“YOU SHOP LIKE A MAN,” A MAN SAID TO ME AS WE
stepped out of the hat store. I had tried on six royal-wedding-worthy
toppers and left with two in a hat box, all in ten minutes. I had no
idea what my strutting companion meant. He was older, so maybe to
him “shopping like a man” meant that I was determined or efficient
or willing to do anything to get out of the store quickly. But to me, it
was as if I were a little kid on a rainy camping trip who suddenly got
loosed into a tourist-trap candy store: I am not going to see anything
so wonderful for a long, long time, so I must grab what I can.
I cannot be the only one who has experiences like this. Do you
ever walk into a store, a bakery, a car lot—whatever your passion—
and hear angels sing?
Hats, like shoes, golf clubs, and practical bras, are difficult to buy
for other people. Sometimes, they are difficult to buy for ourselves.
Fit is critical, and so is confidence. There may be no other style item
where getting it wrong feels so internally jarring. Did you slip the
wrong tote over your shoulder? Eh, swing it around to the back. Two
different shoes to a party? Who hasn’t? (Or is that seriously just me?)
You had no idea that the eye shadow you borrowed from your child
was designed to sprinkle glitter atop your cheeks and nose? Relax. We
can all stand to sparkle a little more. But a hat will not be dismissed.
Like the top of a wedding cake, it demands attention. It is a frame
for the face, a crown. Fortunately, there is a fail-proof approach to
buying a hat. First, try them on, all of them, whenever and wherever
you get a chance. Hat expertise, like most of the important things in
BRIDGING THE GAP BETWEEN THE GLOSSY
IDEAL AND THE MESSINESS OF LIFE
BY CATHERINE BERLIN
From top: Prada bag with gas station graphics, Francis Valentine bucket bag, Beat Kicks headphone covers, ideas from wigs.com