap that some vendor had for sale. I resisted because I had always thought they would look really weird on me. When I looked in the mirror, I was surprised by how good it looked and now I'm in love with it and wear it everywhere and with everything!

So, while a flat cap may not be for you, don't knock a hat until you've tried it on; you might be surprised.
posted by Cat Pie Hurts at 8:56 AM on May 3, 2010

You need a hat with a fairly wide brim. If I were you, I'd look at photographs of artists from the early 20th century. It was a hat wearing time, but they tended to wear them unconventionally, and look delightfully rakish in them. Here are a few: Matisse, Picasso, Gauguin.

Since it's summer, go with straw. Anything else will be too hot. Here are a variety of men's straw hats to give you an idea of the shapes available. Take a gander at the porkpie (but make sure it's one with a wider brim), bowler, skimmer, and fedora. All have interesting shapes.

These two are more traditional sunhats: 1, 2, and would provide more protection, but I'm not sure how they'd gibe with your style.
posted by ocherdraco at 8:58 AM on May 3, 2010

I'd look for a hat specifically designed with an SPF factor. Here's a page full; there are some stylish ones about halfway down. Here's some more. Google has lots more, if you include SPF in your search terms.
posted by CathyG at 9:15 AM on May 3, 2010

nthing a flat cap - a friend of mine always wears a hat and it's always a flat cap. He looks great and nobody really notices his hat anymore.
posted by ukdanae at 9:17 AM on May 3, 2010 [1 favorite]

No neck protection, but hats like these might fit your style.

Also ... there's no substitute for just finding yourself a hat store. Head in with an open mind, find a mirror, and try on every style they have. You might be surprised at what looks good on you.
posted by Metasyntactic at 9:26 AM on May 3, 2010

You might try a gambler or an outback hat. Wider brims, reasonably stylish without looking overly formal or genre-specific. Certainly some of the hats within the same general style will suit you better than others, so keep looking.

As I mentioned in another thread, if you want to make sure it doesn't let the sun through, line it with another fabric. It's a very, very simple craft project (cut fabric, cement it on).

If a Tilley hat works for you, they're awesome.

The most important thing is attitude. Don't be self-conscious; just wear it with pride and you'll be well on your way. (I wish more people would wear hats! I wore my own gambler out this weekend and a lady thought it was just in honor of Derby Day!)
posted by Madamina at 9:47 AM on May 3, 2010

No matter what, you're going to need a hat with a wide brim to get any kind of sun protection, preferably in some kind of straw or other lightweight fabric so you don't get really sweaty and nasty. So you're going to end up having to choose between the despised fedora or Panama hat, one of those floppy bucket hats, or those crazy safari-looking hats that they have at camping stores. (My little brother has a similar style to yours and has recently begun affecting a Panama hat in the summer months -- it actually looks pretty good in a very silly way.)

I would go to an off-price store like Marshall's or something like that, go to the accessories section, and try on every single hat while making silly faces in the mirror. Eventually you will find one that you actually kind of secretly like, although it is ridiculous. (All hats seem ridiculous when you are unaccustomed to wearing them.) Buy it. I have a theory that the best way to acquire a dignified bearing is to deliberately wear ridiculous hats and act as if everything is perfectly normal. That is why, in video footage from bygone eras when everyone wore ridiculous hats all the time, everyone seems so dignified.

I don't think it's really possible to have a hat that will keep you from being exposed to sun that will also escape notice. Not that many people really wear hats anymore, excepting the flat cap style, and a flat cap isn't going to keep the sun off your face and neck very well. I can sympathize -- I'm super-pale, spend a lot of time in the outdoors, and need to wear big floppy hats if I don't want skin cancer. There comes a time when you just have to suck it up, put on the ridiculous hat, and realize that you are not going to be the Guy with the Hat to people who actually know you, and that strangers Just Don't Care About You or Your Hat unless your hat is really very dramatic or unless you do something else to piss them off. I personally prefer to get the largest sun hat I can find, because then I can also keep the sun off of significant portions of the rest of my body. This summer, I found and purchased a gray straw hat with a really high crown and a brim that is wider than my shoulders. It has difficulty fitting through doorways. I will so totally be the Lady With The Hat, and it will be amazing.
posted by kataclysm at 9:57 AM on May 3, 2010 [6 favorites]

Check out Goorin hats.
posted by gnutron at 10:05 AM on May 3, 2010 [3 favorites]

Conical straw hat. Seriously. It's the perfect hat for your needs, and I personally think they look cool. Cost about $5.
posted by dirtdirt at 10:41 AM on May 3, 2010 [1 favorite]

I hate hats too, and also have my own peculiar [insert sartorial semi-snobbish tastes here]. That said, I would seriously just go with a baseball cap. Everyone from hipsters to yuppies wear them, so you wouldn't look out of place in any certain neighborhood.

In Williamsburg, I have a feeling it's going to be all about the straw. (Soon, we'll all feel like we're on the Bedford Avenue Hayride. Yeehaw!) Doesn't bother me, but keep the trendiness (and your relationship with trends) in mind.

But I have to down-vote flat hats. (Apologies.) They remind me of college boys from the 90s that wore Jnco jeans, ball-bearing bracelets, and South Park shirts. Or the dudes that currently wear them with blazers and jeans. *Shudder*

Baseball hats, however, remind me of the cute hardcore/vegan/metalcore/whatever boys I used to hang with when I was a youngin'.
posted by functionequalsform at 10:41 AM on May 3, 2010

The Goorin "Burbank" is subtle and modern looking.

Other options are a classic rounded baseball cap shape or a Che cap. Anything with a full brim is going to look silly with your overall mode of dress, so either stop caring or get a Che cap and a bandanna to drape your neck when the sun is really bad.
posted by slow graffiti at 10:42 AM on May 3, 2010

What about a boonie hat? I swear by mine in the summer, and they're ubiquitous enough that you're not stuck with military colors or patterns.

If it's really hot, you can dip it in water, wring it out, and put it back on your head to cool down. When the sun goes down and you don't need it, you can roll it up to fit in a pocket.
posted by cmyk at 11:03 AM on May 3, 2010 [1 favorite]

Akubra makes a bunch of hats midway between a fedora and a cowboy hat -- both the shape/cut and the "crush" are slightly different. I wear a Stockman (I think) which is a pretty big brim with a crown shaped like a fedora. *shrug* I'm a bit of a dork, as my kids would attest, but I no longer get sunburned ears. And one of my sons this weekend mentioned that he could recognize me from afar by seeing my "cool hat" so there's that.

Key here is just no longer caring whether anyone thinks your hat isn't perfect: concentrate on what it does for your head and ignore the doubters.
posted by wenestvedt at 12:04 PM on May 3, 2010

A beanie/toque won't cover your face, but at least will cover your head and will look much more subtle than any other type. I know it's considered a winter hat, but unless you live in a particularly warm climate a light-weight beanie won't look out of place year-round. Maybe get one with a brim for that bit of extra coverage?
posted by Pomo at 4:17 PM on May 3, 2010

When I last went hat shopping, I told the guy "I want something that's a little bit riverboat gambler, a little bit Argentinian gaucho, and almost no 10-gallon-Stetson at all." He thought for a moment, then pointed towards the back of the shop. "This one." He was right. I love my hat.

It does a reasonable job of keeping the sun off my face. It was better when it was newer and the brim was stiffer, but since it's soft felt it's softened and curled over time, and my cheeks are not as well protected as they used to be. Getting a hard felt hat would probably avoid that problem.

And it looks so cool. If you had told me when I was younger that some day complete strangers would come up to me regularly to tell me "hey, you look great!" I would have laughed in your face. But they do! There was the guy who nodded at me and said, "Now that... is how you wear a hat" — that was nice. And then there was the time I was walking through downtown Oakland when an older man looked at me and said, with a grin, "You not the only gangsta down here, girl, but I think you the baddest!"

Hats are great. Hats are an easy way to look dashing and a bit out of the ordinary. Embrace your wide-brimmed future!
posted by Lexica at 7:45 PM on May 3, 2010 [1 favorite]

Plenty of helpful information at The Fedora Lounge.
posted by conrad53 at 1:26 AM on May 4, 2010

I have a (NFL) Ravens-branded straw fedora that works great. It has bits of 'nude' sunblocking fabric glued to the upper portions (brim and crown.) It's exactly the hat that Brian Billick wore during the first half of the season when he was coaching the Ravens.

Unfortunately, since he left it seems to have fallen out of favor. A quick google turns up mostly pork-pie style hats. You may have better luck if you're more persistent.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 9:22 AM on May 4, 2010

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