“A hat isn’t just an accessory. It’s a message from you to the world,” writes Dona Munker in How To Wear Hats With Style (Crown Publishers).

When you’re feeling bohemian and sophisticated, a black beret or 1950s fedora could match your mood better than an old baseball cap. If vintage is more your style, there are still plenty of vintage hats available for under $50 at thrift stores, vintage fashion expos and antique malls.

I recently bought a purple 1940s hat designed by Emma Lange Inc./Smartwear Milwaukee for $7 at Out of the Closet (www.outofthecloset.org). The only drawback about vintage hat is it needs to be cleaned or re-blocked by a professional, upping its overall price tag.

Luckily, cloches, fedoras, berets, newsboy and knit caps have remained timeless, and can be conveniently purchased at department and specialty stores or mall kiosk carts. At Westside Pavilion and Century City Plaza, two of the best kiosk carts are Casanova Accessories and Pro Sports. Both carry a large selection of casual and dressy hats for men and women.

“As well as flattering your face, a hat must always work perfectly with your clothes,” writes Susi Rogol in Create A Look With Hats, Combs, and Clips (Villard Books). “Colors should harmonize and complement, but shape and style are also of great importance.”

There are a few questions you should ask yourself before buying a hat, like, “Where am I going to wear it?,” “What’s my lifestyle?” and “What image do I want to project?”

Clothing manufacturers Juicy Couture, Kenneth Cole, Varga, Talbot’s and Planet Funk sell hats in their stores. A mix-and-match approach is the most modern way to wear hats now. For girls, that means 1940s-style dresses with men’s fedoras and for guys, jeans and knit caps.

“By trying on all kinds of hats, every which way, you’ll become an expert on the only hats that count – the ones that look great on you,” writes Munker.

Visualize all the occasions you plan on wearing a hat to. A good multi-purpose hat that can work with the majority of your wardrobe is an excellent investment.

“Buy a hat that fits,” writes Munker. “To determine your hat size, start at the center of your upper forehead and measure the circumference of your head, about an inch above the ears and back around the crown at its widest point.”

As eclectic as people dress now, often combining vintage and contemporary or casual and dressy, hats have become indispensable once again.


1) Ariane: 9528 Santa Monica Blvd., Beverly Hills, (323) 951-9929; www.ariane-millinery.com

2) Council Thrift Shops: 12120 Venice Blvd., Los Angeles, (310) 572-9158

3) Juicy Couture: Century City Plaza, 10250 Santa Monica Blvd., Los Angeles, (310) 201-0215; juicycouture.com

4) Flounce: 1555 Echo Park Ave., Los Angeles, (213) 481-1975; www.flouncevintage.com

5) Kenneth Cole: Beverly Center, 8500 Beverly Blvd., Los Angeles, (310) 659-2396; kennethcole.com


In addition to donning a stylish hat, you can always opt for an attention-grabbing headband. Independent designer Jennifer Ouellette makes hats and headbands that are often spotted on celebrities like Jessica Simpson, Winona Ryder, Jennifer Lopez, Sara Jessica Parker, Gwen Stefani, Britney Spears, Hilary Duff, Angelina Jolie and Debra Messing.

“Our headbands are loved because they allow for more self expression,” explains Ouellette. “Fashionable women today don’t follow trends; they set their own style.”

For more information, visit Jennifer Ouellette at www.jenniferouellette.com.