Just Go On Ahead...

Slip. Slop. Slap. Seek. Slide. Today we’re focusing on the slap – as in slap on a hat!

Wearing a hat with a brim of at least three inches will provide some shade for your face. While a hat provides some protection from ultraviolet light, it’s still important to wear sunscreen. UV rays reflect off surfaces like a mirror, the lighter being more reflective (think water or even light grey sidewalks). Look for a hat made with tightly woven fabric that allows less light to escape through. Straw hats are cute, but obviously don’t provide much protection. Same goes for baseball hats. They cover your forehead and only half your face (and don’t get me started on those guys and gals who wear backwards baseball caps! The tell-tale sign of this breed of hat-wearers is the burned oval on foreheads from the strap hole where sunscreen wasn’t applied!).

On the fashion front, hats are a timeless accessory. They’re insanely stylish and classic with a heck of a history. One of the first depictions of a hat was in a Thebes tomb, a man wearing a conical hat made of straw (no, not great for sun protection). The first known hat with a brim is an Ancient Greek petasos. Hats since became an indicator of social status and, in the military, they can represent nationality or rank. Some hats have religious meaning, such as the Bishops’ mitre or the Sikh turban. The history of hats for both men and women is interesting, and there are several books devoted to the topic including this one that includes words of wisdom from Coco Chanel. “One must always wear a hat when lunching with people whom one does not know well because one appears to one’s best advantage.” 

Outside of function, hats lost popularity during the 1960s. Up until the 1950s, men were rarely seen outside their homes without a hat and then things on the fashion front exploded into a technicolor nightmare of psychedelic colours and tie-dye. Even the Catholic church dropped its dress code in 1967, abandoning the requirement that women wear head coverings.

Hats have made a comeback in the fashion world. Lady Diana began a bit of a hat revival during the 1980s which pop star Lady Gaga picked up again in the 2000s, wearing hats fashioned out of telephones, 9,000 Swarovski crystals, and more recently, a pink cowboy hat for her Joanne album tour. Royal weddings aside, the art of the hat is once again being considered by us regular folk who love both the practical as well as the fun sides of one of our favourite accessories.

And if you’re curious about the other sun safety tips, they’re: Slip on a T-shirt. Slop on some sunscreen. Seek shade. Slide on some sunglasses.