Non-terrible hats for women
April 26, 2013 1:39 PM   Subscribe

Non-touristy, non-dowdy hat suitable for a 20-something female.

My scalp burns very easily and I'm tired of wearing baseball caps. Also, I'm traveling to Italy next month and don't want to look (too much) like a tourist. I've read this thread and will dressing mostly in neutral colored skirts and capris. I'm looking for a decent hat to wear, but can't even think of a style that wouldn't look touristy or dowdy. I'm a 20-something female with brown hair, if that matters.
posted by sunshine37 to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (36 answers total) 30 users marked this as a favorite
A bush hat might work; I think it could look put-together with neutral skirts and so forth.
posted by emilyw at 1:46 PM on April 26, 2013 [1 favorite]

One of Goorin's floppy styles in straw would probably be lovely.
posted by crush-onastick at 1:52 PM on April 26, 2013 [15 favorites]

I just got a straw cloche hat from Amazon that looks youthful and fits great.
posted by trunk muffins at 1:58 PM on April 26, 2013 [1 favorite]

Cadet cap? Scarf? I would go with a silk scarf personally, but it depends on your style.
posted by celtalitha at 2:03 PM on April 26, 2013

The San Diego Hat Company has some nice hats for women.
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome at 2:03 PM on April 26, 2013 [3 favorites]

Seconding the Goorin's selections. My wife is very fair and, if I may say, exceptionally stylish, and wears something like the Gemini and something like a pepped up version of the Audrey.

Don't wear a bush hat.
posted by Admiral Haddock at 2:06 PM on April 26, 2013 [2 favorites]

Agreed with above; I got something like this hat at a Rite Aid (!!!) of all places because I was desperate on vacation. I ended up really liking it!
posted by amicamentis at 2:09 PM on April 26, 2013

Thirding the floppy straw hat exemplified by Goorin above.

Seconding the disapproval of the bush hat. That screams tourist to me.

I bought something like Goorin's South of France hat--only not very floppy and a really gorgeous red--last summer and I got compliments every time I wore it. I was a bit self-conscious at first, because it was a lot of hat for someone my size, but I got compliments every time I wore it. And it was such a relief to have portable shade, I would have worn it regardless.
posted by looli at 2:11 PM on April 26, 2013

The floppy straw hat seems to be the go-to stylish summer hat for ladies. JCrew currently has a cute striped version that makes it a little more fun, I think, but possibly also a little harder to wear. I think I saw similar styles in the store at Gap and Target recently, too.
posted by duien at 2:16 PM on April 26, 2013

Yes, get a floppy hat! Something like the below has the extra bonus of being smushable for easy packing. Not all floppy hats are smushable.

Bring one, and buy a hat from the local market as a great souvenir. Plus, hats are easy to lose!
posted by puertosurf at 2:17 PM on April 26, 2013

Response by poster: Thanks for the suggestions so far. I feel like I would look ridiculous in a floppy hat...I'm not great at pulling things off. Do women wear these?
posted by sunshine37 at 2:24 PM on April 26, 2013 [1 favorite]

I think any hat with blocking or shaping would drive me bananas when I was traveling. I'd take a knit beret in a neutral color. You can dress it up with a pin or silk flower if you're going someplace nice. It won't show creases if you stuff it in a bag at some point.

You might also want to learn to tie a headscarf. On cool, overcast days you can wear it around your neck. (I'm big on multi-use items when I'm living out of a bag.)
posted by cirocco at 2:27 PM on April 26, 2013

Agreed on something floppy and potentially smushable. The goorin one linked is nice.

A similarly floppy felt hat might be nice, too. They're very fashion forward at the moment.

For what it's worth, I was in Italy around this time of year (late April, early May) a couple years ago and it was overcast pretty much the entire time. Is it possible you could maybe pack a bandanna or something and maybe buy something in Italy as needed? They do have hats in Italy, you know.
posted by Sara C. at 2:29 PM on April 26, 2013

Re your update - I was just on the Urban Outfitters site looking for a floppy felt hat example and saw a ton of women's hats that look vaguely like that. Most were straw and based on the Panama hat, but same basic idea.
posted by Sara C. at 2:30 PM on April 26, 2013

For summer, I would definitely stick with straw rather than felt. A felt hat in Italy in the summer would be miserable. That said, I think a straw fedora (so, similar to what you linked) or panama hat could definitely work.
posted by duien at 2:33 PM on April 26, 2013 [2 favorites]

The J. Crew thing is very sombrero vueltiao which is sort of the national hat of Colombia...

+1 no on the bush hat

I would stay away from the fedora; that's a look that has been done recently, and done badly, and is now mostly just over/bad. Here and there one does see it done well -- a Google image search for women's fedora fetches up some straw looks that don't make me think of fedoras of okc but...

My vote would be for a straw cloche and I like Helen Kaminski so... More than one is likely to want to spend on a hat for a vacation but a nice basic shape and understated silhouette hopefully duplicated elsewhere.

Alternatively: a military cap (with a little commie flair) would (at least) be non-touristy and non-dowdy.
posted by kmennie at 2:34 PM on April 26, 2013 [2 favorites]

I absolutely would NOT wear a bush hat or anything of the kind in Italy in May unless you are planning to mostly be hiking.

It's Italy, not the Mojave.

People dress nice there.

Assuming you're doing the usual tourist stuff, you're not going to need technical clothing or Gear of any kind -- you'll mostly be in cities, walking around like a normal person. Anything designed for trekking or adventure sports is going to look ridiculous.
posted by Sara C. at 2:36 PM on April 26, 2013 [3 favorites]

If it really is mostly your scalp you're worried about and you can take care of your face/neck/ears with sunscreen, I'd suggest some sort of cotton cadet cap or newsboy cap in a light color. The right straw cloche or bucket hat could also be less statement-y. If your style of dress is more androgenous, I'd go cadet/newsboy cap. If you wear dresses or more feminine blouses, go with a straw cloche or bucket hat.
posted by drlith at 2:43 PM on April 26, 2013 [3 favorites]

Ladies can wear fedoras, but I would like to highly recommend the cloche shape. Like several others, I really do recommend Goorin Brothers - they have a ton of styles, and if you're near any of their shops, their salespeople are helpful, friendly, and honest - they love hats and they will help you find the right hat for you. They will also let you try on nine million hats in the process. Generally speaking if you have the option to try on some hat styles, you will find that very helpful in determining what kind of hat looks good with your face. Once you pick a style of hat and have an approximate idea of your size, I have friends who have had very good luck with buying hats on Etsy.
posted by posadnitsa at 2:50 PM on April 26, 2013 [4 favorites]

Oh I like the cloche hats! Something like this would be understated and not obnoxious maybe? The straw fedora is also still floating around, and less kitchy than the felt ones, a la Gwen Stefani recently.

For a scarf I was thinking something simple like this or this, but it would require a little more ability to "pull it off" so ymmv. It's versatile, though!
posted by celtalitha at 3:07 PM on April 26, 2013

Best answer: Why not buy one when you're there? It's not Italy is devoid of nice places to shop. Even the dept stores will have great stuff.
posted by Ideefixe at 3:15 PM on April 26, 2013 [2 favorites]

Alternately: Light scarf and a parasol. In fact, I have a great silk parasol that I bought in Rome. I use it around here in CA occasionally because I dislike sun exposure. Stylish, elegant, and fabulous.
posted by so much modern time at 3:15 PM on April 26, 2013 [1 favorite]

Another vote for scarves - I look stupid in any kind of hat, but I totally rock kerchiefs. So seconding the scarves celtalitha recommends above - you spoke of wanting something "non-dowdy", and that's the problem I have with most hats. But somehow kerchiefs and scarves I can pull off. Give that a try.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 3:21 PM on April 26, 2013

I've worn cadet caps all over Europe and it's been a reasonably fashionable decision. Straw hats are wonderful but I find them distracting to take care of in museums or other tightly-packed areas. If you got a hat with a shorter brim and it did not provide as much coverage as you liked, you could always get an Italian floppy hat.
posted by jetlagaddict at 3:36 PM on April 26, 2013

Best answer: No bush hats or large, floppy numbers - they're not appropriate for your needs. For summer, stick with straw, cotton, or ribbon materials and don't pick felts or knitted hats. Avoid fedora styling as it's been overdone at this point. These hats from Nordstrom have styling ideas that may work for you: folded brim cloche, cloche, short brim cap, or femmed-up military style. If you like baseball caps and are looking for something similar but less sports-related, you can't go wrong with a cadet hat.
posted by quince at 3:47 PM on April 26, 2013

If nothing so far strikes, can you describe what kind of clothing you wear so we can make better recommendations? With that said, I would suggest a straw or linen cloche or narrow-brimmed fedora to meet your needs without looking out of place; maybe get a scarf or two to supplement that.
posted by mchorn at 5:16 PM on April 26, 2013

straw crusher cowboy hat. hot hot hot.

posted by bobdow at 5:32 PM on April 26, 2013

I vote for scarves. Bring one with you and enjoy shopping for a few more while you are there!
posted by Elly Vortex at 5:38 PM on April 26, 2013

I recently bought a couple of hats from Hats in the Belfry and am very happy with them. They have a large selection of hats in a range of styles and prices. Here are some that I think are stylish and will pack well.

Knit cloche.
Cotton floppy.
Linen cloche.
Straw bonnet. (Maybe a bit much but I love it!)
posted by apricot at 7:27 PM on April 26, 2013

Do not wear a bush hat. Do not wear a cowboy hat. Are you people nuts? She said 'not-tourist'. Those are the worst possible things to wear if you are trying not to look like a tourist in Italy. Yes to floppy or cloche
posted by greta simone at 8:24 PM on April 26, 2013 [6 favorites]

Re-reading I see you mention that you are tired of a baseball cap, which must mean you wear one a lot. In which case I'd back up drlith's suggestion of a newsboy or cadet hat. I think if you did something in a neutral linen you'd achieve what you are looking for. I also happen to really like a straw fedora on a woman, so if you can carry that off, you should totally go for it.
posted by looli at 8:51 PM on April 26, 2013

If you're only used to wearing baseball caps, I'd absolutely recommend going to try things on in person. I've recently got into wearing hats, and they can really be a lot of look - but once you figure out what works with your face shape & typical clothing choices, they can finish an outfit and keep you comfortable like nothing else.

I really feel like bush hats, cowboy hats or even a fedora will read dated and touristy - my impulse is to recommend something floppy and 70's inspired (in straw, not felt, if it's going to be at all warm) but it's really down to personal style.

Good luck and have fun! I love hat shopping.
posted by Space Kitty at 9:02 PM on April 26, 2013 [1 favorite]

I have a cloche straw hat that has UV protection. I got it at Nordstrom Rack last year. Actually I just looked at the label, it is made of paper and the brand is D&Y.
posted by amapolaroja at 11:13 PM on April 26, 2013

Cloche hats are nice, but I find fedora-type hats look better on me. I have a brown straw fedora-variant (basically no brim in back; got it in BC), and a blue felt fedora-variant (kind of artfully a-kilter;picked it up in Hong Kong) that both get lots of positive comments everywhere I wear them. Definitely go to a good hat store and try a bunch on. I second the suggestion that you do this in Italy itself - kind of guarantees that it won't be a touristy hat, and also your hat would then be an awesome memento of your trip!

But you can also get a sort-of dressed-up cap if you are not as comfortable with the non-baseball cap options. I also have a sort-of engineer's hat (in artsy multi-panel upcycled fabrics; that I got on another trip in France). That wears similarly to a baseball cap but is definitely dressier; also not touristy. Here's a random photo of the sort of hat I'm talking about found through google.
posted by eviemath at 9:25 AM on April 27, 2013

Something like this? (Also available in black.)

Or maybe one of these?
posted by 4bulafia at 10:35 AM on April 29, 2013

Sorry I'm so late to this. That's falling asleep at the wheel.

First, consider your face shape. I always recommend this guide..

As for me, I rely on the M&S Ambassador hat. Now as for me, the one pictured looks like it's crown is too high and tapered for my long head, and also the band looks too narrow for me for the same reasons. But I have seen them do this hat in slightly different crown heights and tapers, so it's worth looking around, even on eBay.

The hat has a 2-inch brim, the minimum needed for sun protection, and usually comes in a UPF of 40.
posted by tel3path at 3:14 AM on April 30, 2013

« Older How to help a grieving student?   |   Places for a lunch meeting in Chicago (near the... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.