Drake's Creative Director Michael Hill gives his thoughts on our selection of elegant summer hats.
For the hat-averse among us, summer can be an unforgiving season. Winter offers far more refuge for those less keen on taking risks in the headwear department – a simple knitted watch cap suits anyone, and goes with almost anything. Summer may not readily present an analogue to the watch cap, but this is no reason for hats to be entirely foregone in the warmer months.
Firstly, there is the practical aspect. Even here in England’s often dreary climate, the sun’s rays can prove harsh, making a good lightweight hat, with a generous brim, an indispensable companion. And secondly there is the slightly less practical, but no less important, matter of style. Summer offers few opportunities to accessorise, and it is certainly true that summer dressing frequently becomes a little less exciting than wrapping up for those crisper days. So, with this in mind, it can’t be overstated how much a hat can add to a warm-weather ensemble.
To cater to this need we have assembled a small but versatile range of hats that covers all the bases, and each of which is deceptively wearable. First up we have the Stoffa for Drake’s rollable fedora, in a fetching sand-coloured rabbit felt. The Stoffa rollable fedora has, in a short time, become an intrinsic part of the Drake’s aesthetic, being classic but not fussy, and possessing an air of rugged practicality that is central to its appeal. "We're big fans of Agyesh's work and were thrilled with the positive reaction to the first couple of colours we produced,' says Creative Director Michael Hill. "It only felt right to offer a tone to compliment the the colours of our Spring/Summer season."
Following this we have what is perhaps the most classic of summer hats, the panama. Made in Italy, it is beautifully proportioned and finished with a band cut from the same tussah silk we use for our ties. As Michael notes: "a subtle but fun touch, and a nice nod to one of our all time favourite slubby summer cloths." Ours are woven from a genuine paja toquilla fibre – historically the finest material available for the manufacture of panama hats. A panama may appear a little traditional to some, but its sheer versatility is surprising, and few hats are as adept at keeping one cool in the summer (there is a reason its design has barely changed in more than a century).
Lastly, and perhaps the least conventional of our offer, we have a bucket hat. This particular iteration is elevated above the style’s usual sportswear/fisherman connotations by the use of a rich, slubby linen. Some of our readers may balk slightly at the thought of a bucket hat, but its unstructured shape and subtly textured appearance make for an elegant, albeit more casual, alternative to the rumpled charm of a felt fedora. "It's a hat you don't have to be too precious with, and one that gets better over time. It's also hugely practical given it can be rolled and stowed in your bag or pocket, certainly a good travel option."