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Giving ‘Em Shade: The Importance of Summer Hats

by Elyse Glickman

Jul 4, 2019

Flavia D | Dreamstime.com

Travel Tips

It’s hard to believe, but over a half-century ago, hats were seen as a necessity rather than just an accessory in the average American’s summer wardrobe. Baseball caps not withstanding, hats are poised to make a comeback because of that added dimension of sun protection that goes where sunscreen alone can’t always cover. While fashion-conscious and aging-conscious adults embraced hats, Carson Finkle, CEO, Los Angeles-based online retailer Tenth Street Hats, hopes the practice will rub off on kids not only to encourage good self presentation but a skin cancer-free future.


“This is an important question, and I seriously hope society and fashion will soon push more people toward embracing hats as a part of a wardrobe, and the younger generation will become particularly open to adopting hats for both protection and style,” says Finkle. “As a parent, if you wear a hat with great confidence and as a ‘normal thing’ when the sun’s out, there’s a better chance your kids will, too.”


A good rule of thumb for family hat shopping is for parents to recognize there is a difference between sun protection hats and fashion hats. As parents would with their own hats, kids’ hats need to be crushable and packable, not only for travel to and from a destination, but also, if possible, waterproof if the family outing involves trips to the beach or pool, or aboard a boat. Pre-teens and teens steering toward fashion hats, meanwhile, need to understand a larger brim and SPF 50 material will prevent sunburn. More importantly, while baseball caps are better than nothing, Finkle points out more sunscreen will be needed to protect a wider swath of exposed skin.


“If sun protection is your main concern, do read the labels and tags built into hats and look for styles with SPF 50 tag or rating card,” he continues. “A common mistake customers make is they are not choosing their hat by using the correct guidelines. For example, even if some baseball caps have an SPF of 50 on their tags, the hat will not protect the ears or the back of the neck from the sun as there is no brim or fabric covering those places.”


Finkle points out Tenth Street Hats has a policy where anything labeled and sold as a sun protection hat must have a 50 SPF protection factor on the tags, as well as a brim of at least 2.5 inches or more, as specified by the American Skin Cancer Foundation.


“We have seen in the hat industry customers going for two-inch brims based on style preferences,” he says. “But if sun protection is a bigger priority, you need to follow the foundation’s guidelines. And then there’s getting a kid used to wearing anything other than a baseball cap. If a boy is hesitant about wearing a fedora, for example, a good entry-level hat could be a newsboy or Ivy cap in seasonally appropriate fabric. If your child is big into sports, also be sure to shop for a dedicated sport hat for hiking, biking, boating, and other outdoor activities.”


Tenth Street Hats’ website offers a regularly updated blog with further tips on finding the ideal hat or hats for your family’s lifestyle.


However, to ensure the entire family is covered in the meantime, Finkel offers the following suggestions.


For Men:

Muirfield, $117

A Panama hat with a touch of Western flair and vents allowing the wearer to keep his cool

Scala - Outback -Natural - Muirfield

Scala – Outback -Natural – Muirfield


Driver, $56 & Puerto, $90

Though designed for golf enthusiasts, the structured braided raffia hats (Driver with elasticized Coolmax sweatband) are crushable, packable and work just as well in town and at the beach.

Driver - Natural

Driver – Natural


Puerto - Natural

Puerto – Natural

For Women:

New Port, $45

This hat has it all: Timeless chic design, UPF 50 protection, eight available colors and crushable.

Scala - Big brim - Toast - Newport

Scala – Big brim – Toast – New Port

Amelia, $62

Hand-crocheted raffia straw features a linen texture band, crushability and lightweight materials that will carry the wearer through a summer day.

Scala - Big brim - Natural - Amelia

Scala – Big brim – Natural – Amelia

Norwalk, $88

The safari-style hat comes in three colors and is crafted in comfortable woven raffia, enabling you to bring Coachella festival cool anywhere.

Norwalk - Pink

Norwalk – Pink

Baseball Cap Replacement for Boys:

Cambridge, $35

Cambridge - Khaki

Cambridge – Khaki

Wexford, $40

Wexford - Khaki

Wexford – Khaki

Baseball Cap Replacement for Girls:

Anapos, $42

Aegean Fisherman -Black - Anapos

Aegean Fisherman -Black – Anapos

The classic Greek fisherman hat, rethought for summer, and available in five fresh colors


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