Ask Belle: Sun Hats

Aug 7, 2014

Dear Belle,

I’m off to the beach in two weeks for some much needed rest.  I have the swimsuits and sundresses covered.  I’m searching for a straw hat to keep my skin from frying in the Bahamian sun.  Do you know of one that costs less than $50?

Thank you, Annie

Choosing a sun hat is all about decided what image you’re looking to evoke.  Want to mimic a Palm Springs lady who lunches lounging poolside?  You need a wide-brimmed hat like this one from Columbia.  Prefer a floppy, boho-chic look?  This Old Navy hat is your best bet.  Like something relaxed but stylish?  This black-banded Fedora is chic and fun.  Feeling sporty?  A ball cap is always your best bet.

Also, never try to pack your sun-hat in your suitcase.  It never goes the way you’re hoping.  I’ve tried every trick on Pinterest and every solution that I can think up, and I always end up with a squished hat.  But if you ladies have any secret tricks, leave them in the comments.

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  1. Kat says:

    I stuff my hat with toiletries, then place it top down, with clothing stuffed under the brim to help maintain it’s shape. I’ve traveled the country and had a perfectly shaped hat!

    http://www.yousaucyminx.com

  2. MJ says:

    Use a cheap stainless steel bowl (from 99 cents store, Daiso, etc) to keep the shape of the head, then pack with brim against the side of suitcase. This method has worked for me for years. Added bonus is if you plan on eating ramen and you need a bowl during your travels.

  3. CH says:

    I’ve had good luck with packing my straw fedora. I put clothes in the suitcase so that they make a “hollow” where the hat can fit in (upside down, with the brim resting on the top of the clothes), then put things like unmentionables or shorts (small, soft stuff) inside the “bowl” of the hat. That’s worked for longer trips, where I have a real suitcase and enough stuff inside that the contents aren’t shifting and smashing each other. But for a weekend trip where I only have a duffel or a weekend, I just wear my hat to and from the airport. It feels a bit glam and you don’t have to worry about doing your hair before an early flight 🙂

  4. Addie says:

    I also pack my fedora or my wide brimmed hat by stuffing pajamas and underwear in the bowl, putting it brim down in the bottom of my suitcase, and then packing around it and have never had a problem. As for where to get one, I’d encourage her to wait until she gets there. The wide brimmed black straw hat that I love and had for years I bought on the beach in Aruba.

  5. Anna says:

    It might be a little too late in the year, but Target, Nordstrom Rack, and Marshall’s all have great prices on hats.

  6. Joy says:

    I’ve been a big fan of the hats from Jcrew this season!

  7. Steph says:

    The straw hat from the J. Crew factory store is identical to the one they sell at J. Crew (decided I needed a black one to go with the natural straw one I bought last summer) and it was like half the price. It has a nice wide brim that isn’t too floppy.

  8. OC Anonymous says:

    San Diego Hat Company. UPF 50. Totally packable. Reasonably priced. Many style and color options.

  9. OC Anonymous says:

    The “ribbon hats” are the ones I mean.

  10. Amy says:

    I’ve found that travel destinations and resorts always have a multitude of fun floppy hats in their gift stores. I usually buy one for less than $20 when I get there, and then I don’t have to worry about packing it, and I don’t feel so bad if it doesn’t make it home with me or gets ruined at the beach.

    By the way- I’m a new reader and loving your blog! I’m a mom about to enter the workforce again in a couple months, so I know I’ll be using your tips to refresh my professional wardrobe soon.

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