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?' la Mode: A Guide to Style

Four hats for four rainy days

The Spectrum

It's 9:05 a.m. and your alarm has been going off for at least an hour. You roll over, open the curtains and ... it's pouring. You stayed up into the wee hours of the night finishing a paper, and all you want is a sunny day spent on the beach, or hiking, or just sleeping. How easy would it be to just pull on your Hunters, some black leggings and a hoodie?

It would be so easy - too easy. But if you dress like you're ready for bed, then you'll look like you're ready for bed and feel like it's time for bed. Getting 'dressed up,' or at least getting dressed, offers silent encouragement throughout the day to stay awake.

Looking good helps you feel good.

So instead of pulling out your old hoodie, try incorporating hats into your rainy-day wardrobe. They'll push any outfit up a couple levels while keeping your hair dry. Here are four different hats and four different outfits to weather, well, the weather.

The Cloche

Keeping close to your head, the cloche-style hat will keep the rain away but has a very Coco Chanel-esque look. This yellow and navy blue version from Target - which never fails to impress with its hat selection - can, surprisingly, be added to many outfits. Yellow can sometimes take on the characteristics of a neutral, especially as an accessory that serves to punch up your outfit. It adds a breath of color while looking classically cute. For the rest of the outfit, I went with a plain black maxi from Garage and a cropped trapeze-ish cardigan from Forever 21.

The Flat Cap

In this borrowed-from-the-boys look, I combined one of my boyfriend's flat caps - bought at a high street men's store in Oxford - with Volcom boyfriend jeans, an American Apparel short-sleeve leisure shirt and a riding jacket from Stein Mart. The look is very 'English gentleman in the countryside,' invoking strolls through gardens or the hunt. If you're used to keeping your style very feminine, incorporating masculine elements can be sexy and interesting in a new way. Moving between traditional gender boundaries puts a whole new step in your walk.

The French Beret

The beret can quickly err on the side of costume, but if you truly own the look, then pairing it with just about any outfit or jacket will become second nature. For this look, I played up what I associate with a French style - high collars, pleated skirts, over-the-knee socks and navy blue brogues - to make my reference point obvious, but not costume-y. While perusing the Army Navy Surplus Store in Buffalo's Larkin district, I found a plethora of berets ranging in color - from red to bright pink and classic navy blue to black. With an Ann Taylor sweater, an American Apparel tennis skirt, white Target tights and burgundy over-the-knees from Forever 21, you might as well take this look to Paris.

The Wide-Brimmed Felt Hat

Very 2013 Insta-fashion, this black felt, wide-brimmed hat from Forever 21 will definitely keep all of your hair, and probably your shoulders, dry. In the summer, this hat serves as an excellent visor to keep your face safe from the sun. Although it is neutral in both color and style, I paired it with the ever-classic mix of black and white to work with the extreme popularity of black and white that arose last year. To play up the crop-top-long-skirt trend I discussed last Friday, I wore a black crop top from Garage and a patterned pencil skirt from PacSun. This silhouette can go from school to a night out quickly, as it's comfortable and sexy, showing skin in new places while accentuating other areas by covering them up.

If you've never explored the wonderful world of hats, check out stores like Target and Forever 21 and browse Google for hat styles by the decade to invoke glamour of the past. Regardless of the weather, hats are an easy way to instantly upgrade any outfit.


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