Guest Post- Affordable Hats

Slow Southern Style is going to be featuring a few guest bloggers each Monday to liven the place up and get some fresh voices on a variety of subjects. This week Aura Fedora is filling in to talk about her favorite subject, hats . Interested in guest blogging? Contact me at nolagurl at gmail dot com.

New Orleanians are known for their less-than-conventional fashion sense. Though we aren’t always embraced by the mainstream, we have always donned hats of various styles. Whether vintage,  trendy, or functional hats are everywhere here. Hats are my signature, and a good hat can get a little expensive, so I’m always on the lookout for something cute on a budget. On a sunny August Saturday, I ventured around Magazine Street to see what I could find.

My first stop was Francesca’s. For a chain store, Francesca’s has a boutique feel and is reasonably priced. The shop just got in a shipment of cute new hats for fall and there are still some summery hats in stock, with lots of options under $30. A gauzy off-white woven fedora with a textured, feminine bow detail caught my eye.  I imagined it with one of their frilly dresses, or as a cute, unexpected contrast to a crisp denim jacket.

My next stop was The Revival Outpost. I’ve been looking for an excuse to check this shop out, as they have a mix of old and new clothing and accessories. A bin full of woven hats caught my eye. I was floored by a straw sunhat that reminded me of the early 90’s. I could picture it with a tiny floral print dress and some boots. TRO had several vintage dresses there that fit the bill perfectly. The hat had a lot of character for $10. I talked to Alexis at the register,
who told me that shoppers often come looking for affordable sun hats 
when shopping out in the heat.

 Feet First Stores are known for their selection of shoes, but I’m always impressed by the complimentary accessories they offer, too. There is plethera of fedoras in a mid-weight and a variety of colors that could transition easily from season to season. The ladies at Feet First tell me that they sell the most hats at their French Quarter location, where tourists are walking around in the elements a lot, and also want to take home a hat as a reminder of the locals.
Fancy is another shop offering a combination of both new and second-hand clothes and accessories. I always passed it up before, assuming this store was mostly sundresses, but today I noticed a few hats in the window. I was surprised by how many rooms the shop contained and the overall variety offered. I couldn’t help but notice a vintage, hand-woven palmetto leaf fedora in excellent condition. It would be fun to wear to a tiki-themed party, worn tilted on the head.

The dual store Fun Rock’n and Pop City has an unusual selection that ranges from kitsch to hipster to classic- and they always have lots of fun hats. A crushable, packable floppy sun hat in chic black and white reminded me of  Katherine, the eccentric character in ‘Under the Tuscan Sun’ who sensually proclaims, “I love hats. They make me happy.” On the opposite end of the spectrum, a row of miniature fascinator hats are clipped to a wire. The “tiny hat” got mixed reactions when it was featured on the runway in 2010. A passing fad anywhere else, New Orleanians seemed to have embraced the novelty a little more whole-heartedly, albeit with a wink and a nod. “This year, the tiny hats have been selling like crazy, “ says store associate Cassie, who helped me shop that afternoon. “We thought they would just be popular for the holidays, but people are wearing them to parties and Saints games.” Pop City/Fun Rockn also has a large selection of inexpensive fedoras that range from fun to functional, which  Cassie tells me are their most popular item.
Fedoras are my staple. You have to have one.  Follow me at Backstage on the Bayou and on Sound Cloud.
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