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A Boom in Elegant Hats

Wearing Stylish Hats Makes Everyone Feel Like an Actress

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Left: Wide-brimmed "actress hats" give an elegant impression.
Above: Wide-brimmed hats even make the face appear smaller!

Elegant hats embracing a classic style are popular among young girls. This boom was driven by the wide-brimmed type of hat known in Japan as the "actress hat." It is not clear why these wide-brimmed hats are called "actress hats," but the term's origins seem to lie in the elegant look of the hats, the kind of style that an actress might portray. More precisely, this is not the kind of hat that an actress would wear during her filming, modeling or stage work, but rather in her private life, when this kind of wide-brimmed hat would hide her face and protect her skin from UV rays.

Previously, wide-brimmed hats were seen as a style that only older women could wear, or the kind of hat worn exclusively at resorts, so young girls hesitated to wear them in town. However, once television personalities and models appearing on television and in magazines began frequently wearing these hats, the image held by young girls gradually changed. Many people also love these floppy hats for the effect they have in shading the face, enhancing their face in profile, and making their face seem smaller.

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The material used in fedoras changes from straw in summer to felt in winter to sustain its popularity even in the fall and winter.

Fedoras and Bowler HatsFedoras, which have a crown creased lengthwise from the front to the back, have also been taken up in this new trend of wearing elegant hats. Straw hats in the same shape are popular in the summer, and such hats retain their popularity in the fall and winter with a simple switch in materials in favor of felt. Recently, bowler hats, which have round crowns and narrow brims, have also made an appearance. Both fedoras and bowler hats have a masculine image, but once they were adopted by young Japanese girls, these hats have quickly taken on a cute, feminine look.

Fedoras are more versatile than wide-brimmed hats. They go very well with casual clothes such as denim, shorts and leggings. In contrast, bowler hats coordinate perfectly with the classic styles popular in the fall and winter, and the round crown softens the look.

Rise in Number of Fashionable Hat StoresThe increase in stores specializing in hats is a major factor behind the boom in "actress hats" and other hats. Until now, someone wanting to buy a hat would have to go to a special section of a department store or choose from a few selections available as accessories at clothing stores. However, this situation has changed completely over the past few years. Shops specializing in hats have opened, and young designers have launched their own brands, with shop fronts decorated with hats incorporating unique designs. There has been a dramatic increase in specialty stores selling stylish and affordable hats in Tokyo's trendsetting Harajuku and Shibuya areas. The young generation can now easily buy hats as a stylish and key part of their wardrobe.

Elegant hats were once avoided as being difficult to wear well, but the emergence of the "actress hat" has made hats an everyday accessory for girls. With this, Japanese girls have taken their fashion sense to an even more sophisticated level.

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Far left: Combining this somewhat mannish hat with a duffle coat and mini-skirt creates a cute look.
Center and above: Recently, bowler hats with narrow brims have also become popular. Combining bowler hats with lace-up shoes gives the outfit a classic look.

(January 2012)

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