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Hat Trends: Summer 2008

Mens HatsMaybe you don’t remember when mom always put on her hat to go to church or downtown and dad never left the house in a suit without a fedora. A glance through a Sears catalog prior to the sixties reveals the importance of headwear with pages of millinery, not to mention dresses advertised with coordinating hats. The sixties changed decades of tradition when sunglasses and handbags suddenly replaced the importance of headwear. Although needs of warmth and sun protection kept the industry alive, demand dropped. Church hats continued to bring some support to dressy headwear and trendy hats found a niche market with younger trade. Teas, garden parties, weddings, and homecomings provided limited demand for this once so essential fashion accessory.

Then beneath the radar, things began churning, first with the demand of red hatters and then the cowboy hat craze. Headwear was quietly regaining strength without notice—that is, until spring hat forecasts for 2008.

Ladies Summer Hats
New York Fashion Week saw so many hats gracing the runways that hardly a fashion report missed the sudden rise of this accessory. In addition, celebrities have taken to headwear with magazines and TV showing a steady diet of stars in fedoras, newsboys, and ivy caps.This keeps the internet buzzing with the strong return of headwear, going as far as calling hats the new bags.Well that might be extreme, but the rise of hats as a fashion accessory is a reality. Let’s look at the hottest tickets on the millinery list.

Raffia Straw Ladies Hat

Let’s start with the fashion shows.New York Fashion Week for spring 2008 fueled excitement with an abundance of hats on the runways.As always, there were some extreme looks that are not exactly what you would wear to a luncheon, but what about those sensational widebrims of Ralph Lauren? This is the classic elegance that is sure to reignite women’s infatuation with hats. Yes, the runways saw cute and trendy headwear that is certainly going to capture a following. Fedoras especially looked good.But if we put the fashion shows in one word, that word would have to be “lady-like”. Is anything more classic than the widebrim in presenting that look?

More than fashion designers share the exploding interest in hats. Celebrities are already on the bandwagon sporting headwear that flatters looks and adds individual personality.Fashion and celebrity magazines report the rising trend with pages of stars in fedoras, newsboys, and ivy caps.TV appearances flame the fire that appeals especially to the junior market. Hats are definitely coming back, but what are the winners for summer 2008?

Casual Hats

Cabbie Hats

With all the rave about hats this spring, what are the styles buyers are going to be looking for?While most hats have universal appeal, each will find a stronger market with specific age groups.The junior market will undoubtedly fall in love with the newsboys and ivy caps that have celebrities looking so dashing.Vibrant colors of the spring palette will reinforce the allure.Apple green, yellow, and orange will be just as predominant in headwear as they are in apparel.Fedoras are the leading choice of today’s stars that influence the younger market, but they take more fashion daring to pull off, while newsboys are as comfortable as a ball cap.

Floppy wide brim hats look good on anyone and will be the favorite of the missy market.Expect these casual hats to be a leading seller this summer with colors from white, black, and natural to the vibrant hues this season will see. Also brim sizes will range from the stunning 5 and 6 inch brims seen on the runways to moderate 4 inch brims everyone is at home with.

Cowgirl Hat

Conspicuously missing is the cowboy hat.Just when fashion gurus put this hat on the “out” list, celebrities pop up wearing it.Don’t count this American icon of headwear out because we predict that tallies at the end of the season will show cowboy hats again the leading seller. What can replace the cool looking headwear that everybody feels comfortable wearing? The cowboy hat gives gals that cute appearance and guys the rugged individual look. Distressed straws that dominated cowboy hats the last few summers will return with less competition from discounters that overdid it last summer. That means more market share for smaller retailers.Fresh designs include colors, both solid and shaded, as well as a variety of beaded bands that create personality.Early sales already show strength in this market.

Dress Hats

Ladies Dress Hats

Excitement in headwear spills over from casual hats to dressy with classics on the runway and fresh millinery designs fueling the fire.Church hats lead this category with the return of traditional trimmed polypropylenes in the new color of the season.Orange, yellow, and apple green join spring’s palette that offers a greater array than ever of pastel and bright colors.Classic styling simplifies trims of hat shapes reminiscent of the 50s and 60s.

Ladies Sinamays

Beyond classic polypropylenes, look for sinamays to be important in women’s dress hats.Inspiration comes from the British who certainly know how to wear a hat. Remember nearly a year ago when the US and the Kentucky Derby were honored with a visit from Queen Elizabeth.Photos from the derby and state functions show the Queen in different elegant suits, each matched with a fabulous sinamay hat.Expect this to impact sinamay hats this season.Shapes include headwear with the British flair of high crowns and angled tops as well as down brims with lower rounded crowns.Satin highlights and masterful feather work are among the exceptional trims gracing this season’s sinamays.Vibrant colors accompany the expected white, black, and natural for headwear that compliments any outfit.

Finally, the glamorous super widebrims that graced spring fashion shows make their mark on dress hats this season.Decorated weaved toyos and raffia straws will flaunt 5 and 6 inch brims for high fashion elegance.Dressy women’s headwear returns to the after 5 look with this fabulous millinery.

Colors, design, and above all buyers interest, promise a spectacular season for hats in the spring of 2008.Perhaps we have to go back to the pillbox of Jackie Kennedy to find this kind of interest in headwear.

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