A cursory glance at the hottest women’s hat styles shows A-listers are letting fashion go to their heads (literally), with some far-from-minimalist hat options. Bold-hued, modern cowboy hats have swept the nation and successfully stolen our hearts. Red edge trim that lets us show off our flare for the artistic is taking center stage. Gangster hat styles are being worn by even the least street wise among us.
The verdict is out: hats are having a major maximalist moment.
But every yin needs its yang. Going bold is normally key to standing out in a sea of sameness. The theory stands then, that the best way to turn heads right now is with a minimalist hat.
But minimalism means many different things. It’s not so neatly packed into a predefined box. It’s as much about what’s on the inside as what’s on the outside. And so, it can visually manifest in many different ways.
Following this idea, I perused the (figurative) pages of online magazines. I scoured photo albums from recent runway events to find celebs embodying simple sophistication in their millinery. And I wasn’t disappointed with the real-world examples I found.
Cap Off a Capsule Wardrobe with a Versatile, Neutral Fedora
First up, Yvonne Orji shows us how to wear a women’s wide brim hat in a classic way. She took a no-frills approach to getting dressed. She wore a cream sweater, medium wash jeans, wool pea coat, felt minimalist hat, and gold hoop earrings. Put simply, the timeless pieces in this look are what capsule wardrobes are made of.
But don’t mistake minimalism for lack of attention to detail.
Orji’s classy look can be hard to pull off because every piece is on display. It puts fit and silhouette front and center. Like, for example, the pronounced pinch of her cylindrical crown, wide brim fedora and the well-tailored shoulders of her jacket.
Monochrome Meets Minimalism
The monochromatic camel hue of her pea coat and women’s fedora hat are a near-perfect match. This color brings out the vibrant glow of her skin tone and toffee highlights. Meanwhile, opting for a cream sweater kept a nice warmth in the whole look.
Then there are the textures. Her soft brushed wool jacket once again matches her wool hat. And the healthy sheen of her loose waves bring out the shine of the camel hat band and her gold hoops. She finishes the look with dewy, natural makeup and clean, unpolished nails. These are the only other accessories you need when you have an ensemble that looks this darn good.
In this same-but-different concept, Stevie Martin also wears a camel-color minimalist hat with a black-on-black outfit.
Wide leg trousers balance a wide brim. And a sleeveless jacket creates clean vertical lines around Martin’s neckline and toned arms. She added a bit more personalization with a few other simple accessories. You’ll notice two gold pendant necklaces, thin bangle bracelets, and an unexpected feather peeking out atop the brim of her fedora.
These delicate details would make every modern minimalist swoon.
Martin’s look undeniably includes more accessories than Orji’s. But the classic lines and versatility of each individual piece still keeps this outfit solidly in the minimalistic fashion category.
In fact, it’s this effortless ability to mix and match pieces that draw us into the capsule wardrobe. And it’s the crisp tailoring and clean fits that keep us coming back.
Anchor a Joyful Statement Piece with a Minimalist Hat
Donning a minimalistic hat and going with minimalist accessories doesn’t mean your outfits need to be a snooze-fest. In fact, it’s often the opposite.
Enter: Diane Keaton giving big Leo energy at the Gucci Love Parade. She wore a monogrammed Balenciaga statement jacket and shiny mahogany boots with cream capped toes.
A runway-ready look with designer price tags may not fit the bill of what we initially consider minimalism. Which is, in a word, simple. But, let’s use Good On You’s, Marie Kondo-inspired definition.
Minimalist fashion means having a minimal amount of clothes in your wardrobe that feel right for you and bring joy.”Marie Kondo
And what sparks joy more than wearing a bold statement piece? One that’s been hanging in the closet just waiting for its day in the spotlight?
Maybe you carefully plucked it from the racks of a thrift store. Perhaps it’s well-won after hours of waiting outside a sample sale for that exclusive piece. Maybe it’s a handcrafted, vintage heirloom item that was passed down from a trail-blazing grandmother. Or heck, maybe your statement piece was carefully curated straight from the racks of Saks, pre-pressed with a fresh designer smell.
Minimalism Balances Fearless Fashion
Regardless of its origins, a fashion statement piece is like an opening line in your own story. And the understated, minimalist accessory? The punctuation. The full stop after having made a particularly thought-provoking comment.
And so we cast our eyes toward Keaton and her rounded derby topper.
There’s nary an earring or even the finest of gold chain necklaces in sight. Just a singular accessory — a minimalist hat — to rest our eyes upon after taking in the visual feast that is her jacket.
The minimalist hat and the statement piece may actually be the perfect fashion power couple. If you need a good argument for why, just observe Natalia’s liquid leather look in Madrid.
Her all-black felt women’s fedora has a relaxed brim and the most subtle of crown pinches. It’s perfectly unassuming. It brings her intergalactic, metallic moto jacket back down to Earth. Think of it like the voice of reason. You know, the one that whispers at you moments before you’re about to impulsively spend a whole paycheck on a pair of shoes. It also complements her leather pants and boots by keeping a classic black color story from head to toe.
Anything but a simple silver necklace would simply be competing for attention with the rest of the outfit. And so, once again, it’s the minimalist accessories that seal the deal.
Make Your Hat the Star of the Show
When it comes to menswear looks, knowing how to wear a hat with style and pizzazz can tip the scales. It can be the difference between simply being well-dressed and being the best dressed.
One might argue there is absolutely nothing minimalist about Ongina’s outfit here. It’s a siren red, full silk, three-piece suit and a matching red fedora with a black hat band. And I would counter that argument with a third concept of minimalism:
Becoming Minimalist explains it for us.
“It is marked by clarity, purpose, and intentionality. At its core, being a minimalist means intentionally promoting the things we most value and removing everything that distracts us from it. It is a life that forces intentionality upon us. As a result, it forces improvements in almost all aspects of your life.”Becoming Minimalist
Minimalism Requires Mindfulness
This absolutely breaks down the surface-level definition of minimalist fashion as being simple or *gasp* boring. It allows Ongina’s millinery to be both bold and simple. Imploring us to consider every intentionally-selected detail in her outfit, right down to how many buttons she’s undone in her white shirt. It stokes appreciation for the cuffed sleeve that reveals a ruffled mesh glove with a sheer cheetah print on it.
A quick detour to Ongina’s Instagram will prove that this wasn’t a one-time happy accident. It’s a long-standing habit of intentional accessorizing. She often shows restraint in order to highlight a certain feature, outfit detail, or statement piece.
Like Ongina’s red carpet look, Amk Hanjargalant‘s benefit outfit is giving us minimalist accessories in quantity only. Slicked-back hair and geometric earrings bring the eye to her unique hat. The hat itself features a wide brim and stitched-on beads that are all around surface of the crown.
The navy brim and crown match her navy pantsuit. Meanwhile, gold beads match her only other accessories. Once again, we see a very intentionally-styled hat.
After Hanjargalant’s hat catches your eye, you then delve deeper into the other details of her ensemble. You notice that the pantsuit is, in fact, a deep navy, not black. You see the sheer chiffon shirt with a lace bralette underneath, balancing the masculine energy of the suit with a feminine sexiness. And then you stop at the pointy-toed heels, matching the energy of the bold, clean lines in her hat.
It’s minimalism at first glance, with hidden details as you look deeper.
The Hat Stops Here
A minimalist hat is not only defined by appearances. It requires you to take a look at what else you’re wearing, what you’re not wearing, and why you wear it.
It needs to be versatile, intentional, and joyful.
For some, that’s achieved by adding simple sophistication to a classy outfit. For others, it’s about creating complementary, not competing, outfit elements. And still others, it’s about calling attention to the details.
I’m inspired by the silent-yet-bold impact that a minimalist hat has in these outfit examples. I might even be so inspired as to add one stanza to Chanel’s iconic quote, here.
“Before you leave the house, look in the mirror and take one thing off.”
But never the hat – that shall stay.