Overslept? Hair unsightly? Trying to look like Keira Knightly in Love Actually? We’ve all been there, so let me introduce the accessory of the year: the hat.

Hats are the ultimate accessory for any occasion. They keep the sun out of our eyes, protect our ears from the wind, and hide the fact that you haven’t brushed your hair that morning. More importantly, there are so many varieties that you’re bound to find one to suit your style.

“It’s easy to fall into the homogeneity of a tight-knit community, but fashion offers so much diversity that I think it’s a great tool to express your individuality and stand out from the crowd.”

You might have heard the rumour that everyone at Queen’s dresses the same. If you walk around campus long enough, you’ll realize it’s kind of true (cue the white sneakers). It’s easy to fall into the homogeneity of a tight-knit community, but fashion offers so much diversity that I think it’s a great tool to express your individuality and stand out from the crowd. I know, breaking from a comfortable norm can be, well, uncomfortable, but all it takes is one accessory to stand out from the rest. That’s the thing about hats – they instantly make your outfit more unique.

Looking back through fashion history, hats have defined cultural trends since the beginning of civilization. From ancient Egyptian headdresses to Renoir paintings, from Sinatra’s infamous fedora to LL Cool J’s bucket hat, hats have consistently been a statement piece across time and place.

Picking a hat is just like picking any other item of clothing —you should wear something you like.

Embrace your inner 2012 Tumblr persona and wear a slouchy knit beanie. This look is classic for fall and winter, especially when paired with an oversized sweater – I call this head-to-toe blanket chic —or used to offset a more formal outfit. If you’re worried you’ll look 16-years old again, pair the beanie with more “grown-up” pieces like high-heeled boots or a long trench coat to give off struggling-writer-who-has-a-really-cool-apartment-and-probably-lives-in-Brooklyn vibes.

“Remember, French accessories are not exclusive to those who’ve been to France —if Mary Tyler Moore can dress like a French girl in New York, you sure as hell can dress like one in Kingston.”

In contrast, if your preferred breakfast is a chocolate croissant with an espresso, invest in a beret. France has always been one of the major fashion centres in the world, so it’s no surprise they created of one of the most timeless accessories in existence. Pair the beret with a button up blouse, a men’s blazer, a t-shirt, a leather jacket, —practically anything —and you’ll instantly look classy. Remember, French accessories are not exclusive to those who’ve been to France —if Mary Tyler Moore can dress like a French girl in New York, you sure as hell can dress like one in Kingston.

If you think berets are a bit too extra, but beanies fall short of excitement, I suggest trying a flat cap because they provide both the element of class from the former and the cool factor of the latter. Flat caps are primarily available in neutral tones or patterns. Sporting a plaid hat while keeping the rest of your outfit neutral will add a nice pop of colour, without being overwhelming.

This approach to styling applies to all types of hats —because the head is small, you can get away with funkier patterns and colours.

Of course, these are just three out of many different types of hats —I didn’t even get into brimmed hats! The rest of the hat exploring is up to you. Experiment your hats off!

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