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Sunday, February 17 , 2019, 7:00 am | Fair 49º


Judy Foreman: Hats Off to Fedoras and the Timelessness of Their Classic Look

Going out on a brim, these hot accessories go with just about anything in your closet — and mine

Kimberly Phillips Hayes of Maison K extols the virtues of the fedora. “It’s a very manageable hat,” she says. “That has been a big seller for me.” Click to view larger
Kimberly Phillips Hayes of Maison K extols the virtues of the fedora. “It’s a very manageable hat,” she says. “That has been a big seller for me.” (Judy Foreman / Noozhawk photo via iPhone)

[Click here for a related Noozhawk photo gallery.]

One look at my closet and you might think I’ve got a boutique in my home. Although I’ve downsized my residences since moving to Montecito in 1988, my appetite for fashion has never waned.

I may not be an artist working on a canvas but I do use myself to create fashionable looks, and I have fun doing it. Since being named the best-dressed girl in my high school class back in Chicago (yes, a humble brag), I’ve always loved clothes and accessories.

And just because I’m now enjoying my coveted Grammy status, doesn’t mean I don’t want to keep up with the latest trends.

With age and three children, my figure has seen some changes I’m not crazy about. Nevertheless, the items in my wardrobe that have stood the test of time and that I’ve held on to are my accessories.

My fashion jewelry, scarves, boots, shoes, hats, handbags, belts, ponchos, cashmere wraps, vests, sunglasses — they all complement an outfit, and are more resistant to size changes and don’t require a dressing room at a store.

Some of these one-size-fits-all items rank as my most coveted possessions.

Every couple of years I fall in love with some new accessory trend, and this year has been fedora hats. While I never thought of myself as a hat person — other than the Breton sailor cap that matched my sweet-16 pink suit — I did grow up in an era when Jackie O’s pillbox and Easter bonnets were on parade.

While American women don’t have a millinery affection for hats in the way they do in Great Britain or France, our head gear is more naturally fashion driven than functional — especially in Southern California.

Over the last two years of runways collections, felt fedora hats have captured the hearts of most everyone — including mine. Blue, gray, brown, navy, maroon, tan, black, almost one for every day of the week.

The manufacturers are as many as are the price points. Some of my Santa Barbara favorites are Rag & Bone, Eugenia Kim, Hat Attack, Kate Spade and Brixton, but there are many private-label hats that stores are stocking. They usually come in small, medium and large.

On a recent tour of 93108 boutiques while shopping for last-minute holiday gifts, I noticed that all had a great selection of the 1970s-inspired fedora, with a wider brim but not exaggeratedly wide.

“It’s a very manageable hat,” explained Kimberly Phillips Hayes at Maison K. “That has been a big seller for me.”

Whistle Club, Angel, Intermix, Calypso, Malia Mills, Whiskey & Leather and Chasen all had wonderful selections.

Black, navy, winter white, fawn, gray, brown, black, some with leather bands or subtle trims were as endless as were the fashions they accompanied.

“The fedora’s very universal shape looks good on most people,” said Lauren Reynolds, manager of Intermix.

For me, the question turned out to be not whether I look good in a hat but rather do I feel good or silly in a hat? Until recently, I was a “I don’t look good in a hat person.” But I decided that I actually did, and the bonus was I didn’t  have to get completely undressed to try one on.

Modern fedora hats are a departure from the going-to-church hats or ladies luncheons hats. This season’s chapeaus have swagger and attitude, and are attractive with just about any look, from jeans to dresses. They really do top off an outfit and  add panache and a little attitude.

In a departure from the hippie wear of Stevie Nicks, cowgirl hats, sun hats, tennis visors and that perennial favorite, the baseball cap, which will always have a place in American culture, today’s men and women find felt hats are for everyone and for all seasons.

No hat trick here, just try one on and see for yourself.

— Judy Foreman is a Noozhawk columnist and longtime local writer and lifestyles observer. She can be contacted at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Click here for previous columns. The opinions expressed are her own.

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