by Rebecca Shea
The warm weather is here and that means organizing our favorite summer staples. Top on our list? Hats. A good hat can be that vital bit of character and panache that elevates any old outfit. Hats are part of the reason why farmers, gardeners, and cowboys look great no matter how old and dirty their workwear is.
And, on the more practical end of things, here in the Catskills and Hudson valley, the sun is searing and sun damage happens fast. In the blistering daylight, a hat protects the head and neck and provides some shade.
Sunburn, a form of radiation burn, results from an overexposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation and can occur in less than 15 minutes. People have become more diligent in their application of sunscreen when they work and frolic outdoors. However, there are areas on the body that are sometimes forgotten when applying sunscreen, such as the tops of the ears, the top of the head, the top of the feet, the hands, the neck and the tender décolletage.
The right hat can be a chic step in defending your skin from sun damage (I guess those farmers and cowboys didn’t just wear them for the look). The three most important factors to consider when selecting a hat for sun protection are brim size, materials, and construction.
Most physicians recommend a minimum brim of three inches as brims block direct UV that passes in a straight line from the sun to your face. The second key factor for UV protection is the material used to make the sun protection hat. The most protective sunscreen hats are constructed from materials that are rated UPF 50+. When considering a straw hat for protection keep in mind that the tighter the weave the more UV protection the hat provides. The third important factor in sun hat protection is construction, particularly the brim. Generally, brims that curve down and sit closer to your face will provide better protection against reflected UV.
Summer hat styles range from the simple cotton bucket hat to the trendy Panama styles seen everywhere these days to the wide-brim straw hats that are oh so glamorous. Whether you are headed out to the garden for work or play, to the shows at HITS-on-the-Hudson in Saugerties, a summertime wedding or for a stroll at a local farmer’s market, these three Hudson Valley milliners will have your family deflecting the sun in style.
715 Warren Street, Hudson, NY 12534
Hours: Thursday to Monday, 11 to 5pm
Behida Dolic Millinery is a little hat shop in Hudson where you’ll find the one-of-a-kind pieces inspired by “old films, hats, cars, furniture and art deco architecture” according to Behida Dolić. Ms. Dolic is amazingly talented. Born in a small village in northern Bosnia in 1982, Behida was raised by a community of crafters, kilim makers, furniture builders. It was here where her hands begin to learn the importance of craftsmanship and attention to detail. Her online Etsy shop is a preview of what is available in her Warren
Street shop. Follow her on Facebook and you›ll see what›s au courant at this Hudson Valley couture studio.
Carole Amper, Inc./Toucan Hats
At a busy studio in Uptown Kingston, milliner, Carole Amper makes terrific hats for women and children. Her designs are fun, sassy, romantic, and totally wearable. Her large-brim straw visors with an adjustable velcro closure at the back are ingenuous for balancing the need for sun protection and sporty up-dos.
Amper also has tasteful and fun wedding hats and fascinators or a fabulous church hat. She can customize any of her hats to match your special occasion ensemble. Call for an appointment. Carole Amper will be at the Woodstock-New Paltz Craft Fair at the New Paltz Fairground, Labor Day weekend, August 30, 31 and September 1.
Blue-Byrd›s Haberdashery & Music
320 Wall Street, Kingston, NY 12401
Hours: Tuesday – Saturday 11:30 – 5:30
This jazzy hat and music shop in Uptown Kingston offers a great selection of men›s hats and an interesting selection of hard to find jazz and blues recordings. It›s almost guaranteed that you will leave here looking sharp and feeling hip. This place helps to keep Kingston cool and unique.
So get on your country chic, stave off the sun damage, and go buy a locally made hat.