Summer Head Wear
Summer is in full swing, meaning we have a long, sultry season of festivals, holidays and beer gardens to look forward to. Yet relying on the British weather to keep us dry is not an easy task. Instead of carrying a soggy umbrella in your leather satchel this year, why not invest in a stylish hat?
This classic accessory is perfect for keeping your hair dry in the summer showers and offers protection against harmful UV rays when the sun does decide to come out. On top of that, a great piece of head wear will instantly add individuality and character to an ensemble – particularly stripped-back warm-weather looks.
Millinery has long been an integral part of menswear, with a multitude of styles trending over the years. Fedoras ruled back in the 1950s with Frank Sinatra rarely being seen without one, while in recent times, Mad Men and Don Draper have helped reignite its cool factor.
Fast-forward to the 1990s and the bucket hat prevailed. Sports logos, tropical designs and camouflage were the ‘it’ prints of the era – artists like Nelly, LL Cool J and Fred Durst wouldn’t leave the house without their circular shaped head wear.
Another decade on and every fashion-conscious male was rocking the trucker cap. Ashton Kutcher, Justin Timberlake and king of the hat-wearers himself, Pharrell Williams, were key proponents of this style, with ‘Von Dutch’ often sketched across their caged designs.
Today, hats are once again a key accessory for summer 2014, with classic silhouettes taking over the high street and cascading down the runways. With this in mind, we explore this season’s key styles and show you how to wear one in a contemporary way…
The Panama Hat
A Panama hat is a brimmed straw hat that was originally produced in Ecuador in the seventeenth century. Traditionally woven by hand from toquilla straw, which only grows in the coastal mountains of Ecuador, to this day the best versions on the market still come from Cuenca, the most accessible city in the mountain region, where the majority of the weaving is carried out.
They now come in a multitude of styles and silhouettes, including the fedora and pork pie, because essentially it is the construction technique and materials used that makes this type of hat a ‘Panama’. Therefore, the brim width and shape you opt for is largely a matter of personal preference and how much protection you desire.
The hat’s open weave allows for exceptional air circulation, helping keep you cool in even the most tropical of climates – making them the perfect choice for holidaying and high summer.
A Panama hat makes a great addition to any warm-weather outfit, with the smart neutral design looking particularly stylish when combined with a linen or cotton suit in beige, cream or white. If you’re looking for styling inspiration, turn your attention to the gents of Pitti Uomo 86, who chose to pair theirs with sharp lightweight separates.
This style of hat is well suited to men with a square faces; its curvature and circular edges will counterbalance a fairly straight-edged jaw line. Just make sure you opt for a wider brim.
Key brands to consider for a high quality Panama include specialists such as Goorin, Borsalino, Lock & Co., Bates of Jermyn Street and Christys’, while high street stalwart Marks & Spencer have also produced a range of luxury Panama hats this season that are ideal for everyday wear.
- Lock & Co Hatters Straw Panama Hat
- Blue Notes
- Blue Harbour Luxury Panama Hat
- 140772 – Straw Hat
- Folding Panama
- Regimental Brisa Panama No. 2
- Olney Sienna Brisa Panama Hat Natural
- Blue Harbour Luxury Panama Hat
- Hammond And Co Designer Natural Straw Roll Up Panama Hat
- Olney Drop Brim Panama Hat Natural
- Loro Piana Woven-straw Panama Hat
- Olney Wide Brim Panama Hat Natural
The Straw Fedora
The fedora is perhaps the most versatile hat available to the modern gent, with the design able to be dressed up or down effortlessly.
Often associated with gangsters and the 1920s Prohibition era, this silhouette was originally made from soft felt and had a low, tapered crown. Today, however, fedoras come in a wide variety of brim widths and crown types, and even the positioning of the ‘pinch’ can vary.
Although fedoras are available in durable fabrics such as felt and wool, straw construction is most suited to the warmer months of the year, with the feather-light material allowing your head to breath while offering the required UV protection.
Available in a multitude of colours, you are sure to find one that will slot seamlessly into your wardrobe. This is a style that looks just as good with an unstructured sports coat and sharp trousers as it does with a printed tee and denim shorts, so don’t be afraid to make it one of your signature pieces.
The fedora suits gentlemen with short faces, as the tapered crown helps create the illusion of length. If this applies to you, just remember to stay away from styles with wider brims – the broad edge can hang over the face and make it appear even more petite than it is.
Key brands to consider include those mentioned in the previous Panama hat section. However, if you are unsure or this is your first venture into the world of hats, consider opting for a low cost version from the likes of Topman, River Island or ASOS (there are plenty on the market these days) to build your confidence before upgrading.
- Goorin White Sand Fedora Hat
- Brixton Castor Straw Fedora Hat
- Bailey Fernales Straw Hat
- Goorin Hammond Straw Fedora Hat
- 140826 – Straw Hat
- Goorin Atushi Straw Fedora Hat
- Two-tone Straw Fedora
- Austin Reed Straw Fedora
- He By Mango Straw Fedora Hat
- Gap Open-weave Fedora
- He By Mango Straw Fedora Hat
- River Island Ecru Woven Straw Fedora Hat
The Bucket Hat
With the nineties still trending, the bucket hat is currently having a moment after being spotted on the runways at the global SS14 and SS15 fashion weeks.
In particular, the recent Burberry Prorsum SS15 showcase included wide brim bucket hats in a broad spectrum of colours, ranging from cobalt blue to sunshine yellow, while designers such as Margaret Howell, Rag & Bone and Craig Green opted to feature them in tropical prints, loud hues and a variety of brim widths for SS14.
The moderate height and floppy nature of the brim has the ability to shorten, making them perfect for those men with longer face shapes, although it’s still best to wear your hat slightly pushed back to avoid being too covered up.
In terms of styling, don’t over-think it: simply throw it on with any of your current casual high summer looks, or pack it in your suitcase and combine with swim shorts and vests on the beach when holidaying.
Street wear labels are often the go-to for any nineties-inspired garment, so consider brands such as New Era, Vans, Stussy, Supreme and Huf, along with more specialist outdoor companies such as Fjallraven and Penfield.
If you’re operating with a larger budget, high fashion versions are available from the likes of Gucci and Thom Browne, which could conceivably be paired with your warm-weather tailoring collection, similar to the GQ US lookbook image below.
- Vans Bucket Hat In Checkerboard Print
- Fred Perry Bucket Hat In Olive
- Urban Renewal Vintage Surplus Bucket Hat In Tiger Camo
- Penfield baker Bucket Hat
- Brooklyn We Go Hard Mens Blue Floral Printed Bucket Hat
- Asos Bucket Hat
- Fjallraven Kiruna Bucket Hat
- Stussy Paradise Bucket Hat
- Supremebeing Angle Hat
- Huf Floral Bucket Hat
- Gucci Gg Canvas Bucket Hat
- Neighborhood Printed Cotton Bucket Hat
The Lightweight Flat Cap/Driver’s Cap
A flat cap is a rounded cap with a small stiff brim in front that can be traced back to 14th century Northern England and parts of southern Italy.
Flat caps have become a firm favourite of Hollywood royalty, with Samuel L Jackson, Brad Pitt and our very own David Beckham rarely leaving their mansions without one firmly fixed on their head. But now that the sun is shining, it’s time to swap traditional heavy duty tweed and wool versions for a lightweight alternative.
Cotton, seersucker and linen styles are what you should be on the lookout for in the summer months. These breathable fabrics will keep your head cool while preventing your hair line from burning.
Like the bucket hat, flat caps suit those men with longer face shapes, with the short body of the hat instantly shaving inches off your face. Wear slightly tilted to the side and a touch to the back to keep your proportions balanced and the cap looking cutting edge.
Due to its roots, the flat cap often looks best when integrated into traditional British heritage and countryside-inspired aesthetics. Try pairing yours with brogues, earth tones and checked tailoring for a modern approach.
Key brands to consider include traditional English labels such as Ted Baker, Austin Reed, Marks & Spencer and Barbour.
- Collezione Pure Linen Herringbone Flat Cap
- Pure Cotton Flat Cap
- Blue Harbour Pure Linen Checked Flat Cap
- Austin Reed Navy Linen Flat Cap
- Polo Ralph Lauren Stripe Flat Cap
- John Lewis Herringbone Cotton Flat Cap Navy
- Ted Baker Giffey Flat Cap
- Lock & Co Hatters Plaid Cotton Flat Cap
- John Lewis Herringbone Flat Cap – beige
- Topman Grey Chambray Flat Cap
- Ted Baker Tagup Tonal Flat Cap
- Asos Flat Cap
With sun and unpredictable showers on the horizon, there’s never been a better time to add a stylish hat to your wardrobe.
Whether you want to keep it classic with a simple straw fedora or ooze sophistication with an ivory panama, there’s a piece of head wear for you this season.
Are you a fan of millinery? Let us know your favourite style and how you like to wear it in the comments section below…