I am trying to refrain from calling this post “Yet Again” or “The Ever Reoccurring” hat question because this question really does come up every year as early spring finally breaks free to full sun and flowers. This year it is seemingly every week or even twice a week some form of the hat question comes up… “can I wear this?”, “Is this shape correct?”, “how can I decorate this?”, and on.
Some are looking for face protecting hats with brims offering shade. Some are looking for an inexpensive head-wear option. Some are looking for a fashionable accessory. Admittedly, not everyone is always happy with the responses they receive. It isn’t as easy as a pretty hat or even a correctly shaped hat.
When choosing a hat, it isn’t just the shape of the hat that needs to be considered. We must also consider several factors including ~who is wearing the hat, ~where the wearer lives and if from, ~what the situation/scenario is for wearing the hat, ~when the hat is being worn in terms of both year and time of year.
An exercise I have envisioned lately, that I believe will help is this: Print several dozen of women wearing hats. I suggest small, but not too small, 2-3″. Include photographs, paintings and illustrations. On a large piece of paper or your cutting matte, mark sections for Fashionable, Recreation/Picnics/Parks, Recreation/Seaside, Utilitarian along the top of the paper or matte. Along the side, make age groupings such as child, teen, young lady, middle age, mature. Take the printed images and lay them out on the paper or matte where they belong. Notice any trends in the hats you are seeing. (hopefully, this will help.)
Another exercise to help you find an accurate hat that you like is to choose three to five original images of hats, be it photos, paintings or illustrations. Enlarge them to a full 8.5″x11″ page and print them. Now, take a pencil and trace over the lines of the hat just the hat – get the rise of the crown, the shape of the tip, the width of the brim, the curve of the brim. Repeat this with a marker or felt pen that will make the lines stand out. Lay your tracings out across the room where you can see them (maybe up on the bookshelf or around the tv.) Leave them there for a while. Let the lines stand out and sink in. This should help you develop an eye for these shapes, bringing the shapes and construction to the front of your mind when looking at hats.
Here are three previous articles/posts addressing the shape of hats as well as when and where to wear them: