Confessions of a Newly Minted “Hat Person”

Up until I was about 15, the phrase “don’t forget to use protection” had an entirely G-rated meaning to me. I grew up in the desert, where the average year-round temperature lingers somewhere around 90 °F and the sun shines brighter than most can comprehend. This means sun protection in the form of high SPF, umbrellas and, of course, hats, has long been an integral part of my daily life. The funny thing about me and hats, however, is that while I’ve long appreciated their practical uses, I haven’t always taken them seriously as a fashion accessory.

Fashion’s obsession with straw hats this year — think Jacquemus’ over-the-top massive brims — served as my first proverbial toe in the water. But it was Instagram that really prompted me to consider hats beyond a fundamental desire to protect myself. Today, my saved folder on Instagram is filled with fanciful hat photos, from variations on that now-iconic Jacquemus image to dramatic (but arguably far more wearable) hats by up-and-comers like Eliurpi or Lola Hats.

Some of my favorite stylish people, like Maryam Keyhani and Nasiba Adilova, have been sporting hats all year long. And it’s all made me wonder: Why don’t I? Given that I’ve long been told to pack a hat but haven’t always listened (because hats can be cumbersome, for one, and maybe a little because I thought they’d ruin my outfits), I suppose this means that social media’s influence has proven greater than my own utilitarian need for headwear. Nevertheless, I’m finally paying attention.

Adamant to rectify this gap in my style and determined to accessorize my head in ways I never before considered, I proposed a shoot where I’d try out a selection of hats with outfits I’d actually wear. I then imagined all the hat possibilities in terms of size, color and fabrication. I knew that if I was going to do this, I wasn’t going to shy away from going big. The shoot was green-lit, the date was set, the outfits were chosen, and here we are.

With that I present: four ways I plan to wear a brimmed hat going forward, plus a beanie-look, because if I’m going to get into hats, I may as well get into all kinds of them, right?

A Strawberry Straw Hat With a Polka Dot Dress and Sneakers

My whole point of entry into hats is that I want to be able to wear them in everyday settings — not just at the beach. Here, I paired a white button-down shirt with a polka dot dress I’ve been trying to wear more, then added green sneakers to balance out the hat and make the overall look more casual.

A Black Very-Wide-Brimmed Hat With the Classic “Jeans and a Tee” Combo

This look was all about going “classic” with a big ol’ twist. I love light wash high-waist jeans with a white tee. It’s a constant go-to for me. All it took to jazz it up was a huge statement hat in black (which added some drama) and lots of gold jewelry. You can never wear enough gold jewelry, in my opinion. Mom mules finished off the look.

The Beanie! For Evening, Once the Sun Has Set

In this photo, it’s after hours, the sun has set, the temperature has dropped, and I’m declaring that I am okay without a mint-colored beanie. I loved this look because it didn’t feel like I was consciously making an effort to wear something on my head, though I must admit it’s an unlikely choice for Dubai.

A Beach Hat Brought Indoors

I wore this outfit all around Tbilisi. I stepped into the restaurant you see here for lunch and kept my hat on because, after all, it’s part of the full look! A hat like this can accompany you indoors anywhere, really, so long as you pair it with your favorite dress.

And Finally, the Controversial Fedora

Fedoras get a bad rap, and up until recently, I wasn’t a fan of them either…until I pulled out this one from the back of my closet and paired it with an oversized plum-hued boho dress to channel Nicole Richie circa 2012. The shape of the hat actually worked well for me here because it added structure to an otherwise billowy outfit.

What about you? Are you a hat person? Planning to wear them all the way through your snowy season? Do tell in the comments. I’ll be there with a great big hat on!

Anum Bashir is a Doha, Qatar native currently living in Dubai. She’s the Founder of Desert Mannequin, podcast host, fashion and brand consultant and co-creative director of NDUO.

Photos by Waqas Farid. 

Anum Bashir

Anum Bashir is a third culture kid currently living in Dubai. She’s the Founder of Desert Mannequin, a podcast host, fashion and brand consultant, and co-creative director of NDUO. In her spare time, she eats cheeseburgers.

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