Trends - Floppy Hats in Fashion

When Choosing A Style, Don't Overthink It

Floppy Hats in FashionLooking for a hot trend in the caps-and-hats category? Think wide-brimmed hats.

The 2015 runways have been full of updated Bohemian classics, with fringe, flares and florals dominating. As summer approaches, consider the appeal of another boho-chic essential: the floppy hat. These wide-brimmed wonders are perfect pool-side, at music festivals and any other outdoor event.

The nice thing about fashion hats, says David Goldman, vice president of Philadelphia Rapid Transit (asi/77945), is that few women go out and buy them on their own. “Yet, if they’re given a nice hat, they seem to really appreciate it,” he adds. “It fills a niche in people’s closets.” In the promotional space, wide-brimmed hats work well for landscaping and garden centers, country clubs, resorts, golf events, destination-based events and corporate gifts.

When choosing a style, don’t overthink it. “Fashionable basics always win, when it comes to best-sellers,” says Meadow Lacy, vice president of sales and marketing at Sunday Afternoons (asi/90134). Goldman recommends the classic straw hat in a natural color, since bright corporate colors run the risk of clashing with the intended recipient’s outfit, limiting the item’s appeal. He doesn’t advise traditional decoration methods for straw hats, partially because the “curvature of the crown” makes them difficult to imprint, but also because an obvious corporate logo turns the hat into a “novelty item,” rather than an appreciated gift.

There are creative ways to get around this, though. Pins or buttons are a subtle and removable way to include a logo. Custom hangtags are another method. For their grand openings, restaurants, for example, have given away floppy hats with hangtags that doubled as coupons for a free appetizer on the next visit. “Those kinds of promotions bounce back,” Goldman says. “It kind of brings the item to life a little more than a static logo.”

Still, if a client insists on traditional corporate branding, there are plenty of fabric-based styles that are easily imprinted, often with the added benefits of being packable and water-resistant. Sunday Afternoon’s Quest hat (S2C02261), for example, is made of performance fabric, is easily embroidered and weighs in at an attractive price point, Lacy says.

Wide-brimmed hats offer another big benefit, besides fashion appeal. They provide unparalleled protection from the sun’s damaging rays, something worth emphasizing to clients, with skin-cancer prevention an ever-present concern. All hats offered by Sunday Afternoon, Lacy notes, come with a UPF 50+ sun-protection rating, the highest achievable.