How to pick the right hat and where to buy it in Singapore

Hats from Helen Kaminski Spring Summer 2014. Image: Helen Kaminski

Why not put a hat on: Stylish headwear has been trending on the runways for a couple of seasons now, and will still be a strong trend for Autumn Winter 2014-15, plus the sunny weather in Singapore makes it pertinent to wear a hat when you’re outdoors.

While our general ambivalence towards hats may be changing even in Singapore, as observed by local headwear brand Heads of State Millinery, if you’re not a regular hat-wearer, however, finding the right one to suit your face and body type can be a bit daunting.

Much of the credit for this increased interest in wearing hats is due to the ever-popular Duchess of Cambridge. “The journey started with the royal wedding of Prince William and Duchess Kate, where all guests were expected to wear hats because of the church wedding dress code,” says Chee Sau Fen, the creative mind and the one-woman-show behind Heads of State Millinery. “She brought hats back into the daily wardrobe, thus giving the well-heeled and trendy the signal to pay attention to the hat, to make it part of your whole look.”

How to pick the right hat and where to buy it in Singapore

Hat style inspiration: Duchess Kate wore a Jane Taylor hat with an Alexander McQueen coat to the Easter service in Sydney. Image: James Whatling/ Splash News /Corbis

So take some style cues from Duchess Kate and find your perfect hat, or hats. Get started by taking your face shape, as well as fabric types, into consideration with our nifty list of hat tips:

1. CHOOSE THE RIGHT MATERIALS FOR SINGAPORE’S WEATHER
It may sound like common sense but it’s a good reminder to look out for hats made of lightweight, breathable fabrics to wear them without sweating a bucket in Singapore. Straw hats are the most common options: Here, we share more about the several types available.

STRAW: RAFFIA, TOQUILLA, PINANGABOL AND MORE PALM-DERIVED MATERIALS
Raffia is one of the most common natural fibres used to make straw hats and is light and breathable. The more costly straw hats are weaved more tightly and consistently, like with the ones from Australian hat brand Helen Kaminski, which start from $220 for a straw visor.

Other similar materials used for straw hats include Toquilla (an Ecuadorian palm which is used for Panama hats) and Pinangabol (a native palm in the Philippines); the latter has been utilised exclusively by Singapore brand Heads of State Millinery, in support of local artisans.

Besides shielding your eyes from the sun, several styles including the hand-braided raffia hats (like the visor below) also carry UPF 50+ sun protection, which is fab news for your skin; how’s that for doubled benefits? Visors too are no longer fashion faux pas when they look as stylish as these raffia ones, and they won’t give you “hat hair”, so grab one of these to get started on your hat habit.

How to pick the right hat and where to buy it in Singapore

Shield your eyes and face from harmful sun rays with straw visors from Helen Kaminski. Image: Helen Kaminski

For easy storage, you can also opt for rollable straw hats — yes, they do exist — but the ones that truly can be rolled do tend to cost more as they are made without seams and joints to become more pliable.

Selected hat styles from Helen Kaminski for instance, can be rolled up without losing shape, which makes them very handy for trips abroad. It’s sturdy enough to be foldable as each hat is made of woven raffia braids.

How to pick the right hat and where to buy it in Singapore

Helen Kaminski foldable raffia hat, $430, available at Club21b and Takashimaya. Images: Helen Kaminski

COTTON
Cotton is the most fuss-free option, since most well-made cotton-blend hats can actually be washed. Your options include baseball caps, bucket and newsboy hat styles.

Check the quality of the stitching and the material of the hat brim. If it has a cardboard brim for instance, cleaning attempts will of course ruin it; replacing it with a new one will save you the time and effort. Another general rule is to test whether the colour of your hat will run before cleaning it, by wiping it with a wet cloth and a touch of detergent. If the colour stays, then proceed to wash it by hand or to continue wiping it with the washcloth.

How to pick the right hat and where to buy it in Singapore

Uniqlo baseball caps, $19.90 each, available at all Uniqlo stores excluding One@KentRidge and One Raffles Place. Image: Uniqlo

Care instructions still vary from hat to hat, so be sure to check the label before you wash your hat. Or ask the staff in store when you buy the hat.

2. CHOOSE THE RIGHT SHAPE & SIZE FOR YOUR FACE & BODY
The size of the hat should be selected in proportion to your height and shoulder width; a fact that the petite should definitely heed. This tip comes from none other than British milliner Vivien Sheriff, the hatmaker responsible for the flurry of hats at the royal wedding.

Sheriff says that hats with wide brims should be avoided if you’re petite, as bigger hats will overwhelm your slight frame. If you’ve got broad shoulders, you’ll be able to carry them off far better; smaller girls should wear smaller hats like a beret or a pill box instead.

How to pick the right hat and where to buy it in Singapore

The more sartorially adventures can try these unusual Heads of State straw hats (above) that fit close to your head, inspired by the glamorous short ‘dos of the Roaring Twenties, now available for pre-order. Prices range from $98 to $328. Image: Heads of State Millinery

The same applies if you have a small face. Hat styles with short or medium brims like the bowler hat, pill box and cloche (bell-shaped hats of the flapper era) will work best on you. If you want a wider brim hat in spite of your small frame, flip the brim up at the centre front of your face.

TO WORK OUT EXACTLY WHAT TYPE OF HAT WILL SUIT YOUR FACE, CHECK OUT THE GALLERY BELOW!

3. WHERE TO BUY HATS IN SINGAPORE

BUDGET-FRIENDLY
For budget-friendly options under $100, look to Tailsman’s stores which are located at Far East Plaza, #01-100/101 and #03-116/132; Plaza Singapura, #B1-19A; Westgate, #B1-13. You also find various styles of hats at the stores of popular high street brands like Topshop, Forever21, Uniqlo and H&M. A wide selection of straw hats, trucker caps, berets and more hat styles are also available online at ASOS, Qoo10 and Ebay.

STREETSTYLE
Multi-label boutique Actually also stocks trucker caps and bucket hats from streetwear brands Joyrich and Lazy Oaf at its store in Orchardgateway, #03-18; prices range from $49 to $79 each. You can also check out new multi-label store Superspace at #02-18; it stocks a range of very on-trend cult snapback caps from brands like KTZ as well as British milliner Piers Atkinson’s work that includes those amazing enormous cherries that were worn by Anna dello Russo. Panama straw hats ‒ a major trend that is all over the summer festivals ‒ can also be found at Hat of Cain, which is located at 18 Joo Chiat Terrace.

HIGH-END
For sturdier hats to keep, look to Australian brand Helen Kaminski’s raffia straw hats which are available from Takashimaya and Club 21b, Forum The Shopping Mall, #01-07/08/09. Prices start from $220 for a visor to up to $460 for selected hat styles. Singapore headwear brand Heads of State is stocked at The Petit Emporium, Raffles City, #02-21; The Society of Black Sheep, The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands, #B1-64; W Store, W Singapore Sentosa Cove, 21 Ocean Way.