In summer 2017, social media gave birth to the Instagram hat. And what a jolly thing it was, brightening up our feeds with embroidered messages and far-flung sun-soaked destinations for a backdrop. Everyone who went on holiday last year probably had a big, photogenic sunhat of some variety. Since then, like all healthy trends, the idea has multiplied and grown—with this particular accessory literally expanding in size as much as it has popularity.
Perhaps one of the most regrammed shots of 2018 to date is a photo of a Jacquemus model wearing a giant sun hat. Kneeling with her back to the camera, heeled sandals on, cocktail in hand and mini green bag digging into a black sandy beach, this moody fashion snap seems to have captured the imaginations of many. The vibe—slightly undone, a little bit retro and somewhat risqué due to the sheer dress—has clearly struck a chord in what has otherwise been a chaotic time. The idea of a day spent in 30-degree heat followed by a beautiful dusk (and even better cocktails) sounds amazing. The kind of life where you’d need such a fabulous hat also sounds great—and in addition to the circulation of this shot all over the internet, the sales of the £332 Jacquemus hat have been equally impressive, with the sold-out piece finally coming back into stock on the Jacqeumus website this week.
Trying to get your hands on one is all a bit Raiders of the Lost Ark—they are rare, and you’ll struggle. These dramatic straw hats (which first debuted on the S/S 18 runway and have developed into further styles for next season) are all but gone except for at one stockist we’ve found. I tried to pull all sorts of strings to get one into the Who What Wear office, but alas, it was not meant to be. The reason I was trying to get my hands on one was to see if the Insta-hat trend of 2018 was viable or not outside of a fabulous holiday. (Keep in mind that if you do manage to get this hat, however, you’ll need some big luggage to store the creation with care.)
I tried on various jumbo alternatives: a fabulous selection from Fenwick, a gorgeous ribbon-tie option from Filù Hats and a more affordable one from ASOS. Below, I’m sharing what I’ve learned about being out and about in London while wearing an enormous hat.
1. Doorways (both regular and narrow) are tricky and quite comical.
2. If you have a hat like this, you probably will try to re-create the Jacquemus pose. I tried it in Who What Wear’s garden one sunny evening and felt pretty pleased with myself.
3. People notice you more. And that, depending on your mood, can be good or bad.
4. Every outfit looks like it has a purpose. "Hat people" are often confident people when it comes to personal style, and the bold addition makes you look like you know what you like.
5. Outside of your holiday wardrobe, this does feel like fancy dress. There’s no getting around it.