Hats the 'cherry on the sundae' 0
Wear them for style or wear them for warmth, but wear a hat and make a fashion statement, no matter how casual or dressy your personal style.
If you're heading out today in search of Boxing Day bargains, you may even be fortunate enough to snag a deal on some new hats, just in time to head into winter in top form without breaking the bank.
"Hats are as important as shoes! A hat will always be the cherry on the sundae, and as we're in Canada, who would want to go out in the cold without a hat? says Rachel Fortin, Montreal-based designer of Rachel F, a line of hats and other accessories which are largely fashioned from reclaimed leather, fur and other materials.
Variations on classic fur pillbox and Cossack hats stand tall in both sheared and shaggy real and faux fur versions.
Fur trimmed cloches, pageboy caps and trapper hats also join in the fun.
While hats fashioned from and trimmed with either fun or real fur cut strong swaths on the runways of both international and domestic designers, plenty of other materials and patterns are also at play, in a seemingly endless array of hats for you to choose from.
"Key fashion styles for hats include fedoras, pageboys, cloche and trapper style hats . several of our hats feature fabrics such as angora, fleece and wool," says Lenya Shore, president of the Wallaroo Hat Company, in Boulder, Co., a region that is no stranger to winter.
Other materials include leather, faux leather, shearling, brocade, chunky woven, nubby and sophisticated Jacquard knits.
Check out the flip side of hats you may be considering, as many also feature the whimsy of colourful and patterned linings, while others may be reversible.
Different materials combine on some hats, to create eclectic and unique appearances. Interplays of texture and patterns also splash some dash into some styles.
Patterns putting the polish on many hats include checks, animal prints, stripes, Alpine-inspired snowflakes and other motifs.
According to those who design and make them, the inspiration behind today's hats comes from varied sources.
"We really focused on making this (hat) collection bridge the gap between fashion and function and took inspiration from a combination of military classics, '60's Olympics, retro ski looks, Native Canadians and Nomadic world travellers," says Toronto-based Robin Yates, a V-P of marketing and sales at Nobis, a company that specializes in hats and outerwear.
Other designers such as Fortin were inspired by the romantic "lost decade" or les annees folles of the 1920s and some of its key characters.
"The "strong woman" character of Gabrielle Chanel inspired me a lot . In fact les annees folles . the 1920s, including the Charleston and (Ernest) Hemingway, inspired my current hat collection," says Fortin.
Whether your inspiration for wearing a hat is romantic or purely practical, be sure to consider styles with decorative details such as ribbon and button trims, and don't be afraid of colour.
Although basic colours such as black, grey and beige always present a strong case, tomato red, burgundy and emerald green are among the other seasonal favorites.
If your interest in hats runs to a more practical nature, seek out hats with ear flaps and extra coverage to protect your hair and face from the drying effects of the elements and the year-round, damaging effects of the sun.