Men, shelve your wax and gel. Ladies, ditch those barrettes and headbands.

There’s a new tête-topper in town, and without one, your spring style may read like an unfinished statement.

All right, so the hat isn’t exactly anything new. Edie Orenstein knows that well. She’s the eponymous creator of Vancouver store Edie’s Hats. Over the course of the boutique’s 25-year history, she’s noticed that, while many people often admire hats, they say they’d never wear one.

“Who made up this rule?” asks Orenstein, with a laugh. She says hats are about giving permission to express oneself, likening the body and its fashion accessories to a sentence’s nuts and bolts.

“A hat on top of the head is like a punctuation mark on the end of a sentence. When people leave their heads naked, they’re not finishing the end of what they’re saying. It’s a lack of confidence about what they’re saying.”

For women wondering how to punctuate their look, Orenstein suggests the classic school girl hat. “It’s a round shape that you wear close around the head and has a little peak on it,” she says, pointing out the profusion of different fabrics and trimmings the hat can consist of. “It’s a cool little cap that pretty well everybody that wears hats has two or three of.”

To tailor a more romantic look, circa 1920s, Orenstein recommends a cloche. Named for its shape, the hat is named after the French word for “bell.”

“The cloche is probably one of the most popular shapes for women, bar none,” Orenstein says. Cloches are made from an assortment of materials like cloth, felt, silk, leather, cotton or linen, offering a different feel depending on the fabric.

But the most popular icon in hats today, says Orenstein, is the fedora. “The fedora is this amazing creature that is everywhere, all over the world.”

It’s all over Aldo stores in Canada and the fashion franchise’s public relations co-ordinator Michael Pilling encourages the style for men looking to contribute a hat to their closet.

“Fedoras are key!” says Pilling. “The fedora adds a stylish retro spin to any man’s outfit.” And considering the many shapes, colours and styles available, he says a fedora can fit anyone’s personal style. “The fedora is a truly versatile hat — casual or chic. This season it’s all in the way you wear it: on the back of your head, to the side, or right on top.”

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