A Hat Story

By Sanika Achrekar

Hats can make or break a look, literally. But here’s the thing: with the various options available, everyone can be a hat person. We give a low down on some of the trendiest pieces at the moment

Remember the time when hats were only meant to block the sun, and not so much as a style statement? Over time, hats in menswear have become versatile not only as a good-looking necessity but also as a signature style statement that completes a look if done the right way.

The accessory has now upgraded from the basic silhouette into bigger variations. Think fedoras, the ’80s style straw hats, flat caps, baseball caps, the ’90s staple bucket hats, knit beanies, and snapback, among others. A staple accessory throughout all seasons on the runways of Kenzo, Dior Men, Louis Vuitton, Moschino, Versace, Boss, and others, hats also have a very important role in the collections by streetwear and sports brands such as Adidas, Fila, Onitsuka Tiger, Nike, and Reebok.

Wearing a hat is like the extra ‘z’ in the pizza, believes Namrata Lodha of Myaraa. “Without it, the pizza is not complete, and neither is the outfit without the hat. Wearing a hat can actually make you more confident because a hat will often make you look taller. It can, therefore, send a subconscious signal of increased strength or power. This is evidenced by the fact that many police and military dress uniforms often feature a hat, as did many other types of uniforms in past centuries. So, let this confidence spur you on to be more out there,” she opines.

Fashion and music have always influenced each other, and with hip-hop being one of the most consumed music genres in the present day, snapback hats became one of the most popular head accessories in the hip-hop music, streetwear, and fashion scene. The trendsetters for this style were rap groups such as Mobb Deep, N.W.A., and other hip-hop artists like Tupac and Ice Cube.

“It is a statement, and many brands now give customers multiple options to choose from or even customise their own designs, names, and initials, which give a personal touch. If you’re interested in sports, you can choose one with a team logo or if you prefer a minimal aesthetic, try an unadorned design. For those who are still finding their style or are new to snapbacks, stick to a simple and classic design in a dark colour, such as black. Opt for colours that suit your personality, with big prints/embroidered front panels for those who do not shy away from being loud,” recommends Abdon Lepcha of Fila India.

While choosing outfits to go with snapbacks, opt for sweats, hoodies, and joggers. You can pair your snapback with almost any jogger and a casual T-shirt and sneakers as well. This is the most relaxed and easiest combination in your wardrobe. Strict colour coordinates are not mandatory for this look. Loud brandings, logos, and initials can be easily worn with comfort, adds Lepcha.

Another major comeback in menswear is the emergence of bucket hats. From Frank Ocean, Justin Bieber, and Chris Brown to Bollywood celebrities such as Ranveer Singh and Ishaan Khatter, all men that matter have been spotted wearing this iconic hat. Ishita Mehta, the founder and creative director of clothing brand IMWIP thinks that the bucket hat is literally everywhere and on everybody.

“Along with all of the plaid and loose-fitting denim, bucket hats are also making their way into the fashion world. This loosely defined headwear is suitable for a laid-back casual outfit and it fits in nicely with the relaxed vibe that is gaining popularity in menswear fashion wear today,” thinks Mehta.

“For weekend escapades, team a T-shirt or a Cuban-collared shirt and sneakers with chino shorts for a laid-back vibe. Basic black and grey bucket hats will work on most outfits, and are a safe bet. A white long-sleeved tee or a button-down shirt with khaki jeans or pants paired with a neutral- hued bucket hat and oversized glasses will take you from the office to after-hour drinks. Team it with black and white canvas shoes for a sophisticated feel. Ease into this trend by wearing bucket hats in solid classic shades like — camel, tan, grey, white, navy and black. You can even go for ones with monograms, and paisley/nature print,” suggests Mehta.

For warmer months, straw hats are something that can be experimented with as they give a statement effect to any look. “Men all over the world have been wearing straw hats for decades to keep cool. Straw is a durable and lightweight material, making it ideal for protecting your head during the summer. The most popular men’s straw-hat styles include the boater style, the Fedora style straw hat, and the Panama style straw hat. With a western-style ensemble, you can rock the straw hat all year long — style it with a denim shirt and white pants, and you are all set. From being conceived centuries ago for practical purposes, like providing shade or holding on to body heat in frigid conditions, big straw hats for men have progressed beyond their pedestrian origins into the must-have accessory territory,” Lodha recommends.

Coming to colder months, hat styles such as newsboy or flat cap are the best options to check out. For example, Tommy Shelby in Peaky Blinders. These styles can be easily styled with sweatshirts, knitwear or overcoats, bringing up an ideal winter look for the season.

Reproduced with permission from Mansworldindia.com

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