Spring season boasts varied hat trends

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Turning your scarf into a turban can be a fashionable alternative for a bad hair day.

Photo Credit: Jono Foley | Daily Texan Staff

Pay attention to the new trends popping up in headwear this spring, but take care to avoid overdressing for fear that you commit a chapeau faux pas.

After the upcoming Kentucky Derby, it is certain there will be magazine spreads of ladies in their best or most bizarre Sunday hats. Besides mint juleps, the most common association with the derby is women in hats.

While wearing a hat decked with stuffed dead birds, bows and tulle is fun, it is not appropriate for everyday wear. The grandeur of a hat can make it difficult to incorporate into an ensemble — even the casual baseball cap can sometimes make or break an outfit.

But the downside of a hat is also works to its advantage. When worn tastefully, the stand-alone nature of hats make them easy accessories that add oomph to conservative ensembles.

In style for this spring and summer are bowler hats, floppy ‘70s-style summer felt hats, fedoras and turbans. In sync with the retro trend, round Charlie Chaplin-esque hats and large brimmed hats make perfect exaggerated accent pieces for this season’s long, billowing skirts and dresses.

Men should ditch the overwrought trend of fedoras in favor of newsboy caps, straw bowler hats or Panama safari hats, which have the same top structure as a fedora but with a wider brim.

The latest mainstream head trend, and quite a controversial one, is the turban. Known as “pagri” in India, the headdress surfaced in American fashion in the ‘20s and became iconic in the glamorous Hollywood scene in the ‘40s. Leading women such as Joan Crawford, Gloria Swanson and Ava Gardner wore elaborate printed turbans, pinned with diamonds and crystals, on- and off-screen. Most memorable was Norma Desmond’s leopard-print turban in “Sunset Boulevard.”

Despite recent discussion over the political correctness of the turban as fashion statement, designers such as Prada, Hermes and Christian Dior have incorporated it into today’s looks and set the tone on their runway. From Prada’s series of jewel-garnished turbans in its spring 2007 collection to Rihanna’s modern, black leather-studded turban spotted last July 4, this headwear has made a splash in past years. Now it has entered the mainstream and is even featured in this season’s Urban Outfitters look book.

Because it’s not every day that you see or wear a turban, donning one takes courage, even for the fashionista. Make a turban debut with a solid color, then ease into a vibrant print.

If even that proves too much for your fashion sense, just top off your outfit with a hat — with or without a stuffed bird.