If you are fortunate enough in this life to have children you are also well aware of all of the difficulties involved in raising them. For young children especially it can be trying at times just to get them dressed to get out of the door. If you live in a place that is cold and wet most of the year than just add a few more levels of difficulty for those extra layers of clothing they need to wear.
But was your mom was right when she told you that you need to wear a hat when you go outside to keep your head warm. What about when people told you that you lose most of your body heat from your head? It seems that it is a little more complicated than that. You actually don’t lose the majority of heat from your head but it’s more of a variable rate of something between 20%-35% depending on how cold it is outside, if you are exercising, and how big your head is. While the old saying is not really true it is more true for some people than others. Newborn babies lost more heat from their head because their heads are so much bigger in comparison to their heads as compared to adults.
Of course wearing a hat is not only for places that are cold. Protecting your children from the sun is just as important as protecting them from the cold. Though I don’t have fair skin or problems with sunburns my daughter turned out to be very fair. My wife is very diligent about keeping a sun hat on her head when she is out in the sun we vacation in places like Hawaii. I on the other hand don’t think twice about it since I tan easily and have dark hair. Although, the older I get the less dark hair there seems to be on my head so I may have to start thinking about that more as time goes on.
So how do you get your kids to wear hats? One of the best ways I’ve seen is to get them “fun” hats. While this won’t work for newborns once your child is old enough to be more aware you can get them to wear hats that may be like characters they like or are more like “dress up” hats. My daughter loves to pretend she is a princess and normally princesses don’t wear hats but we can get her to wear a pink cowgirl hat at least. I’m sure if I had a son I could get him to wear an Indiana Jones hat. And then there are those really fun animal hats that I see a lot of kids wearing these days. If it’s fun, kids are way more likely to wear something on their head than for reasons of sheer pragmatism. And tough they may not get hypothermia the first time they walk out of the house without a hat on, it’s probably still a good idea the younger your child is.
I just got back from a two week trip to Northern Kentucky. One of our first days there, it snowed. Within 24 hours, the snow was gone, and by the end of our two weeks, it was so hot people were wearing sandals and shorts. Something unmistakeable happened… Spring had sprung. That means that the pea coats and felt fedoras need to go back into the closet until the fall.
The fact that fall and winter are over does not mean that hat fashion has ended until October. Nor does it mean that you can only wear a hat if it’s a baseball cap or golf cap going along with a casual outfit. There are great formal and semi-formal hats for you to don this spring and summer. Here are a few great options:
The Straw Fedora – This is a great option, in that it can be worn with something semi-formal, like a light cotton shirt and khakis, or with something more casual like a t-shirt and jeans. Don’t take yourself as seriously in a straw fedora as you might in a felt fedora, but you can still look sharp and dignified in a straw small brimmed fedora.
The Panama Hat – This hat has been particularly popular with women lately. The Panama hat has a larger brim, more like an Indiana Jones style fedora hat. But with the concern with sun damage, people are looking for a fashionable hat that will guard you from the harmful UV rays.
Physician Endorsed hats are a great option for good looking summer Hats. They have gotten some special attention lately from celebrities including Katie Holmes and Heather Locklear wearing their sun protection hats.
So put your winter fashions away for a few months, get together a great looking spring outfit, and get out and enjoy the sun! There is so much to do, and you might as well look great doing it!
Andre Benjamin (better known by some as Andre 3000) has established himself as one of the most talented musical artists (as both a solo artist, and half of the hip hop group, OutKast. Earlier this decade, he spawned a successful movie career. He has worked with Mark Wahlberg and Will Ferrell, acting in dramas and comedies alike. But more recently, he has broadened his entrepreneurship by getting involved in designing clothes. In Spring of 2008, he launched his own clothing line, Benjamin Bixby. And in an article with GQ, Andre was willing to discuss hat fashion with the men’s fashion magazine.
Andre says that what compels him so much about hat fashion is how the hat works with the shape of someone’s face. In his example, having a long face, he prefers a wide brim hat to balance out the silhouette. One of his favorite hats is a straw, wide-brimmed fedora, almost like a sun hat. Even though it’s so worn out it’s tearing at the top, Andre still wears it even to formal functions with a tuxedo. He feels like it gives the right tone of not taking himself too seriously, when he wears his ratty old straw hat in New York city.
The great thing about a straw hat like that, is that he can pull off the tongue-in-cheek look with the formal attire, but it also works perfectly with a casual outfit for a day on the town, or a day at the beach! Make sure to keep your eye out for what Andre Benjamin continues to do, whether it be in music, film, or fashion. And keep your eyes peeled for the hat that will perfectly complement your face and your outfits!
This is a great video piece done by an LA news channel on the rise of hats as a fashion statement. They visit a couple hat shops in LA and show unique hats from flat hats (cadet cap, newsboy hat, ivy cap, driving cap) to cloche hats to fur or coonskin caps to the ever-so-popular stingy brimmed fedora. Watch closely and you can catch Jon Hamm (Mad Men, The Town) wearing a driving cap. I’m used to seeing him in the classy fedoras, but he pulls off the look of the flat cap as well.
My favorite line from the video is the hat advice, “For women, as the days get shorter, the brim should get smaller.” A great piece of practical fashion advice. Notice the switch from the wide brimmed sun hat to the cloche hat. And if you aren’t brazen enough to wear a cloche, there are tons of cute beanies out there for you ladies, as well!
Another great line from the piece: “You know, you have bad hair days, and you’ve got to wear a hat!” Be prepared for a bad hair day with a great looking hat!
Have you ever wondered where the expression “throw your hat in the ring” came from? While this phrase is most commonly used to announce you are running for political office it doesn’t make much sense unless you know the original meaning. In the early 19th century, the sport of boxing was very popular though much less regulated than today. If you were sitting among the loud and rowdy crowd and wished to challenge someone in a boxing match you would literally throw your porkpie, top hat, homburg, or bowler hat in the ring to signify your desire to contend.
One of the most famous usages of this phrase was by Teddy Roosevelt whose was a boxer himself and used the phrase to announce his candidacy for president. Roosevelt is no stranger to setting trends in regards to hats. While visiting the construction of the Panama Canal, a photo was taking of him wearing a Panama hat and consequently increasing it’s popularity.
So next time you hear the phrase, think of Teddy Roosevelt: a man who could more than hold his own in the political arena and the boxing ring.
What do Mick Jagger, Winston Churchill, Sigourney Weaver, FDR, and Bill Cosby have in common? They all have an affinity for the Panama Hat. I read a few articles recently about the history and ongoing popularity of the Panama Hat, and was amazed to realize how important this hat is to western culture in the last 100 years. Surprisingly, companies like Stetson at Cavanaugh currently make more Panama hats than felt hats like Fedoras or Bowlers.
The Panama is a straw hat with a traditional brim, made from the leaves of the toquilla straw plant. It perfectly compliments a summer weight suit, and because of its design, it returns to its original shape after being folded in a suitcase. So it makes a great travel hat, especially in the summer months or to tropical locations. According to some, the true test of a high quality panama hat is that, when folded for travel, can be passed through a wedding ring! Also, a super high quality Panama hat should be able to hold water, because the hat is so closely woven.
It has become a symbol of summer in London, much like apple pie in the US. They can be seen en mass at Wimbledon, and Bernhard Roetzel, author of the book “Gentleman: a Timeless Fashion,” equates the Panama to a fine cigar. “Like cigars, the Panama is not everyone’s cup of tea – but any man with a taste for the unusual will grow extremely fond of it. It flatters the round-faced anglo-Saxon features and shields his sensitive skin from the sun. The Panama hat will always have a place here.” It will be interesting to see how the Panama hat does over the next 30 years, but it is one of the few hats that has stood the test of time for the past 100 years. And as I see a resurgence of vintage and classic hat wearing, I’m going to be keeping my eye out for the various styles and qualities of Panama hats.