Here in Chicago it feels like the summer of the Fedora, a style that pops up on locals regularly at this time of year. As predictable as crowds spilling out into Clark Street after a Cubs game, dandelion dozens after a sudden storm and the crush of CTA buses bunched together during a routine rush hour. However, what makes this year different is how many women are wearing this hat. They wear it with t-shirts, jean cut-offs or a maxi dress, flip flops. Super casual. Nothing slick, nothing high style. Something to wear 'em to the beach and back home. It takes care of the bad hair, cool weather, "I don't feel talking" mood all in a fell swoop. Well, that's at least what a hat, particularly one as sleek as a fedora, does for me. Lately I've been wearing my black straw H&M hat, purchased for $7, and I'll be breaking out the same hat, white straw trimmed with a sky-blue grosgrain, just as soon as I feel like I have something remotely matching on the bottom three-quarters of my body.
Browsing around on online, here's what I like of the fedoras I've seen to date: this menswear striped one from Target and this collection at Villagehatshop. Honestly, the more I think about it, you couldn't go wrong shopping at these two Chicago stores: Hats Plus and Optimo Hats (they made all the fantastic hats in Public Enemies). Hats Plus is more affordable with ready-to-wear hats, and their selection of Kangol toppers is phenomenal. Phenomenal! Optimo is all about the pricey custom-made hat you want to store in a special box, wrapped up in tissue paper. Here's a link to a Los Angeles Times story on hot hats on the runway.
* A series of goofy photos I took with the "Public Enemies" poster at the South Boulevard stop on the Purple Line in Evanston. The Johnny Depp posters are disappearing even though the movie just opened. Boo hoo!