To put it in simple terms, hats have existed for a very long time. It is said that hats were one of the first apparels to have been worn by humans. They have been used as headgears for protection against varying, extreme climates. As the times advanced, people and cultures were not the only things that changed; hats also evolved. Different shapes, sizes and types came about suiting different needs. Hats have somehow, solely managed to remain fashionable in today’s market. There have been different types of hats spanning through the centuries and there has never been a time when we have not required one in our lives. Since there are a billion hats around the globe, and we can’t afford to ostracize them, it is only safe to place them in broad categories. These hats, it can be said, are often affected by the winds of change. While a summer hat is generally wide enough to replace the umbrella, winter hats sit snugly on the head and protect us from the chilly breeze. The next section deals with the various types of hats in detail.
Straw and felt hats were said to be the first hats made. In the early 19th and 20th century, hats were used for more ostentatious purposes, and were associated with status. A hat was seen as a symbol of opulence, especially among the affluent society. Back in the days, people wore it with so much ease and managed to carry off ridiculously enormous ones also with great grace and aura. Hats usually consisted of feathers, animal skin, leather and other heavy components. For the less affluent, hats were considered as mere headgear. These were usually made out of straw.
Different Types of Hats
Casual hats are the type of hats you would want to wear on a normal day, while taking your dog out for a stroll or just hanging out by the beach on a sunny day. They are the types of hats that are adjustable in size and fit almost all heads with the help of Velcro or elastic. They are quiet snug and keep your head and face protected from the climate extremities. They are normal hats made out of either cloth or straw; a little similar to something you might find on the streets of Jaipur or Thailand during the blazing summers.
Remember those tall conical structures we’d wear as kids on our heads during birthday parties? These hats can never be forgotten. Wearing these cone hats meant getting lost in all the gaiety and the celebration, becoming one with all around us. They are simple structures made usually out of cardboard and, in some cases, waste or craft paper. These hats are best because one can make them snazzy or keep them absolutely simple, depending on the requirement. Party hats come in various shapes and sizes with an elastic band to secure them tightly in place. Some come in plain colors while the others have cartoons or themes on them. They are fun accessories to have during a celebration and can make a dull, lifeless party more euphoric.
When thinking of hats, our minds race back to the Victorian times, or events such as the Derby and the Royal Ascot, where people came to flaunt their oversized hats and where hats were considered formal and a mark of wealth. Such hats are still around for both men and women and can make you look and feel like royalty. A few such for men are the cylindrical top hats made out silk; derby hats that are a little less theatrical, homburg or fedora hats with a dent running through the center and hats made out of wool and felt. These hats were not worn on a daily basis; they were saved for special occasions.
- The Kangol hats and caps were more famous back in the times. They were ranked as “hot” and upcoming, and were commonly used by the Beatles and other hip hop communities.
- Women had dressier options for hats. They were categorized into wedding hats, derby hats, bucket hats and cloche hats.
- Wedding hats had a vintage touch with veils and articulate ornaments hanging from the brim which was made out of silk, straw and paper mesh.
- Derby hats were more informal with lace, and flowers made out of cloth and bright colors. They were a lot larger in size too.
- These hats are back in fashion today and are worn by royalty and actors for mega events and parties. They can be extremely expensive depending upon the type of work that goes into making them and the design house to which they belong.
Two words: Lady Gaga. It is only fitting to mention her name in this segment, for her shocking taste and fetish for ridiculous, absurd looking hats. She is probably one of the first people in the world to be able to carry off goofy-looking hats with panache. Who can forget the hot pink sperm hat she wore while walking out of a svelte hotel in London? This was not the first time she was making headlines with her hats, but it was electrifying all the same. Since the turn of the century, designers have decided to create out-of-the-box hats, at sky high prices. Some of Lady Gaga’s unforgettable hats covered lobsters, telephones, silver lightning bolts and actually animal flesh (!!). Ridiculous hats were soon making headlines all over and people at the derby, and even at the royal wedding, were wearing them! These hats had birds, antennas and enormous bows; not something we all get to see every day and definitely not something you can wear every day!
These hats are self-explanatory. They are used purely for the reasons hats were made in the first place. Sports enthusiasts and athletes opt for the compact casual hats with a tight fit that can protect them against the sun and to help them see better at a distance. Beacon hats are used in Baseball, cricket, football and rugby. It’s more of a helmet with beacons that goes across the face to protect the head and is used in a lot of rough sports.
There are, of course, other hats worn by many communities for ceremonial, casual and traditional reasons. Regions such as the Middle East have complete headgear for the women, covering the face and leaving a little space for the eyes. Apart from the usual hats, there are beaver hats, beanie hats, dunce hats, Hardee hats for soldiers and Santa Hats for Christmas!
Hats can make you feel sophisticated and have been a part of our lives for as long as we can remember. A hat is the one accessory that can be modified countless times and can never go out of style. Hats can satisfy your thirst for style and remain contemporary and simple at the same time. If style doesn’t bother you too much you can pretty much use them to protect yourself from the weather. So stay fashionable, and wear a hat!