Princess Beatrice's wedding hat: This won't do.
Every now and then I find something I love to use in the parks. This post is about one of them.
Chances are if you spend much time in a Disney park during the warmer months, you'll need a good hat. Unfortunately, a good hat is harder to find than you might think. This is particularly true for women, the focus of this post--men can throw on a baseball cap and look just fine, but many women don't care for them. First, you want something flattering and you want something that you can toss into your luggage or even fold up into your handbag when you're not using it. After all, it's not a lot of fun to carry a big hat around when you're on a ride. Finally, you want something that is inexpensive, because if you lose it (and you just might), it can be easily replaced.
I don't have a "hat head," which is to say I'm not one of those people who put on a hat and is instantly transformed into someone more glamorous than they are, but one thing I've found is that almost any hat will get compliments. This is probably because, let's be honest, how often do you see a woman in a hat? Not that often. And that's too bad because a good hat can give you a lot of relief from the sun and look cute as well.
I'm really pale, so sunblock alone doesn't keep me from burning. I find that a hat helps tremendously and it also makes me feel cooler. It took a while before I found a hat that worked well for me in the parks, however. I learned pretty quickly that this style was just not going to happen:
I see a lot of people wearing these, and they work great, but I looked pretty ridiculous in it and while truthfully I probably don't care how I look on day three of 95-degree weather, I care enough on days one and two to pass.
I see a lot of big straw hats in the parks too:
This hat retails for $290. Seriously.
This was my first choice as they look great on almost anyone, but the downside to a straw hat is that they can't stand up to the abuse you're going to heap on them during a normal Disney park day: Sweat, sunblock, and water, to say the least of occasionally being sat on or otherwise crushed.
Sadly, because I don't have a hat head, this look doesn't work either:
Although it would be great, wouldn't it? Still, not very practical for the parks. Let's move on.
What I finally settled on was something a little in between: A durable hat with enough structure that it held its shape but was still easy to pack and care for, and just as importantly, was flattering on my non-hat head:
This hat by Scala is under $30 and you can find it at places like Amazon and even on Ebay. What I liked about this hat is that the brim was wide but not so wide that it got in everyone's way. I could also just throw it in the washer after a day or two and it came out fine. It has a drawstring that adjusts, so it fits most sizes, even my "big-headed friend," as she refers to herself. Plus, it comes in every color imaginable. I know this hat isn't the most fashionable hat, but I get tons of compliments every time I wear it, regardless of the color.
One last thing: Find your "good hat" before your trip. You can buy hats at Disney, just as you can sunglasses, and in recent years the selection has gotten really good, but you'll pay a lot more for it.