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Make Room For Fashion: Fedoras

I love hats but I just don’t wear them enough. And there’s really no excuse. I can’t think of any other accessory that has the power to change up an outfit so much. And for summertime, the hat of choice is the fedora.

Really, I’m not trying to get all “Williamsburg,” on you (meaning Williamsburg, Brooklyn, where the cool people live). Not only does the fedora provide some protection from the sun (and man has it been hot in Manhattan this past week), but it instantly makes any outfit look significantly cooler.

For example: Summer dress, sandals, fedora; “mom shorts,” tank top, fedora; colored jeans, t-shirt, summer scarf, fedora. Easy, right? So I ran over to my favorite hat shop, The Village Scandal, which has been a staple in Manhattan’s East Village for 17 years, and I talked to owner Wendy Barrett about finding the right one.

All fedoras, I learned, whether they’re hand-woven straw, coconut skin, cotton, linen or wool, are shaped on a wooden block and have a center dent, with a pinched front and brim. The pinched front hails back to the '20s and '30s, when jazz singers would tip their hats for tips. Now it’s a classic telltale of the fedora style.

“Rule number one when shopping for a hat,” says Barrett, “Always try it on in front of a full length mirror because the width of the brim or height of the crown can really balance out an outfit. People don’t realize this, but the shape and style of a hat can flatter (or not flatter) your body type.”

(Who knew?! Does this hat make me look fat?)

For shorter women (um, that would be me) Barrett suggests trying a fedora with a slightly higher crown to add height to your stature. Women with a round face or rounder, curvier body can counteract curves with an angular style, more pointed at the peek. Another consideration is the color: does it go with your skin tone, does it make your skin look bright or dull, and does the brim fall across the face in the right way?

“Fedora brims can range from one-and-a-half to four inches,” says Barrett, “But here in downtown Manhattan everyone wants the stingy brim [one-and-a-half inches or less]. It’s a more stylish look."

For fedora newcomers, summer is the perfect time to experiment. Barrett says some people shy away from hats because they worry it will make them feel hot, but the opposite is true. “If you wear a natural fiber such as coconut skin, linen, cotton or straw, you can feel up to 20 degrees cooler.”

So if you’re coming late to the fedora party, don’t worry! Better than never.

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The great thing about fedoras is that you can find them at a variety of prices. So if you’re just testing the waters, look for an inexpensive option like this rustic linen blend with a black band.

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Another inexpensive option with a fun feather band. It’s also available in black, which I’ve noticed looks great with blond hair.

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Patterns or perforations in the straw add fun and even more attitude.

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I love pretty much every hat that designer Eugenia Kim has ever made, but they are definitely on the pricier side. When you’ve mastered the look and are ready to upgrade, go to Eugenia. This hemp and cotton fedora with a beaded, sequined band elevates the style.

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Ohhh, a simple Eugenia Kim straw fedora with just enough color for just $88, a steal! (Also available with a blue or leopard band).

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mommy fashion