We’ve been playing it safe for almost two years now in every aspect of life.
For months, fashion had been reduced to nothing more than matching sweat suits and above the waist dressing (in case of Zoom meeting). No stylish men’s felt hats have been worn during all those long, couch-bound quarantine days doing puzzles and binging Netflix.
Now, we’re back.
It’s time to wake up from our elastic waist ennui and get back to the charisma-sparking, mood buoying power of style.
Out of practice? That’s okay.
It’s understandable—relatable even—if you often find yourself in front of your closet, staring blankly into the silk- and cotton-filled abyss, wondering how you managed to pull this off (every single day!) in 2019.
For those in need of a little sartorial reminder of how fun it is to dress up, we’ve compiled a list of our favorite men’s hat trends. Specifically, men’s felt hats.
Think of these suggestions as fashion dares: fool-proof outfit formulas that are on trend and will give you the dose of confidence you need to face the world again, this time without the sweatpants.
Try It: Beret with Fur Ear Muffs
The beret might be my personal favorite felt hat of all time for one simple reason: men look good in berets. Picassco did, while disrupting the art world in Paris. Hemingway did, while watching bulls run in Pamplona. The Guardian Angels did, while protecting 1980s New York City. Kim Taehyung did, while performing with BTS at Wembley Stadium, London. Men’s wool berets are a shortcut to style.
Virgil Abloh embraced the timeless, stylish perfection of wool berets when he designed Louis Vuitton’s Spring Summer 2022 line. The sophisticated topper went full “cool guy” as Abloh reimagined the beret with Y2K aesthetics and bold streetwear pieces. Elevate your favorite grails and other streetwear pieces this fall by pairing them with a chic and sophisticated beret.
Trust us: you’re going to love this fit.
Try It: Expert-Level Beret
Now that you’ve mastered a basic wool beret, are you ready for the boss level?
You don’t have to be a Scotsman to wear men’s felt hats. Your next fashion dare is to embrace the festooned beret. The chic topper becomes party-ready with the addition of a plume of feathers, a decorative brooch, or when rendered in a satisfying crisscross of plaid wool. Trepidatious about the loud topper? Keep the rest of your fit balanced by wearing sharply tailored wool suit (and prepare for the endless flood of compliments).
Try It: Sexy Take on Western Hats
Black Stetsons ain’t just western wear for cowboys, ranchers and rodeo hands. Over the past few decades, these hat has moved from a utilitarian item into the fashion world.
Even more recently, the cowboy aesthetic has evolved to a decidedly sexy realm. Thanks in part to ’00s pop icons like Britney Spears and, more recently, Lil Nas X, the cowboy hat is subversive.
Celebrity choreographer and creative director Fullout Cortland is the perfect example of how to embrace the ultra-sexy new direction of cowboy hats.
His formula for a hot-as-lava look: layer on the jewelry, wear a sheer shirt (unbuttoned down to there), cowboy boots and make sure you never take off your hat.
Try It: Embrace Hipster Headgear
The deerstalker hat is one of those accessories so fabulous, if you know them by name, you’re not part of the mainstream.
It thrives in three opposing, niche groups (hunters, hipsters, and fictional detectives), but deserves a much, much, wider level of adoration.
Equal parts quirky and practical, the deerstalker hat injects an element of insta-sleuth into any outfit. But make sure you get the right size because fit really matters.
Try taking a crushable felt deerstalker out of the woods, like this model at Milan Fashion Week by wearing easy, casual-cool staples in a neutral palette that don’t compete with your hat. It should always be the star of your outfit.
Try It: Expert-Level Deerstalker
Take the deerstalker to the next level by embracing the Sherlock Holmes-ness of the classic men’s felt hat.
Once you’ve mastered wearing the quirky wool topper with neutrals, lean into the maximalism of double plaid, bright pops of color, and a stylized, modern brim like this model in the Altaroma 2021 fashion show in Rome.
Warning: this move is not for wallflowers. But if you want to be the most interesting person in the room without saying a word, embrace the coolness of the bold and brilliant deerstalker hat.
Try It: Far Out Felt Hats
Alexa: play “Bohemian Rhapsody”.
Here’s proof positive that a serious, structured tan or black hat can be a part of a playfully Bohemian vibe. We love how Ramin Hajipour and Daelen Cory (seen here at the annual LA Art Show’s Opening Night Gala) stacked their looks with artful details and used a 10-gallon felt hat and black felt fedora to anchor their eccentric fits. The layered psychedelic prints, the veiled face mask, the statement glasses and stacked jewelry—their outfits are a groovy discordance, made harmonious by the structured felt hats.
Try It: Formal Clash
How to look like the most fascinating person in the room:
First: Order a sharply tailored suit.
Next: Get a gorgeous wide brim men’s felt fedora that clashes.
Finally: Prepare for the receiving line that will want to shake your hand and tell you how great you look.
Producer and rapper D-Nice looked ultra-dapper at this year’s BET Awards thanks to his structured suiting and felt fedora hat rendered in a gorgeous pacific blue hue. He looks great in his navy wool suit, of course, but the contrasting hat in a rich, saturated shade of blue elevates his outfit.
By purposely letting his blue felt fedora stand out, it takes on a regal, crown-like appearance.
Try It: Monochromatic Millinery
Singer-songwriter producer Nile Rodgers understands the power of a monochromatic hat moment. For The National Lottery’s Team GB homecoming event at Wembley Arena, the masterful producer pulled a masterful sartorial move by matching his felt hat to his suit.
“My default headgear is a Kangol Bamboo beret that I color-coordinate with my outfit,” Rodgers told The Guardian. “I love clothes. Every time I get dressed, even to walk around the house, I feel like I’m playing dress-up.”
Take it from Nile Rodgers: the true power of a great felt hat is the instant confidence boost.
Try It: Elevate a Casual Felt Hat
Can a scally cap show up to a red carpet? Absolutely! Troy Kotsur proves that you can mix and match a casual hat with more formal outfits. For a press event and photo call in Beverly Hills, the actor and director wore a dark wool scally cap with a sleek blue suit. The result: a high-low look that we love.
Try It: Lean Into the Rock Star Aesthetic
Even if you aren’t a Grammy-nominated, multi-platinum frontman with a garage full of six-figure cars, you can embody the effortless cool aesthetic of a rockstar. And it starts with a great hat.
We love how guitarist Gary Clark, Jr. (seen above performing in Las Vegas) smartly curated his whole fit around his not quite cowboy Stetson style semi Western men’s fedora.
Start, like he did, with a wool or felt fedora and add in tight denim, slim suiting, and a leather jacket if the mood strikes you.
Add a dark pair of “I was up partying all night” sunglasses under your hat to fully complete the vibe.
Try It: Go Bright
When in doubt, go bright.
The power of a bright, white pork pie hat is unmatched especially, as stylist and model Franklin Myrtle demonstrates, when paired with an equally bright suit and black shirt.
Pictured here at NYFW, Myrtle glows in his wide brimmed white fedora and sleekly tailored suiting.
The Hat Stops Here
Felt hats aren’t just accessories. They’re tokens of confidence. Truly great wool hats transcend dress codes, social status, and time. Men’s felt hats are stylish beacons telegraphing to the world that, yes, you care about how you look and, yes, no one is doing fashion better than you are right now.
Wear a great hat, and you’ll instantly look like you have it all figured out.