Katie Lynn Armstrong, Public Relations Manager for American Hat Company breaks down the basics of hat etiquette as well as styles you need in your collection.
Can you give us a brief history on “hat etiquette” and why there are separate straw and felt seasons?
The reason for the two different seasons are simple: the weather! Felt hats are for keeping your head warm and straw hats are for keeping you cool but still keeping the sun off your face.
When does straw season officially start? Which straw hat would you recommend as an all-around favorite?
Straw season officially starts at Easter! However, if you live up north and it’s still cold or even snowing, many will keep their felt hats out a little longer. The 7104 is one of our best-selling straw hats. It’s simple, well-ventilated, clean, and classy.
While felt can be worn year-round, when does felt season officially begin? Are there specific styles that are more suitable for year-round use?
Felt season officially begins Labor Day weekend. However, it can still be pretty hot in some places, especially in the south! So if you’re still sweating, it’s perfectly acceptable to wear a straw until the cold weather comes. I would suggest a light-colored felt hat for the hotter months so it doesn’t attract quite as much heat; something like silver belly or natural. The reason felts can be worn all year-round is because they are a classic and simple staple.
Is there ever a time straw can be worn as a dressed-up option?
The Hat King and late owner of American Hat Company, Keith Maddox, said that a felt is always your classiest and dressiest option. If he had a sport coat on or was going to an event in the evening, even if it was just dinner out on the town, he had a felt hat on.
What are some American Hat favorites for formal felts?
You really can’t go wrong with black and silver belly! We recommend a 200X and above if you’re wanting something for a very special occasion such as a wedding hat.
What hat trends are you anticipating in 2021?
I think people are learning that you don’t have to just take what’s on the shelf, you can customize it and make it truly YOU. I’m anticipating that more people bring in their own ribbons and hat pins to their favorite hatter to create something all their own.
If you had to pick three styles as “must-haves” in a Western wardrobe, which would you select?
A silver belly, a fun color (like midnight blue or black cherry) and a straw. This will get all your bases covered! The silver belly will always be classic and keep you covered for formal occasions. (Get black if you prefer a dark color!) The fun color is exactly that – FUN! And the straw will get you through those hot summer months. As far as shaping: Only you can decide what fits your personality and closet the best.
What is your style pick for a first-time hat buyer? Tell us why?
It’s a tie between black or silver belly. Both are classic, timeless, and will match everything.
Keep a lookout for upcoming styles from American Hat Company here. Photography by Christopher Thompson.