Home Miscellaneous Fashion Speak: A Heady Guide to Women’s Hats

Fashion Speak: A Heady Guide to Women’s Hats

written by Paroma January 15, 2016

The one line from literature (ode to hats) that has somewhat endured over the years for me, is not actually a single line, at least not one of those pompous, quotable ones, but is very much a paragraph (true to my verbose self), and goes like this:

“One can’t help thinking, Daddy, what a colourless life a man is forced
to lead, when one reflects that chiffon and Venetian point and hand
embroidery and Irish crochet are to him mere empty words. Whereas a
woman–whether she is interested in babies or microbes or husbands or
poetry or servants or parallelograms or gardens or Plato or bridge–is
fundamentally and always interested in clothes” -Jean Webster, Daddy Long Legs

I read this book as an adolescent and for some reason this line resonates with me now more than ever before as a clothes hoarding scientist who also has a soft spot for millinery, hence the title of today’s post. Long story short, I love hats-be it a beret, a pork pie or a fedora; I love them all indiscriminately, my love for food only slightly edging past what lies on my head. So here is a quick guide on the kind of hats out there for you lovely ladies-think of it as my way of nudging you towards the most stylish and chic of all accessories to give you that effortless, edgy androgynous touch complimenting anything that you wear! Equal parts Le Paris and Le style, a hat is for all seasons and no reason! So without further ado, here are some of my favorite styles of my favorite accessory

1) Hats: Fedora


Stylish, chic and edgy, a Fedora is the unanimous crowing glory for long tresses and short bobs. The brim can be short or elongated and floppy to provide that much needed respite from the sun and the top is either square-ish, dimpled or cone-ish. Quick tip: perch the hat on your head such that the dimples/ bends show.

2) Hats: Beret


Nothing screams Le Parisian chic louder than a beret! All you need are Breton stripes and a paintbrush and you are all set to celebrate Bastille Day! Best worn tipped on one side of the head

3) Hats: Pork Pie



Made immortal by the lovable, bumbling police duo of Thompson and Thomson in the Tintin comics by Herge, pork pie hats are small, squarish (flatter tops than fedoras) black hats with a small brim to match. The latest to fall prey to its charms, was Walter White from Breaking Bad as the coolest character Heisenberg! So go for it just for pop culture’s sake!

4) Hats: Cloche


Sitting snug on your head with stylish brims, cloches are functional and super feminine to boot! Grosgrain ribbons usually adorn the junction where the top meets the brim to give it a lady like touch! These hats are mostly bell shaped (cloche is French for “bell” ), were invented i 1908 by milliner Caroline Reboux, and were all the rage in the early 20th century! Thanks to the fashion wheel coming a full circle, they are popular even now and go great with dresses and skirts.

5) Hats: Panama


As per wikipedia, “

A Panama hat (toquilla straw hat) is a traditional brimmed straw hat of Ecuadorian origin. Traditionally, hats were made from the plaited leaves of the Carludovica palmata plant, known locally as the toquilla palm or jipijapa palm,although it is a palm-like plant rather than a true palm”. Being of tropical origin, the main purpose was breath-ability in humid climes, and was once mostly worn by men. But this is 2016 and both genders can look equally stylish wearing them (case in point being me cavorting all over the Pacific Northwest in S’s panama which I borrow so very often).

Hats are made of different materials such as wool, felt, suede, cloth or straw and can be embellished further with brooches, feathers and ribbons, given how much your creative juices are flowing. Two of my favorite millinery stops in San Francisco are the neighborhood quiet gem of Hats of Fillmore (stocks all kinds for both genders) and the ubiquitious Goorin Bros, hat makers from San Francisco (they are having a major winter sale on their merchandise right now) with three locations and headquarters in the city.


To me, hats are the perfect example of form meets function and they are a great savior for bad hair days. For these reasons, I find them to be the best of all accessories and reach out for them to cover my bed-hair, look stylish or simply get relief from the sun! The best way to purchase hats is actually the only way, i.e. checking them out for form and fit in person because all hats, like humans have their unique personalities and it is always the hat that picks you, not the other way around (kind of like when you are adopting pets). So here’s to putting a hat on this thought and happy National Hats Days (its this Friday)! For other fashion related juice, read my post on ethical/slow fashion here.

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