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Despite a lifelong love of fashion, it wasn't until a year or so ago that I realized something: I'd been holding back. While I had no issues with subtle statements such as bright colors and puff-sleeves, there were some super cute items I'd been nervous about pulling off — and I was especially wary of wearing hats (at least ones you keep on indoors).
However, after reflecting on my favorite celebrity outfits, I noticed this accessory aways ended up being a key component. There was Elle Fanning's glam Dior look from 2019's Venice Film Festival (a wide-brim), and it's possible I think about Amal Clooney's post-wedding look at least once a week (so floppy!). Jennifer Lopez loves hats. Diane Keaton is famous for her collection. And, no matter the style, from fedoras to berets, hats always manage to turn basic jeans and tees into something truly special.
As someone who's constantly on the lookout for an easy fashion formula, adding a hat felt like a trick worth trying, and pretty soon, I couldn't stop. Every outfit just looked better with a hat. Even this past summer, I wore a bunch of happy, floppy options with shorts and sundresses, and fall's cooler weather will likely provide plenty of opportunity for beanies and caps.
If you're still a little unsure how to incorporate a hat into your look, there are plenty of tricks you can try to get you started. Ahead, see how style icons pair this piece with every type of cold-weather outfit, from suits to skirts.
With a Suit
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Janelle Monáe took a structured three-piece suit and made it playful with a wide-brim black hat (Shop Similar: $33; sandiegohat.com).
With a Pair of Jeans
While Diane Keaton loved wider cuts of denim, her hat would look great with skinnies or overalls, too.
As a Pop of Color
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Kristen Bell's neutral outfit received a splash of purple thanks to her trusty beanie (Shop Similar: $28; freepeople.com).
A Cool and Casual Combo
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A must-have for a casual, off-duty outfit? A classic baseball cap, like Kaia Gerber's blue option (Shop Similar: $24; urbanoutfitters.com).
To Complete a Monochrome Outfit
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Mary J. Blige's went with a beige color scheme while sitting courtside, adding a hat that matched her sweater and boots.
With a Matchy-Matchy Look
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Speaking of matching, dare yourself to pull a Cardi B. and stick to a single print from head-to-toe.
To Complete the Look
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Much like a headband or a scarf, J.Lo's beret (Shop Similar: $210; net-a-porter.com) provided the little something extra her outfit would have been missing.
Give Off a Nostalgic Feel
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Sometimes, a hat can give your look a retro twist. While Zendaya gave off a '70s vibe in this cap, a large brim or even a pillbox style will give your outfit an elegant, old Hollywood feel.
To Provide Balance
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If you're wearing comfy clothes or oversized pieces, adding accessories will make your look feel slightly elevated. Take a tip from Iman and color coordinate a fedora with your outfit to give it a boost.
As a True Statement Piece
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If you really want to have fun and stand out, skip over the neutrals and more classic hats in favor of something colorful, like Rihanna's fuzzy bucket hat (Shop Similar: $23; asos.com).
With a Leather Jacket
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Try a print like Bella Hadid's plaid option (Shop Similar: $245; shopbop.com) to spice up an outfit full of simple staples.