According to fashion stylist and Fashion Crimes Podcast host Holly Katz, "Nothing is more in style than keeping the sun off of your face this summer," and I can't help but agree. And while sunscreen remains the single most important means of protecting your skin from the sun, the best summer hats, from beach hats to bucket hats, can also provide much-needed shade to your face whether you're lounging by the pool, romping around on the beach, or simply going to and from your office.
The best part? Summer hats come in a multitude of styles and colors, so you can match your sun hat to your specific outfit and outing that day. Below, I've rounded up the best selects of summer hats, and I've tapped Katz for her thoughts on how to style them. It looks like summer 2023 is going to be my most stylish season yet.
Baseball hats are one of my all-time favorite styles, and Katz agrees that the cap is here to stay. "The old-fashioned ball cap has been brought back and reinvented by designers showing them on the runway for the past few seasons," she says. "It's actually been back for a while now, but we are seeing it styled in a much more sophisticated way this time around."
One of my favorite parts of packing for vacation is matching my caps to my swimsuits, but Katz points out that the style can be used well beyond the beach. "Try a ball cap with a sundress and sneakers," she suggests. "I'm also loving this with a work dress during the day with a chunky dad sneaker and a wide belt to emphasize the waist."
I’m a huge fan of ethical, sustainable fashion brand Everlane, which designs high-quality, long-lasting basics at affordable prices using a fraction of the water that the retail industry normally uses. This baseball cap is free of any logos or embroidery that might distract from the rest of your ensemble—which means it matches with any outfit and can be worn on just about any occasion. It comes in white and black, features an adjustable strap on the back, and is made from 100 percent organic cotton.
Customer Review: "Well made, thick canvas, fits great and comfortable, good sun protection and easy to adjust. If you need a cap, get this one!" -Everlane
Fiorucci is one of my favorite brands. It’s fun and irreverent, making cheeky designs that marry high culture and camp (just read Eve Babitz’s book-length exploration of the brand, aptly entitled Fiorucci). This versatile baseball cap features one of the brand’s most iconic, universally identifiable designs―the twin, neo-classical style angels―on a traditional, white cotton baseball cap. It’s soft, comfortable, and adjustable at the back, and matches with just about everything. It’s never been easier to make a fashion statement even as you're lounging at the beach.
If you’re already committed to wearing a baseball cap, why not commit to the look by opting for an option that reps your home team? Even if you’re not a sports fan, wearing a cap emblazoned with a team logo is a great way of showing your city love wherever you go. Plus, baseball caps come in a number of designs suited for all tastes, like this minimalist white option from classic sports brand ‘47. In addition to featuring the Yankees logo, it includes a fun, tiny design on the lower right as an ode to The Big Apple.
Customer Review: "Very nice color. It fits great with almost every outfit." -'47
One of the most popular brand of the 1980s, Members Only has retained its cult status over the years because of its sporty, versatile looks and its place in pop culture (if you’ve seen the last episode of The Sopranos, you know what I’m talking about). This hat, which has been requested countless times by fans of the brand, comes in black, gray, beige, and camouflage, and features the Members Only logo across the front with Roman numerals (signifying when the brand was established) on the back.
Wide Brim Hats
Not only is the wide brim hat a classic vacation look, it's an excellent means of protecting your face, neck, and shoulders from the harsh summer sun. Holly Katz recommends that, for an everyday look, you "pair a wide-brimmed, straw hat with dark, wide-leg Palazzo pants. This type of pant goes great with a wedge and a small, brightly colored, crossbody bag. On top, try a cotton tank bodysuit that cuts low in the back. Finish the look with stacked bracelets and a statement earring." This fit makes for a timeless, memorable look perfect for lounging at a resort, commuting to work, or heading to a friend's place for a barbecue.
This hat is made with travel in mind, composed of a bendable yet resilient paper straw material that makes for easy folding and packing. Then, when it’s time to take the hat out of your suitcase, it regains its curvy shape within seconds. Striking the perfect balance between floppy and structured, it has an extra wide brim to protect your whole face from the harsh summer sun. Snag it in this classic beige colorway, or in jet black—both are bound to look great with whatever summer ensemble you have planned.
Customer Review: "I have worn this religiously during my ten day vacation in Maui and have absolutely loved it. It provides great shade from the sun and isn't floppy or too stiff. It is just perfect. I have it in black and I love it because I think it classes my outfits up instantly." -J.Crew
You’ll be sure to stand out with this structured, tri-color luxury straw hat by Gucci. It’s made to look timeless and elevated, yet its black straw bow detailing brings a unique, feminine element to the piece that contrasts its overall boxy feel. And if you prefer a more monochromatic option, you can buy a variation of the hat that’s beige all over with woven black and gold lamé paper, a black grosgrain ribbon, and a chic metal bee sewn into the center of the bow.
While I love that summer gives me the opportunity to wear light, bright colors, I also love a good black ensemble, no matter the season, making this black summer hat from Lafayette 148 the perfect compromise. It has a super wide brim that’s sure to protect your face, neck, and decolletage from the sun, and it’s handwoven from Ecuadorian straw. The all black look is broken up by a beige band that comes together in a tidy bow at the center.
If you love the style and function of a wide brim hat but prefer a colorful look over a traditional plain, straw look, consider this multicolored option from Isabel Marant. It’s woven from natural raffia in a number of different shades like blue, orange, beige, and magenta, resulting in a rainbow look that’s fun but not too loud. Let this piece bring a pop of color to a monochromatic neutral outfit, and style with a pair of chic black sunglasses.
To be honest, this style took the longest for me to come around on, simply because I didn't think I had the face shape or the hair to rock it. Indeed, Katz points out that "wearing this type of hat makes your face look longer and leaner." This doesn't mean that longer, oval face shapes like mine don't suit the bucket hat, though―it just means we need the right outfit to pair it with.
"This hat is fantastic with brightly colored flare jeans, cowboy belt, white booties and a plain white tank," Katz says. "It draws the eye down to the cinched, belted waist and the flare jeans really complement a curvy figure."
"I never considered myself a hat girl. Baseball hats never match my aesthetic (too sporty), and big floppy sunhats are more of a statement than what I can pull off (too dramatic). But this bucket from J. Crew's collaboration with New York City-based, cool-girl brand Dauphinette is a hat I can get behind. The hand-drawn floral print offers artistic flair that perfectly melds with my eccentric-meets-classic style, and the silhouette is oversized but not exaggerated, which is ideal for my head shape." -Emma Childs, Style Editor
Like many people with long hair, my love for hats is tempered by my anxiety over bad hair days. As much as I appreciate hats for their fashionable and functional roles in my summer outfits, I hate the way so many hats flatten the curls at the top of my head—which is why this silk-lined bucket hat from Damn Gina changed the game for me. The inner lining is made from moisture-wicking, luxurious 27 momme mulberry silk, while the outside is made from comfortable organic cotton. You can grab the hat in black cotton with peach lining, or olive cotton with matching olive lining.
Customer Review: "I have been wanting a silk lined bucket hat for so long and DamnGina has fulfilled all of my hopes! I have always loved bucket hats and am so excited I can now wear them without having to worry about frizz and hat hear! It is so cute and such a well made product, can't wait to wear it all the time!" -Damn Gina
BIPOC immigrant-founded brand BrunnaCo is based in California, and creates all of their clothing using environmentally and ethically responsible methods. They work with artisans from founder Helga Ida Ayu’s native Indonesia, allowing them to work comfortably from home while pursuing their dreams of working in fashion. I love so many of the brand’s accessories and apparel, but I’m partial to crocheted pieces like bright, summery one. Its yellow, turquoise, and white pattern is perfect for sun-inspired looks, and is made from 100 percent cotton.
Drawstrings around bucket hats have always made me feel a bit like an explorer, but in the best way, and this style from Jacquemus brings a luxe flair to this retro, delightfully androgynous look. The hat is made from 100 percent cotton, slips on easily, and features a three inch wide brim all around that’s sure to protect your face from the sun. I love the subtly rugged look of the frayed cotton twill, along with the fact that this piece is adjustable from the back.
For the longest time, visors reminded me of the discarded free merch from the '90s that had been relegated to the back of a closet in my childhood home. Like many '90s trends, however, the visor is back with a vengeance, and it's honestly won me over. The Sporty Spice look of a baseball cap without any of the hat hair? Yes, please!
Channel your inner tennis star with this simple, affordable visor from ASOS. The hat’s straw finish brings a sense of whimsy to the look, while the black its black lining gives it a more elevated, structured feel. It’s perfect for long days in the sun—or for wearing on the beach when you know you’re going out after (this way you won’t mess up your hair). The hat itself is made from 100 percent woven paper straw, while the black trim is composed of 100 percent cotton.
This option combines the best aspects of both the straw hat and the visor, allowing you to indulge in a classic, beachy look without messing up your hairdo. Its woven design features an adjustable fit and a large rounded brim that protects your face from getting burnt in the sun. Plus, it comes in seven distinct colorways—natural beige, white, pink, olive, turquoise, black, and navy. Grab a statement color that’ll catch everyone’s eye at the beach, or opt for a neutral that matches any and every outfit.
This option brings all the glamour of Dior to the sportiness of the visor. Its design is inspired by retro athleticwear and offers 100 percent UV protection so that you can safely make your fashion statement while the summer sun beats down on you on the tennis court, the pool, the beach—wherever you are. Made from navy- and cream-colored perspex along with a cotton-blend jacquard, it features an adjustable buckle on its side along with the Christian Dior logo emblazoned along both its back and front.
For those who love the athletic look of the baseball cap but hate the way it musses up their hair, consider this visor from Adidas. Made from woven twill cotton and adjustable at the back, it features Adidas’ iconic brand logo embroidered in white on the front. Plus, its smart cotton sweatband makes it ideal for wearing when you’re planning on breaking a sweat. Reviewers love how comfortably it fits, how durable it is, and how it matches with everything.
Customer Review: Looks nice and stylish! It’s sturdy and will be great for blocking out the sun.
If you think that fedoras belong only to the early 2010s hipsters of the world, think again. A fedora is any soft hat with an indent on the top, and often with a curled brim, so it's a versatile style that can be incredibly chic. Holly Katz counts it among her all-time favorite hat styles―especially when it features a ribbon around the base. She encourages, "Find the perfect bird feathers to slide into the ribbon around the band for extra swag."
J.Crew truly is killing the summer hat game. This Panama hat (a style that got its name from when then-President Theodore Roosevelt wore one on a visit to the Panama Canal) is woven by hand in Ecuador from toquilla palm fronds. This means that every single hat varies slightly in color, injecting the look with authenticity. Plus, the cotton sweatband on the inside ensures this hat is comfortable enough for longwear. Reviewers write that it’s versatile and comfortable, but some note that it runs a little large.
Customer Review: "I've been wanting this hat for 2 seasons now and finally bought it in black. I'm seriously kicking myself for not purchasing sooner. It is the most comfortable hat I've ever owned. I love that there are size options available - I have a smaller head so one size fits all does not work for me. This hat is so great, a week after purchase I went back and bought the Natural colorway too!" -J.Crew
Gigi Pip is one of my favorite hat brands. It’s committed to creating affordable, high quality hats that ordinary women can wear on an everyday basis. The brand’s styles are timeless and stylish, and this particular option is woven from vegan paper straw and features an attached adjustable band that blends seamlessly with the off-white colorway. It also has an A-line, 10 centimeter brim that looks structured and elevated. It’s sure to match with everything, and reviewers love how comfortably it fits.
Customer Review: "I just received my Fiona Straw hat and it is perfect: casually elegant, perfect brim to cast shadow on the face, very lightweight (you hardly feel that you have a hat on your head), so so happy with my choice." -Gigi Pip
ICYMI, pearls are very trendy this year—a timeless form of jewelry that fits right in with the contemporary obsession with elevated basics and quiet luxury. This hat incorporates pearls into its design via a long, delicate, beaded golf chain that wraps around the brim of the hat and hangs down below the neck. It’s a feminine take on a traditionally masculine look, which is right in line with my personal style. Plus, its light sand color looks fabulous with just about anything.
Banana Republic is another of my favorite brands. It consistently serves up elevated summer styles that can be worn year after year without going out of style. This braided straw fedora is a great example, with its classic shape, wide brim, and subtle band detailing. It also features an adjustable internal strap so that it can fit as securely and comfortably as possible, and it comes in both small/medium and medium/large. Get it in the light blonde colorway, or in this yellowish tobacco shade.
Customer Review: "Classic design with a very modern feel that pairs well with casual looks or more dressed up. I took this hat on a weekend adventure to Northern Arizona and felt chic drinking wine on a patio, strolling through art museums, and enjoying many walks about town. Excellent sun protection as it has a wider brim than a standard fedora. You can adjust for a tighter fit, too. Stylish and great quality!" -Banana Republic
Meet the Expert
Holly Katz is a fashion stylist with experience styling both men and women in the corporate world, entertainment business, and for everyday life. She has worked in several facets of the fashion industry, including production, cost, and design, and currently hosts the podcast Fashion Crimes. She is based in Atlanta, Georgia.