As a kid, I loved wearing hats. So when my aunt returned from a trip to Spain with a Spanish Flamenco hat I was excited and couldn’t wait to wear it. I got my chance to wear the “sombrero” one Halloween when my mom decided it would be fun if she dressed me as a cowgirl donning the Flamenco hat.

Yeah... that didn't go over well with all the other kids. No one knew what I was dressed as and to be honest neither did I. From that point on I banned hats for quite some time.

Today, I am back in love with hats and what they represent. Not only do they shade us from the sun and keep us warm in the winter, but they also look chic. One of my favorite and the most popular hats this season is the Panama hat. Both men and women can wear this hat and it looks amazing.

The Panama hat is a beautiful brimmed straw hat with origins in Ecuador. Named after the city they were shipped out of in 19th century, artisans weave these hats so fine the can be rolled, packed and will then return to its original shape. This is an elegant, easy and functional hat. It’s the perfect vacation hat because it travels well due to its ability to recover its shape after being rolled up. I love to wear my hat with my light cotton dresses and sandals.

Kate Middleton, now known as Catherine, the Duchess of Cambridge, has helped popularize hats, especially her famed pillbox hats with a short veil. A little more dramatic but still fun and elegant to wear for special occasions. This is more your wedding or garden party hat to be worn with more formal attire.

The oversized floppy hat is also a big trend and it definitely a 70s vibe that will complete a boho chic look. Staying in the 70s decade there is also a comeback to turbans and headscarves. This is the perfect finishing touch to wide leg jeans and a T-shirt.

Hats are perhaps more popular in the menswear market than in the women’s wear market. Today, men are wearing the fedora and Panama hat, which have replaced the adored baseball cap as the hat of choice. Men are also continuing to wear beanies and skull caps as a fun sportswear accessory.

Celebrities like Carlos Santana, George Lopez, Eva Longoria and Jennifer Lopez all have contributed to making the hat trend a hot trend.

By the way, Moschino showed flamenco hats in his spring 2012 collection. Maybe I was ahead of my time.

Monica Diaz is a NYC fashion consultant, owner of MonicaDiazMode and the author of 7 Days To Style.

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