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Hat Tip: How To Shop for Summer Headwear

Stay stylish while protecting your skin...

By Meredith Orren
Posted May 4, 2012

hatThe weather’s warming up, and that means we’ve already started peeling off layers of clothing. But there’s one must-have accessory that no one should be without as the sun kicks up its wattage: a good hat. Protecting your skin – especially delicate facial skin – from UVA and UVB rays is one of the most important things you can do to keep sun damage at bay. What to look for? Here’s a quick primer:

A wide brim hat – whether made of cotton, straw, or a synthetic fiber – is a highly sun-protective option, since these offer shade not just for the face, but the neck and shoulders as well. For a dressier look, find a hat with a more structured material and try one with embellishment like a flower or buckle. Take a page from Kate Hudson or Blake Lively’s style book.

Think of a safari hat as the “outdoor version” of a wide brim, as it’s usually made of material suited to rugged use; for example the fabric is often quick-drying and sometimes even has built-in SPF. These hats often feature chinstraps and other practical bells and whistles, such as mesh pockets and flaps that hang down on the sides and/or back to protect the neck and more of the face at various angles.

A cap (newsboy or plain) has a visor, which offers a limited amount of sun protection. Its purpose is more fashion than function, and indeed a cap looks great with shorts and other sporty daytime summer outfits.

A bucket hat is another option. It’s better than wearing nothing, since it does protect the scalp and offers some shade for the face. But the brim is shallow, so there is not a great deal of shielding. Straw or cotton bucket hats pair well with a sundress and sandals.

Step into summer fun, but make saving face a top priority.

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