Part one of Wholesale Hats—Fashion Accessories for Right Now covered the important categories of ladies dress hats and cowboy hats, but the wholesale hat market has plenty more to offer, which can be a major help to summer sales for a variety of businesses. An immediate need is sun protection and ladies that want some relief in the sun also want a fashionable look. Nothing beats wide brims for casual ladies hats that make a fashion statement.
Wide brim hats have been on a steady rise since J-Lo started the ball rolling by appearing in a sassy felt widebrim a few years ago. The hat has actually been referred to as the J-Lo hat ever since. Ralph Lauren gave another big boost when his spring line strutted the runways last year with models wearing super widebrims that were breathtaking. The Kentucky Derby is the hat event of the year and recently has been dominated by widebrims. All this translates into huge demand and brisk sales in wide brim summer hats for ladies.
Ladies wide brims go from hats casual enough for the beach to dressy enough for teas, garden parties, and outdoor weddings. No matter how they are used, these hats always add a fashionable statement to a look. And the stylish touch in headwear won’t end with Labor Day—no, widebrim hats will continue right through fall with felt replacing straw. Jump on this bandwagon because fashion preview shows reveal the trend is only getting stronger with brims getting wider.
With all the diverse personalities in a customer base, it takes some variety in headwear to achieve a wide appeal. Second place for fashionable ladies headwear goes to upbrims—the sassy kettle shape in hats with brims turned up all the way around. These hats can be as fun as tropical multicolors created in durable straw or as elegant as dressy upbrims that provide sophisticated headwear for garden parties or dressy events.
A fabulous statement that enters this season’s accessories has solid weaved toyo with an underbrim of plaid fabric that compliments the solid color when the brim is turned up.
While new styles certainly generate excitement, natural straw with black grosgrain bands in eye-pleasing shapes provide timeless headwear that sells at a brisk pace this year and has been doing so in the wholesale hat selection for more than 15 years. These sewn-and-braid wheat straw hats are so classic they will never disappear because of consumer’s disinterest. No, the demand is very strong, but the handwork is done by specialists that are aging and the younger generation is not interested in learning the skill. The day may come when these hats are no longer available simply because no one is making them anymore.
Stylish hats grace the pages of fashion magazines and strut the runways, but the younger market marches to a different drummer following the lead of celebrities and MTV. The hat preferred by celebrities this season is the fedora. Guys and gals alike are sporting these trendy hats and the headwear industry is responding with an infinite number of styles in fedoras–everything from the fifties look in felt fedoras to stingy brims in plaids, knit, linen, and herringbone. Fedoras are the trendy hat of 2009 and the recent loss of Michael Jackson adds even more interest with so much coverage of the entertainer wearing his signature hat—a fedora.
Cabbies and ivy caps provide two more trendy hats that are very popular for teens and tweens. Again these are hats popularized by celebrities and appeal mainly to girls. They definitely add personality to an outfit. Cabbies offer a wide color selection that creates individual personality with studs, stones, buckles, and rhinestone designs. They can be as glitzy as sequin studded or as carefree as polka dots.
Ivy caps are more sedate with plaid patterns, solid colors, houndstooth, and herringbone. The trendy hat style that a girl picks probably has more to do with her favorite celebrity than any sales pitch.
Straw hats are the final category that needs attention in the summer months. We are not talking the fashionable designs covered above, but those durable, practical straw hats that protect from the sun and retail for a cheap price. These summer hats will never grace the runways or fashion magazines, but they are totally functional and can sell in almost any retail establishment–everything including convenience stores, food markets, boat docks, and lawn mower shops.
Favorite styles are gamblers, pinch front fedoras, safaris, life guards, and wide brim gardening style hats. Material is usually durable straw like lindu or rush. These wholesale hats can usually retail for $10.00 or less and are so durable that if they don’t blow away, the customer gets more than a year out of them. The appeal of these hats is function and low cost. Vacationers can find relief from the sun for a ten dollar bill. There is never dead inventory because they went out of style—these work horses of the hat industry are practical headwear immune from fashion trends.
Recent reports are feeding the retail sector encouraging news about improved business climate for the fall. Things certainly seem to be moving towards a fall season than is far better than last year. But the wonderful thing about hats is that you don’t have to wait until fall. These accessories will ring the cash register now. Demand is there and the market is undersupplied so take a reading in your area and see if this is the accessory to boost your sales over the next few weeks.