Weekend Wednesday: Summer Hats

summer hats for professional women

This is an occasional feature where we take a deeper look at weekend wear for professional women.

After my first pregnancy left me with a zillion sun spots (I think something about it made me more sensitive), I’ve gotten hugely into hats (as well as sunscreen) for weekend days. I know commenters were just talking about beach hats, so let’s discuss more broadly — which are your favorite fashionable hats, and where do you get them? Have you figured out a science to which head shapes look best with different hats? (It’s totally trial and error at this point for me!) Has anyone found a way to make a straw hat last longer than one summer? Pressing questions, indeed.

Some of the hats I’m liking now, pictured above:

  • Phase 3 Lace & Straw Trilby Hat — This one looks great and it’s 40% off at the Nordstrom sale (see our workwear picks here). The hat is $16.80, down from $28.
  • Amici Accessories Oversized Floppy Straw Hat — I can never get oversized brims like this to look good on me (I blame my round face), but they are super popular with everyone else — this $28 one looks great.
  • Scala™ Stripe Fedora — I forget how I figured this out but JCP has a ton of cute, affordable hats. I like this white one marked to $15.40.
  • Gemini Ribbon Chin Strap Packable Hat Rated UPF 50+ — This hat is much more about form over function, but if you’re heading to the beach or something else, I ordered this hat on an Amazon Lightning Deal when we were getting ready for our November beach vacation, and was pleasantly surprised by how fashionable it felt. Still: this is very much a beach hat rather than a brunch hat. It’s $38-$50 at Amazon.

Ladies, do you have a favorite hat that you buy summer after summer? Where do you like to shop for the best hats?  What’s the most you’ll spend on one? For those of you who bike or walk to work (or some other outdoor commute), do you wear a hat (and if so what kind)? 


  1. Making memories :

    Are there any books/podcasts/meditations/anything else that could help me learn to live life more fully? My life is great but lately feels like it’s all work and sleep. I think I haven’t been feeling anything as deeply as most people do. Many times I don’t seem to be making new memories. I don’t remember specific things that other people I was with at the time do. I also don’t have many clear memories of my childhood. I think it might be related to this feeling that I’m just floating through my life.

    • Wildkitten :

      Jess Lively.

    • It won’t cover all your needs, but Shonda Rhimes “Year of Yes” is a brilliant book. She’s wicked smart, a fantastic writer and thinker, and had a big revelation that she was always saying no to living life. It’s had a lot of influence on my thought patterns and decision making since I read it over the winter.

    • I don’t have any recommendations for you, but I wanted to chime in to let you know I am a fellow non-experiencer. I don’t get overly happy, I don’t get excited, I only get sad right before my period . . . I don’t recall a time when I was any other way. I think mine is partly a long-standing defense mechanism, but for me it works.

      Now, I could be talking about something completely different than you are, but the my life is great but I haven’t been feeling things as deeply as some people do struck a cord with me. What I have taken away from therapy is that, for me, it’s a combination of trying to logic my way into and out of everything and a long-standing defense mechanism. I can’t say I mind it because it’s all I can recall ever knowing!

      • I feel somewhat the same, in that I don’t really “feel.” I have interests and goals and hobbies, but nothing that I’m overwhelmingly passionate about. I have cried maybe once in the past two years. I had never thought of it in this way, but it could certainly be a defense mechanism.

        CountC, are you a virgo by any chance?

        • This is me, too.

          And FWIW: I’m a Virgo, too.

          • Wildkitten :


          • (not that) Ellen :

            Wow, me too. Although I do remember feeling things more when I was younger. A lot more. I went through some bad periods of depression and anxiety in my late 20s, again mid 30s, and on and off since then (I’m 46 now). I’ve been on a couple of different meds for the a/d; they might have something to do with it, but having gone off my SSRI recently, I gotta say… it might be a worthwhile trade-off. The voice in my head is apparently a grouchy b*tch now that I’m 40+. Peri-menopause anyone?

            At the end of last year I saw this thing about making a “remember-lution” jar instead of making New Year’s Resolutions… you have a jar (like a swear jar or a job jar) and every time something happens that made you happy or you want to remember, you write it down and put it in the jar. When you’re having a bad day, you can pull stuff out of the jar to remind yourself of the good stuff.

            There’s nothing in my 2016 jar. I’m pretty happy in my life, but things just don’t seem to make that kind of impression on me anymore. I don’t feel like I’m making memories, either.

            p.s. I’m an Aquarius.

        • Virgo here and I feel things very deeply! I am excited about travel, piano, etc….so many things.

      • Making memories :

        Logic plus defense mechanism likely sums it up for me. It is nice to see that I’m not alone.

    • The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin.

  2. There was a post with a suit here a few minutes ago, it seems to have disappeared…

    Anyway, any fellow apple shapes here? What style of clothing do you like to wear? I’ve gained some weight and I’m feeling awkward in my clothes. I have broad shoulders, big boobs, slightly defined waist and I carry most of my weight in my belly. I feel like most dresses with nipped-in waists just make me look pregnant!

    • Anonymous :

      You are me, right down to recent weight gain making a lot of my clothes not work. I have been loving wrap dresses recently – Karen Kane and Ann Taylor both have some that are either faux-wrap (KK) or internally fastened in a way that doesn’t expose too much cleavage (AT).

      The AT one I just got is the ‘dot pleated wrap dress,’ and it is basically my favorite piece of clothing right now. (Despite the overall good fit, I do still pin the top so it’s definitely not going to slip and expose cleavage/bra.)

    • Wildkitten :

      I find that separates are more flattering than dresses. At least there is a clear break in my belly where my skirts end and shirts being. Also, long necklaces.

  3. Anonymous :

    Sol a Mer has amazing summer hats. SPF 50, water proof, pack able, made in NYC. Just perfect.

  4. Re-post from the prior post and the missing suit post – What is the best time of year to buy luggage? I need a carry-on as my old carry-on is now too big for some airlines. Tumi is having their semi-annual sale right now, but I’m wondering if I should tough it out until the end of the year. Does anyone have any experience with their sales? Recommendations on other brands are welcome!

    • Anonymous :

      I LOVE my Tumi bags – I have a hard side carry-on, a nylon tote that slips over the handle of that carried, and a hard side checked bag. Love them all, and they’ve been around the world with me several times and none the worse for wear. Usually the semi-annual sale is pretty good – that’s how I bought my hard sides. However, sites like Gilt will periodically have a Tumi feature and have great deals on a few select colors and styles. So I don’t think there’s a specific time of year, just a matter of holding out for a good deal on the style/color/size right for you.

  5. Great post! What hat should I get for a summertime music festival? Something that is young, fashionable, provides sun protection, and won’t bite the dust as I navigate crowds of drunk (etc.) festival-goers. Does such a thing exist?

    • TO Lawyer :

      I like this hat from aritzia:


    • I would just go to Forever21 and get a cheap/fashionable hat. It will get totally trashed at your music festival

    • Killer Kitten Heels :

      I got a great straw fedora at H&M last spring that’s held up pretty well, especially for the price point (I think it was $10 or $15), so I’d recommend checking out H&M. Also, my floppy giant straw beach hat is from Target and is like 3 years old and still going strong, so I’d recommend checking out Target as well.

  6. What do you do when someone consistently spells your name incorrectly? I know that the obvious answer is to just say something, but what if you’re exchanging emails on a case team thread and the partner just never manages to spell your name correctly. Is there a polite/non-awkward way to address this (either offline or in the thread)?

    I’ll note that I always sign my emails with my (correctly spelled) name, but that doesn’t seem to be getting the message across.

    • Been there :

      This happens to me all the time and I always correct them, usually via email. Sometimes I will forward them the email they sent me (in case they sent it to a larger group) or just reply directly (only to the partner) and say something like, “just a heads up, my name is spelled X X X X . People mix it up all the time so no worries, but I just wanted to let you know. Thanks”

      • I have a commonly misspelled name with a couple of typical misspellings. I do about the same thing as Been There with a nod to acknowledgment that it’s a common and expected error.

        Now people who continue to use the misspelling in my email address on a group email. Those people. I have no words.

        • Sarah with an H :

          “Sara” I can understand. But last week I got “Stephanie”. That really ticks me off. My name is in the email address. “Sara” is careless. “Stephanie” is sloppy.

          • Anonymous Stephanie :

            I’m a Stephanie and I just had a tutoring student (who I’ve already been working with for several weeks) write an email to me addressed to “Jessica” – because they’re both popular three-syllable girl names for women born in the 80s, I guess?

          • I’m Sara-without-an-H. This week alone I’ve gotten Susan and Amber.


          • Another Sarah-with-an-H :

            I get Stephanie or Jennifer all the time. I have no idea why.

        • Elizabeth :

          I have a simple first and last name but my last name is also a common girls first name so I get called by my last name a lot. Hate that.

    • Wildkitten :

      I also tend to assume that person must have a wife/daughter/best friend with the other spelling of your name, so their fingers automatically spell it that way. Like sometimes I mean to write something like “wildfire” but my fingers get ahead of me and I write “wildkitten” and I am cognitively aware that I am not a wildfire but the fingers just automatically keep typing.

    • My name autocorrects/spellchecks to something else, so that’s common. Although my name is a nickname, I went to the trouble of changing it in my email address, signature, and I sign with my nickname.

      Regardless, I have learned to let it go. It shows me the person is careless and I use that information moving forward. There is one sales rep that spells mine three different ways. Guess whose emails don’t get attended to first?

    • Anonymama :

      I have a very common name with two very common spellings, and I don’t usually say anything if people get the wrong one. I mean, I assume everyone knows like 10 people with the same name, and I’m not going to get mad that they can’t remember who has the silent letter and who doesn’t. Especially if they have someone close to them with the other spelling, it’s hard to switch from the one that is automatic. I’d only correct it if it was actually the wrong name (like Stephanie for Sarah) or if it was in an official document and needed to be correct.

  7. The sun is really strong where I live (Denver) so I wear hats whenever I’m outside for more than an hour. I’ve gotten my hats at a variety of places – Forever 21, TJ Maxx, Target, Nordstrom, Madewell. I usually don’t spend more than $30 on a summer straw hat. I got a really nice one at a zoo gift shop on a road trip last year – I think it was St. Louis (great zoo by the way). I don’t really know what styles work for certain face shapes, I just try them on and see if I like the way they look. I have a mostly oval face shape so I may have it easier than some.

  8. Anonymous :

    Fedoras don’t seem like they provide enough coverage for your face.

  9. Anonymous :

    I recently found out that I have been denied ltd coverage (not benefits – just getting a policy) due to anxiety. The application was through my professional organization. Has anyone had similar problems and been able to appeal the decision? Ugh. This is all well controlled with an antidepressant and the very occasional Xanax.

    • Anonymous :

      No advice, but I really don’t understand the logic behind this from the insurance company’s perspective. If someone is RECEIVING TREATMENT for a condition like anxiety or depression, doesn’t that make them a much lower risk than the many people who have depression or anxiety but don’t receive any treatment? I just can’t even.

      • Anonymous :

        Preaching to the choir. And I just got somewhat ok with needing a daily pill…

      • Anonymous :

        Like how my life insurance premiums are almost double what they would have been because I had a bad pap a couple years ago. Have been treated, see a doctor regularly for follow up. All of this extremely well-documented. Cervical cancer (in general) is really slow-growing and the overwhelming majority of late-stage cases are in women with poor access to medical care. I hate how insurance treats “risk” sometimes.

  10. Any actuaries here? It was suggested as a career for my daughter in aptitude testing. I’m in law & know nothing about actuaries — just wondering if you like it, and if you’d also recommend it as a career to consider for a girl who really likes math. She’s only in high school so no decisions happening soon, but since they suggested it, I’m curious what it’s like as a career.

    • Anonymous :

      Not an actuary, but I have a friend who is and he is currently back in school to get a new degree at 40. Apparently the job is something that is quickly being automated and made unnecessary.

      • lost academic :

        A regular actuary isn’t exactly the most fulfilling job either just based on the people I knew that did only that (boring but paid the bills), but there’s a lot of room for a driven person to do work in firms that did actuarial risk analysis, etc. I’m surprised they suggested it – it sounds like a pretty ancient aptitude test. Also recall reading somewhere recently that those sorts of tests are somewhat useless. There are a lot of math and data driven fields right now that when she gets to college she’ll get a great deal of exposure to.

        • Meg Murry :

          Yes, I think a lot of the aptitude tests are too black and white (you like math? here are jobs that deal with numbers: accounting, actuary, etc) and not looking at the big picture. For instance, in the big picture: you like math because you like logic and procedural thinking, therefore computer science, engineering, or quality systems might be up your alley.

    • Might I recommend accounting? I’m a giant nerd and love financial stuff, and would totally recommend accounting as a career to a girl who enjoys math. It’s not like I’m doing some crazy level of calculus, but I work with numbers every day. I’m also well paid, its easy to find a job, you don’t need to go to some prestigious college, and I had minimal student loans that I paid off in my first year in public accounting.

      • Anonymous :

        I’m in data science/analytics and I always feel like I missed my calling as an accountant, because I also love financial stuff and spreadsheets are my favorite.

        A wise woman on Jeopardy a few months ago commented that she went into accounting for the job stability because she’d always heard “the accountants are the last to go.”

      • Anonymous :

        Yes! Fellow cpa here and I love my job. I remember an old joke about cpas being actuaries with personality! ;)

      • +1

      • This might out me, but a friend who was an actuary quit to become a preschool teacher. Just saying.

        • Anonymous :

          I think it just about any industry you can find people who quit to be in any other industry. I’m sure there are teachers who quit to become actuaries.

      • +1 to this. I love being a CPA and I’ve done a variety of interesting jobs within the field. I think it’s a great choice because it’s technical/math related, but lots of room for working directly with people too.

    • Anonymous :

      I spend a fair amount of time working with actuaries and reading their reports. My own job is ultra-nerdy, so I’m one to talk, but actuary work is dreadfully dull. I can’t imagine encouraging a young person to pursue it. I second the recommendation for accounting – she can go so many different directions with it and she’ll never be out of a job.

    • MarieCurie :

      A plug for my own career – she could look into physics! It’s a ton of fun, thinking about how electrons move around all day, and well suited to the mathematical mind. Whether or not she goes into basic research studying physics opens up a lot of doors. There are opportunities in more applied research (I think 1/2 of my graduate class went to work at Intell) and many began careers as quants or data scientists.

    • Love these answers! Thank you!

      • late to the game :

        My high school also suggested that I consider being an actuary due to love of math about 10 years ago. My parents fought back and urged me to do engineering instead (thinking that it was building off the same love with better range of post-college job options and way higher financial upside). Majoring in engineering was probably a better fit for me since it allowed me to take a problem solving/creative approach to math rather than just plug-and-chug that that High School survey was probably based on. I went straight into consulting/the business world after graduating, and feel like it was a pretty good path. I’d encourage you to talk to her about computer science and also Operations Research – if ever I missed a calling, that may have been it. Both have a very similar mindset and can lead to interesting analysis careers outside of strict programming roles that everyone imagines!

        Depending on what grade she’s in and where you’re located, check out local colleges’ exposure programs. My university’s Society of Women Engineers hosted an event every year for several hundred high school girls to introduce them to engineering and what those roles looked like in the real world. The mindset for this was always not to coerce people into studying engineering, but rather to introduce girls who liked science and math into the types of opportunities they would have in college and after – even if that sometimes meant suggesting that a non-engineering STEM field might better fit their goals or interests!

  11. Azalyaless :

    Can anyone recommend an almond toe/slightly pointy flat/very low wedge? I have the Louise et Cie Azalyas, which were recommended here a long time ago and LOVE them. They are however falling apart from constant use. I went online to rebuy but they are sold out in my size, so I need to start hunting for a replacement. Any ideas?

    • Azalyaless :

      There are my <3


    • color me patterned :

      I don’t know if these are available in your size, but I bought the pewter version and love them! So comfortable!


  12. I got a mailer from Nordstrom about an upcoming 10 point day, but I think I accidentally tossed it. Does anyone else have it that can tell me when the 10-point period is? I’m assuming it doesn’t overlap with the sale…

  13. sneezing (TMI) :

    Yesterday I went to the bathroom and sneezed a few minutes later. Apparently, I hadn’t gone all the way to empty. I get that this happens (and I’ve had two children, but not recently), but thought it was a full or fuller-bladder thing. But I don’t get that my “empty” sensors are apparently going south — is this just me? What is the way to describe (have a GYN visit coming up) and treat?

    I found that squats (not kegels) worked better for me post-partum.

    • I think that this is a common enough problem that you can basically tell your doctor what you said here. There are likely physical therapy solutions, not sure about medication or surgical interventions.

    • This happened to me terribly after each c section. I am just very cognizant that I need to go to empty each time. It did get better over time.

  14. Anonymous :

    I have a tiny voice. It’s not a “baby” voice or talk per say, but it’s high and childlike. In my head it sounds like a normal, adult voice – but out loud (in recordings of myself, voicemails etc) it sounds so young. My therapist said it is a “little girl’s voice” and people are always commenting on how cute or dainty I sound. It’s not conscious, it is just my voice!

    If I consciously try, I can slightly lower my voice for a few minutes (to what sounds like a man’s voice in my head) during phone interviews, presentations, etc. But it is hard, nearly impossible, to do consistently. I always end up back in my little lilting tone.

    Does anybody else have this issue? I don’t want vocal therapy or something, and I want my voice to be my normal voice to friends and family. It’s my voice! But professionally I really think this may be holding me back.

    • Wildkitten :

      The podcast Call Your Girlfriend recently answered this exact question.

    • Anonymous :

      I have a friend who has a naturally high pitched voice, so I base this on my impressions of her. A lot of it has to do with cadence and the “lilt” you mention. When my friend talks about something work-related, she’s very matter of fact and authoritative. She doesn’t deepen her voice, at least not that I can tell, but she speaks with such quiet confidence that I would never think that she was young, inexperienced, or ditzy. When we’re just hanging out, though, she tends to draw out the end of her sentence, so she sounds unsure about what she’s saying, or end a sentence on a higher note, so it sounds like a question. In the workplace, I think that’s the sort of thing you should look out for. But people who know you well will know that you’re awesome so I wouldn’t worry about it in a social setting.

      • Meg Murry :

        Yes, I think word choice and cadence go a long way toward getting rid of the “little girl voice”. Can you ask an objective third party if you tend to slip into uptalk?

        Taking a deep breath, consciously talking a little slower and thinking out what you say so you can speak with authority also make a big difference.

    • Anonymous :

      There is a difference between high and quiet and lilting. High you might not be able to change, but lilting is a mannerism.

    • I have a pretty high voice and I also cannot sustain a sustained lower pitch. I have however been very successful at changing my tone and cadence at work which I think has improved my feeling of authority.

      I’ve focused a lot on making sure that my sentences do not go up at the end in a questioning way. I also try not to say “like” so much and to speak with few qualifiers and apologies.

      You can do this!

    • When I think of my authoritative voice, I think about voice projection from my HS theater days. Not loudly, but with a full throat, and from the chest instead of the head. It feels lower because it feels like it’s coming from lower in my body, but isn’t really changing much of the pitch. Changing lilt/cadence may help with that.

    • I think the other readers have already provided some good thoughts, but I just wanted to add that consciously trying to change the pitch of your voice (trying to go for that lower register you mentioned) can absolutely wreck your vocal chords long term.

      Work on having confidence in the voice you were born with. I’ve never thought that someone was unqualified or unprofessional merely because of the sound of their voice, even when the voice comes off initially as different sounding or “annoying.” I always notice someone’s confidence level. I think the insecurity in your voice is more likely to hold you back in some way that the actual sound of your voice itself.

    • Anonymous :

      I also have a fairly high voice and I don’t try to change the register, but I do make an effort to speak slowly and evenly, especially when I’m making a serious point. If it’s something that bothers you, I’d recommend taking voice/singing lessons. Not to change your voice, but to help you learn about breath control and how to control your vocal chords better. I’m an attorney and I think it’s one of those random things that really helps with public speaking.

  15. Anonymous :

    I need a mental pep talk or hug or something.
    Just started a new job last week – left a crappy one for it, so no real loss of that, but I’ve come to VERY quickly find out that my boss is a complete jerk. Like, everyone says their boss is a jerk – no, mine is a real one. He hid it well in the interview, it was a pretty quick one, I had a great interview with another person there, but not my real boss.
    This weekend, he had asked me to get him a photo of myself for the website ASAP. Now, i sent him one but it wasn’t professionally done. He never offered to pay, and you can’t just call someone and get them to do that next day. He hated my picture and basically gave me the weekend to get a professional one. Sunday night comes he asks where my photo is, i say use the crappy one for now, I have an appt. wed.
    Not good enough – i get an incredibly nasty email insulting my intelligence, reading comprehension ability, and ability/desire to follow direction. Wow.

    Now, i find out that these types of rants/emails are kind of the usual. There is no “HR” person – small company.
    Ugh. I don’t know what I’m looking for, just felt good to rant.

    • Anonymous :

      Are you sure by a “professional photo” he meant taken by a professional photographer as opposed to meaning a photo where YOU look professional (e.g. a headshot of you in business attire with neat hair and appropriate make-up)? Because I think it’s definitely unreasonable to expect you to find and pay for a professional photographer over a weekend, but if you sent him a casual photo and he asked for a professional one by Sunday and then on Sunday you told him you’d get him one on Wednesday I can see why he’s upset…

    • Anonymous :

      FWIW, you can get a decent headshot done at the Sears or Penneys photo studios on pretty short notice. It sort of looks like an 80s school picture – blue or green background, shoulders up headshot with straight on smile – but it’s totally normal for a professional photo.

    • Just start looking for new jobs now. I live under one of these types. He won’t change. If this is the norm, and it happened over a headshot, it’s just going to keep happening on bigger and bigger things. Save yourself the misery and just GTFO.

    • This guy sounds like a real piece of work, I’m sorry. It’s pretty scary that he would send a nasty, insulting email at all, let alone to a new employee. It doesn’t bode very well. I worked for a really hothead bully once, and it was miserable.

  16. Does anyone have suggestions for ladies with big heads? I feel like I’m reduced to baseball caps as my only option when I would love a fabulous wide brim sun hat! Searches for “x-large hat”, etc. only give men’s hats or ugly outdoorsy (think: beige, mesh, your dad’s favorite hat) ones. Any ideas, send ’em my way!

    • How big do you need? iHave you tried an actual hat shop? Goorin Bros., perhaps? They sell hats in sizes. Gap also sells some M/L hats that fit my head (I’m a size 7 3/8 for reference)

    • FellowEgghead :

      I went to Goorin Brothers. Many, but not all, of their women’s hats are sized.

    • I have a men’s straw wide-ish brimmed fedora I got from Target. I’ve given up on floppy hats.

    • Anonymous :

      I have the opposite problem — my head is very small. One-size-fits-all does not fit me. I have had good luck with villagehatshop dot com, which has a number of hats that come in sizes.

    • Anonymama :

      I have a fairly big head and wear a men’s Panama hat (I searched on Pinterest to confirm they can be chic).

      I do have a problem with buying hats, they fit fine the first time or two that I wear them, and then they shrink and get to be too tight. Do they shrink in the sun? Or from getting wet/sweaty and then drying? Or from baking in a hot car? How can I prevent this?

    • Diana Barry :

      Tilley hats! They fit my giant head. :)

    • Little Red :

      Unless you’re looking for something dressy, you could check out men’s fedoras. Most women’s hats in the stores are One Size Fits All. But I know Stetson and Tilley hats come in sizes. Just measure around the widest part of your head.

    • Valentine :

      Hermes hats are fabulous!

  17. Little Red :

    I currently have a Kaminski raffia hat that I bought at Nordstrom seventeen years ago and have been wearing for sixteen years. Love it. But I’ve been thinking of a straw fedora from Stetson like this one (http://www.stetson.com/hats/retro).

Add a Comment

Thank you for commenting. On the off chance that your comment goes to moderation, note that a moderation message will only appear if you enter an email address. If you have any questions please check out our commenting policy.

work fashion blog press mentions