Fashion Forward Sun Safety


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As Australia Day approaches and summer gets hotter than ever, can hats be the answer to sun safety without compromising fashion?

There’s no denying; hats are one of the hardest elements to get right in any outfit. They can ruin an outfit just as easily as they can make them shine, and it’s because of this that a lot of people have given up on the hat as a fashion accessory. Until recently, that is.

As fashion conscious people in hot countries like Australia are becoming more conscious about the effects of sun, hats are beginning to creep back into mainstream fashion. An accessory to suit all genders, the hat is transforming to keep you sun safe without compromising fashion.

Australians are well aware of the harsh effects too many unprotected summers can have on your skin. From aesthetic issues like leathering skin and deeper wrinkles to serious health problems like cancer, the problems associated with sun exposure are extensive. They are also easily avoided. Hats provide instant coverage for your face to prevent pretty much all of this, and are even endorsed by Cancer Council as part of the Slip Slop Slap campaign since 1981.

The problem is, until recently hats were not exactly the icons of style. When the word ‘hat’ is mentioned, most people think straight to the sports cap or the stiff, style-less hats worn in schools as the main options. While they may be functional and effective in covering up from the sun, they hardly inspire fashion-forward looks.

Happily though, as the floppy hat takes the reins as the most popular women’s hat this summer, the reputation of hats is beginning to change. Not only does this style look fantastic, it also has the widest brim available for a hat, covering the whole head, face, and even neck from the sun.

Face shape is the most important thing to consider when buying a hat. It’s the reason a lot of people give up when they get it wrong, but it’s also the reason a hat will practically live on your head when you find the perfect style. There is a lot of advice out there for finding the perfect hat for your face shape. Fedoras tend to sit more flatteringly on people with rounded faces, whereas wide brimmed hats soften the angles of square shaped faces.

The sheer amount of advice, and even the amount of face shapes and hat styles out there can make it really difficult to find solid advice. Really, the only true way to find the perfect hat is to go out there and try on every hat you set eyes on and think, ‘that looks gorgeous’ until you find the one that fits. There are some key hat shapes are taking centre stage this summer, making it a little less daunting to start that search for the perfect hat.

The floppy summer hat is the most popular style for women this summer, because of its ability to add a splash of sophistication to any look. The floppy hat can be dressed up or down to suit the mood of your outfit, from a casual beach day to a big summer garden party.

For those who haven’t fallen in love with the floppy hat, though, there are a vast variety of hats to choose from. For both men and women, a bowler hat is another hugely popular trend. If the floppy hat is the most flowing style of hat, the bowler hat is the most structured. It features a still rounded dome shaped crown with no creases or pinching, and has a short brim that curls slightly at the sides. Though it does not offer as much coverage in terms of sun protection, the bowler hat is perfect for adding some edge to an outfit.

For men, a fedora hat is an easy way to add a bit of up styling to a look without much effort. Where top hats are too formal for most occasions nowadays, a fedora will draw an eye, but is casual enough to wear out confidently. The pinched sides and lengthwise crease down the crown of a fedora creates a rough wedge shape that can be manipulated by the wearer to frame the face more comfortably. The big, flexible brim is the biggest advantage of this style of hat, and makes it the most popular men’s style of hat.

A close relative of the fedora, the trilby hat is great for men and women who like a smaller hat. With a short back and long front, the trilby provides good shade for the face, and flatters most face shapes because of its ability to be tilted.

They may have had a bad rap in the past, but hats are fast becoming an essential element to any summer fashion look. With so many looks to choose from, there’s sure to be a hat to suit every outfit.

By Kate Oatley