I’m going to throw it out there: I am not a hat person. It’s not that I dislike them, quite the contrary, I’d love to don a good number on my head from time to time. Unfortunately, I end up looking like a) a Blue Peter presenter, or b) that I have a carer. Self-deprecation aside, there are plenty of gents out there that love a hat, and here at FashionBeans, we recognise what they can bring to a look.
A carefully selected hat can be the perfect finishing touch, and it’s these small details that can propel a ‘strong’ outfit into the style stratosphere.
However, navigating the tricky field of men’s fashion can be a tough expedition, even for the sartorially learned, and choosing the right hat for you is a conundrum in itself. With all this in mind, we’ve compiled a perfect pocket guide for men’s hats this autumn/winter. If it makes your decision that little bit more informed, then it’s mission accomplished for FashionBeans.
We’ve seen a lot of these recently, haven’t we? The snapback went from noted nineties reference to mainstream high street uniform in a matter of months, and as a result, my views are less than positive.
Initially, I found the snapback to be quite a fun piece but soon enough, versions with ’100% SWAG’ emblazoned across became available in offensive colours, in even more offensive shops. I began to retch frequently on every high street in the country. Fear not, all hope is not lost, there is light at the end of the tunnel etc etc.
Vintage offerings and more subtle variations are absolutely fine, providing you’ve got the motivation to look somewhere else other than New Era or Nike, and genuine gaudy pieces from the nineties receive more praise than punishment.
Pros: Still relevant, potential avenue for vintage pieces.
Cons: Overdone, bit juvenile, not very seasonally appropriate.
A firm fixture on the fashion radar for several seasons, the likes of Orlando Weeks quickly introduced the rugged indie-associated piece to the masses.
I’d advise the wearers of the beanie to select muted, dark colours such as burgundy, navy or olive; nobody likes neon after all, and nobody wants to run the risk of looking like a binman.
Hues aside, the beanie’s biggest strength is versatility – it will go with literally any ensemble you see fit. Whether teaming with a peacoat and black jeans for that trawlerman vibe or with a simple jeans and t-shirt combination, the beanie is brilliant for weatherproofing a winter look.
The downside? It’s a little too casual. Whilst perfect for a stint at the pub with your mates, the beanie simply doesn’t cut the tailoring mustard when considering work and office attire.
Pros: Classic piece, completely flexible.
Cons: Perhaps a little too casual.
They may remind you of being five years old, but the bobble hat is still cool – I swear. Apres-ski inspired clothing is back on the radar this winter, and nothing says ‘Val D’isere’ more than a good old bobble hat.
Go for the primary colours and bold knitwear patterns, as it’s a rare chance to inject some vibrancy into a winter outfit (an exception to my general rule of utmost simplicity). Be careful not to border on ridiculousness though; Peruvian winter warmers and extra large bobbles are more novelty than style, and believe me, the joke is getting a bit old now.
The beauty of the bobble hat is the affordability factor. Almost every retailer has their own take on this piece, so indulge in a little fun variety.
Pros: Flexible, relatively cheap, fun.
Cons: Little bit harder for the more mature guy to pull off, not suitable with formal attire.
Nothing is more alpha male than looking like a Siberian prisoner of war, I can assure you of that. The bear trapper hat is a rugged winter essential that also has an element of fun; an unconventional style and unique shape is always a bonus when accepted by the mainstream.
A good faux fur number will look both cool and convincing, but I hold the opinion that cheaper alternatives can look a little naff. (Small disclaimer here, I am in no way endorsing seal clubbing, fur farms, skinning a fox you find in your back garden etc).
The bear trapper hat holds much appeal for many, and was quickly popularised by Lightspeed Champion (where did he disappear to anyway?), but they can only really be worn on a very, very cold day. You know the rule about wearing sunglasses at night/inside/when it’s raining? Well, it works both ways.
Pros: Rugged workwear appeal, incredibly weatherproof, masculine.
Cons: Only acceptable in freezing temperatures, should never, ever be worn to a bar/pub.
The duckbill cap is an English staple that holds much classic appeal – when done right. There are a few rules to adhere to when wearing the duckbill, but even then, it’s a very tricky piece to pull off. I’d only advise it to the most sartorially educated and those lucky b*stards who can wear whatever they like and still look completely awesome (I’m looking at you, Dan Trepanier).
For those bold enough to invest in the duckbill, a few simple rules will keep you safe. Go for a classic pattern or plain colour – think beige, tweed or plaid – something your granddad would probably wear. Bright tartan, ‘funky’ fabrics or anything remotely fluorescent (I shouldn’t even need to say this) have to be avoided at all costs. The former variations only cheapen a fantastic heritage piece, and as such, only a classic contemporary take will do.
Pros: Formal option for more tailored outfits, perfect for heritage looks.
Cons: Difficult to get right, needs solid investment for a quality piece.
Of course, there are plenty of other alternatives and our guide is by no means exhaustive. There are a few hats, however, that I would never advise under any circumstance. Please feel free to disagree, but there’s a general consensus amongst my friends and I that the following items should never be associated with men’s style:
Just remember, the hat is your ally. Follicly challenged? Bang on a beanie. Can’t be arsed to sort out the old barnet? Be bold with a bobble hat. Spare no thought for the round-faced, square-headed of our kind (i.e. me) and embrace the hat with open arms this AW12.
Let me know your favourite style of hat and how you like to wear it, in the comments section below…