Hold on to your hats

I have a serious weakness for stiff, wide-brimmed hats. It feels like it wasn’t too long ago that they could feel a little costume-y beyond the beach, so I’m loving their surge in popularity.

Last year, in Santa Fe, I got my head measured at O’Farrell’s Hat shop, where they hand-make custom fur felt hats, and have been doing so for 30 years. Each hat takes about six months to make. I loved getting a lesson in the different materials they use—rabbit or beaver or a blend. At one point a woman who worked there explained that rarely do you really need the most expensive—beaver fur—because “you and I are not going to be standing out in the rain.” That sort of blew my mind—these are $500-$1000 hats and it didn’t even occur to me that, if I had one, I’d go near water with it. But of course! If you’re out riding, your hat is an investment; it’s a practical tool that needs to be water repellant.

To be honest, I’ve found some of my most-used hats in much less auspicious settings—like Whole Foods!—but I do appreciate feeling the difference in a really well-made hat.

Here are some favorites I’ve taken notice of, of late, from a range of sources… 

Tio y Tia is a relatively young brand, started by three women in Brooklyn. Inspired by the American Southwest, and handmade by the same hat maker who crafted Georgia O’Keeffe’s iconic hats, their hats are made in America.

Their Amalita (top) was inspired by a vintage photograph of a young couple on holiday in Acapulco circa 1960s and is made with 100% genuine Toquilla straw, woven into a “Cuenca” hat weave, which has the appearance of herringbone. The oatmeal shade seems perfect for summer.

On the other hand, their Dolores, a wide brim hat in stiffened wool with a tonal leather trim (inspired by Georgia O’Keefe’s signature hat, would be just right for moving into fall.

(If you like this look, here’s a similar fit from Madewell. Brixton is also a good source for wool hats.)

For straw hats, there are a ton of great options at Communitie. This is their garden hat.

And West Perro uses a really tightly woven Guatemalan palm hat as the base for his own clay and leather details.

I believe the sourcing might be the same as this one by Tula. I have one with a flattened brim (you can do that yourself if you spritz a little water on it), and get so many compliments!

For a more refined straw hat, I also like Leone’s Aisley. And I have a few friends who are fans of Cuyana’s Summer Hat, which is so pretty in person! It has a structured crown and a wide brim and is made from Toquilla straw. (Fora  a similar look, try the UO Straw panama hat.)

I’d also like to try on these packable, adjustable hats by Lola.

You can always upgrade any straw hat to include a cord or ribbon, but this one does it for you: The Dolce Sun Straw hat features a velvet ribbon that ties at the chin.

(For something similar)

Janessa Leone’s hats are all really beautiful. This is her Alara, a vintage men’s style fedora, 100% wool, sustainable and cruelty free.

(This one by Noake looks similar.)

I’ve gotten a lot of recs for Gigi Pip—this rancher style is being restocked. You might also like the brand Wyeth. (This one comes in so many colors and gets great ratings for the price.) And Urban Outfitters sometimes comes through.

This Teak Rancher is at Anthropologie. At 4″, its brim is one of the widest here.

Stetson is still the go-to for the classic cowboy hat, made in the USA. (This one is the Rankin, in straw, but I love their felt and wool selection—especially some of the crushable options.)

Do you have any favorite hat sources to share? 

P.S. How to care for your hat. (And how to restore its shape.) Thank you to Cary Rogers for her help researching this post!

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