Hats are back in fashion - so why shouldn't it be the same for all women's hats, including the ones we wear to travel?
That's right: back in fashion. Perhaps it was Kate Middleton, the Duchess of Cambridge, who dusted off the fuddy-duddy headgear and made it cool again. Who knows. But even in the US and Europe, hats are definitely becoming what you want to be seen wearing.
If you're anxious to get hat-buying, here are my three recommendations. If you want to take your time to choose, then please, keep reading!
The Tilley hat - this is a classic and I've had mine for more than 20 years.
As far as I know this is the only hat in the world that is guaranteed - against loss!
Mine is still going strong...
Tuga: I couldn't find mine - but this is close (if your neck burns easily!)
Some decades ago, no self-respecting woman would be seen leaving the house for an outing without a hat. She certainly wouldn't travel without one - or even several.
Then the hat went into hiding, relegated to reigning queens.
Now hats are back!
They absolutely can be fun and women with a head for them can go wild.
(Clearly, that's not me. Evidence below.)
Of course style is important. You don't want to look too ridiculous or you'll never wear it (unless, like me, you don't care!)
A color that highlights your face and a shape that complements it are good starting points (I obviously do not heed my own advice).
Before rushing to buy your chapeau, ask yourself whether it is...
The queen of women's travel hats (and men's, for that matter) in my opinion is the Tilley range - guaranteed for life even if you lose it. You've probably seen them on many heads during your travels.
In addition to the ones I mentioned above, other brands with good ratings are Columbia and Outdoor Research. But when it comes to hats, there are plenty of great brands. Indulge yourself.
Here's something different! If you happen to be a hat fanatic, you'll have fun browsing through what can only be called works of art - hats by Brent Black, who specializes in Panama hats (which, by the way, are originally from Ecuador). What sets him apart is his support of the local community - he pays his suppliers well - and the high quality of his products. This kind of quality at the top of the range can cost - get ready for it - US$ 25,000! Of course he does have affordable ones as well but I liked looking through his offers because hatters are a disappearing breed.
If you're going someplace sunny, you'd be almost foolish not to take a hat.
Not only will it shield your head, but a good hat shades your face and neck. As a redhead whose skin turns puce all too often, I find a hat essential on my travel packing list.
A hat helps prevent sunburn and keeps harmful rays from your face (remember all those cancer warnings and wrinkle alerts?) It also helps prevent heatstroke by keeping you cooler.
If you're heading somewhere with mosquitoes, you can wrap a net around it or spray it with insecticide. Even on its own, a hat will keep creepy crawlies from dropping on your hair.
Finally, if you take photographs and plan to spend hours waiting outside for the perfect shot, a hat should be part of your basic equipment.
And remember - a hat is quite a personal item.
You can embroider it, sew badges on it, put pins in it and otherwise make it yours.
Useful, yes, but also FUN!