You don’t need an excuse to wear a beautiful hat. They’re terribly en vogue right now and the right hat can make you look confident, elegant and individual.
But if you’d like an excuse to wear a hat, here are a few: Easter on April 20, the Kentucky Derby on May 3, Mother’s Day on May 11 and, of course, any time spent outdoors under the sun.
“I think wearing a great hat is a good confidence booster,” said Marla Cook, milliner and owner of Ladies & Gentlemen Fine Millinery Shop in The Paseo District. Cook opened the shop in October. “If you want to stand out in a really good way, I think a hat is the way to do it.”
Cook’s shop stands out in a lovely way on Paseo Avenue. Her hand-painted window lends a quaintness that harkens back to the Paseo’s early years, when it was a hub for shopping, dining and entertainment.
Inside, the decor is refined and elegant, with Cook’s handmade hats displayed along with the many other hats from milliners across the country. All her hats and hat boxes are made in the U.S.
“I think they’re a nice statement piece,” said Lee Murphy, owner of Gretta Sloane, 6476 Avondale Drive. Many apparel designers are getting into the hat business, she said. In autumn, her shop will carry new hats from Rag & Bone.
She loves fedoras, for both men and women. For warm weather, a nice straw fedora in neutral colors is a great accent with many spring and summer ensembles.
For a day at the races, try a classic wide brim style with ostrich feather trim to block the sun’s hazardous rays. Get as colorful and bright with the trim as you dare. If you care for some recognition, enter the Derby Day Hat Contest at Remington Park on May 3. For information, go to Remingtonpark.com.
If an Easter hat is your preference, consider a lovely and lady-like cloche. Reminiscent of the stunning styles of TVs “Downton Abbey,” the cloche (or bell shape) hat is a classic choice that is guaranteed to up your elegance.
The hats of “Downton Abbey” and “The Great Gatsby” have influenced today’s styles, Cook and Murphy said.
Beaded, braided or feathered headbands, a la “The Great Gatsby,” are a big trend these days. Women and girls of all ages are embracing this trend because it is so flexible.
Cook said that many styles get back into the game every 20 years or so. The headband, she said, is a good example: popular during the ’20s, then again in the ’40s, then in the late ’60s and ’70s, and again today. Headbands can be worn casually with jeans or shorts, or to dress up an evening look.
And the Audrey Hepburn “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” wide, downturned brim style is always a popular choice.
“People love that style hat — they really love it,” Cook said.
The royal wedding of Kate Middleton and Prince William brought hats to the forefront, especially fascinators, which are small clip on pieces that are usually styled in a burst of bright feathers, netting or other eye-catching materials.
Cook’s millinery shop doesn’t ignore the male client. Cook carries a variety of fashionable Panama and pub-style hats, both of which are great substitutes for the tired ball cap. She carries fedoras in men’s and women’s styles, and top hats in standard and Mad Hatter-exaggerated heights.
•Always pull the brim down to about one inch above your eyebrows. This will draw people’s eyes first to the brim, then directly to your eyes. Many people wear their hats too far back on their heads.
•Women can wear their hats anywhere they wish, including inside, unless the hat is obstructing someone’s view. Men should always remove their hats upon entering a building.
•Women’s hats are embellished on the right. For example, a woman’s fedora would have a bow on the right side. Men’s hats are embellished on the left.
•For information about Ladies & Gentlemen Fine Millinery Shop, go to lgfinehats.com.