Spring flowers. Easter season. The royal wedding. That's three good reasons that you might be thinking about hats.
But here's the best reason of all: Put one on and you're a standout.
We spend so much time debating what to wear: the perfect dress, the shoes, the just-right earrings, the purse. And yet we completely forget that the quick and easy way to get noticed is a knockout hat.
"People would be amazed at the impact," says Davyne Dial, an Asheville, N.C., hat designer and passionate hat proponent.
"If you're the only one wearing a hat, all eyes are going to go to you. … Most everybody starts liking that attention," says Susan Lee, who designs hats in San Diego for the Sur La Tete label.
Think about the photos you've seen of Kate Middleton, Prince William's bride-to-be. Many of the most memorable are the ones where she's wearing some fetching feathery headgear, perched at a jaunty angle.
And while you might not recall too many details about Barack Obama's inauguration, the hat that Aretha Franklin wore when she performed that day is pretty hard to forget. See what I mean?
Hats don't need to be expensive. They don't really even need to be hats per se. A clip-on feather, known as a fascinator, can do the job for just a few bucks at accessory chains like Claire's, claires.com. At this time of year, department stores have lots of colorful options for under $100. Add a pin-on blossom to a skinny brim fedora from Target and you've got an Easter bonnet.
And never underestimate the power of a little face veiling. "Veils are wonderful. Veils can suggest a lot of wonderful things," says Dial. "They can be modest, virginal-looking, but a cocktail hat can have a very mysterious, flirtatious look. Veils are not worn nearly enough."
Still not convinced you're a hat person? Dial offers this: "Men love you in a hat. They'll practically kiss your feet."
*Headwear is an outfit game-changer and guaranteed attention-getter.
*Show some attitude: angle it jauntily.
*Frugal flowers and feathers from craft shops give basic hats a luxe, new look.
*Don't let your hat wear you: Big, dramatic brims better on curvy, tall women.
*Proportion is key. Petite? Consider a cloche.
*Buy a yard of net at a fabric store and you've got an alluring veil.