A hat is the ultimate accessory for the stylish man. To make sure you stand out from the crowd for the right reasons, here’s our guide to classic hats – and how to choose the right head wear to complement the shape of your face.
Identify your face shape
Are you a diamond, a rectangle or a square? The trick to buying a summer hat is to choose a classic style that works with the shape of your face. If you’re tall or broad shouldered, a wider brim is likely to suit you best, while men of a shorter stature will find a narrower brim more flattering.
Getting the right fit is key. The brim should rest on your ears and the hat should sit firmly enough on your head to resist a gentle gust of wind.
Here are five of our favourite classic men’s hats for summer:
1. The Panama hat
If you travel, a Panama hat is the way to go. When carefully rolled, it snaps back into shape ready to keep the sun off your neck while you sip cocktails in the sun. A Panama hat is the perfect way to accessorise a linen suit and also works well with chinos and a crisply ironed shirt.
The name, ‘Panama hat’ actually describes the construction technique rather than the style of the hat. Genuine Panamas are, in fact, made in Ecuador from toquilla palm and traditionally feature a black ribbon trim.
One of the most versatile pieces of headgear you can own, a Panama hat suits a diamond-shaped face best, but don’t worry if your face doesn’t quite fit – this hat looks pretty good on anyone.
2. Flat cap
A great summer hat that packs into a suitcase, backpack or glove compartment, this snug-fitting style lends a traditional, sporty silhouette. As British as they come, a flat cap is ideal for protecting your scalp from the sun’s burning rays. Normally made from wool, a summer-weight linen or cotton cap is a comfortable and stylish option for the warmer months.
Ideal for men with a square face, a flat cap is a good choice for driving, golf or casual wear. The best hat for windy weather, it takes a gale to blow a flat cap off your head – no wonder it’s the hat of choice for jockeys.
3. The Fedora
The go-to hat for Prohibition-era gangsters, a fedora oozes devilish charm. Traditionally made from wool or felt, it’s also available in lightweight straw making it an ideal summer selection.
A fedora has a narrower brim than a Panama hat, and the crown features a crease along the length with a ‘pinch’ at the front. Traditional fedoras have a black ribbon trim and leather sweatband, and also suit a diamond or heart-shaped face best, although if you’ve a more rugged jawline, this hat is also worth a try.
A light-coloured straw version is perfect for lazy summer days and looks great worn with shorts and a t-shirt. If the dress code is smart casual, your straw fedora is the perfect way to top a simple linen shirt and a pair of straight leg trousers or chinos.
4. The safari
The perfect hat to wear to your local watering hole, a natural linen or cotton safari hat makes an excellent alternative to a straw fedora.
Lightweight, practical and offering good sun protection, safari hats traditionally have a leather band trim and a flat, or centre dent in the crown.
A safari hat with a flatter crown works well for men with rectangular or square faces while the slightly higher centre dent versions suit diamond-shaped faces better. Team this hat with a cotton shirt and chinos, or shorts and a polo shirt for a more casual look.
5. The pork pie
Worn by Breaking Bad’s iconic protagonist, Walter White, a pork pie hat packs a style punch that’s hard to beat.
Featuring a low-profile crown with a circular indent, a pork pie hat has either a straight-edged ‘snap brim’ or, more commonly an upturned brim.
Perfect for smaller, leaner men looking for good sun protection, a classic black or brown pork pie hat is an edgy choice. Go for striking colours, patterns and fabrics to give yourself contemporary cool – this hat best suits men with rectangular or square faces.
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