I love fall outfit research. There's substance to the layers: sweaters and blazers, pants with socks and loafers — fashion feels sturdy, purposeful, and more put-together than a sundress and sneakers.
Before I buy anything, though, I like to peruse September's street-style galleries, which help me reimagine what I already have in my closet (and usually save me from impulse shopping). Recently, leafing through the candid shots from Fashion Month, I noticed a standout accessory that falls squarely in the category of already-have-in-my-closet: So many people, from New York City to Paris and Milan, were wearing some variation on the classic baseball hat.
When I mentioned this to celebrity hairstylist Justine Marjan, she said the look is everywhere in L.A., too. "I feel like there's a '70s thing happening in fall fashion, and we're seeing that a little bit in hair," Marjan explains. "A baseball cap is cool because there are so many ways to wear it. You can wear your hair down, or I really love when it's styled with a low ponytail. Also, it's a great way to protect your hair from sun damage." (A hat protects your face, too.)
NYC-based hairstylist Erickson Arrunategui says he actually uses a baseball cap as a kind of incidental styling tool: When his hair is freshly washed or "too poofy," he'll throw on a cap to help soften his curls. "I used to never wear baseball hats," he says, "but now they're everywhere in New York and it feels cool and trendy. I've come to actually like the way my curls look with a hat."
The key is in the styling method and finding the right hat for your hair. Grace Eleyae makes a baseball cap lined with silk, specifically designed to protect natural hair. When I mentioned the silk-lined hat to Marjan, she called the concept brilliant. "Silk lining will protect the hair if it's fragile," she says, but adds that not everyone needs it. "Really, wearing a regular hat won't damage your hair. Don't wear one every day, because it could potentially damage your hair follicles over time, but as a once-in-a-while accessory, you're fine."
For my part, I have a collection of ten old baseball hats, so I'm going to start there. But if I find a new one — or even better, something vintage off The RealReal — I'm going to consider it a good investment for fall.
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