Summer Essential #4: Floppy Sun Hat

Three years ago, before our honeymoon, Alex gave me a giant sun hat. He insisted that I wear it at the beach to shield my (very) pale skin. Every summer since then, I’ve worn my trusty hat everywhere: at the water, on boats, on hikes and just hanging out with friends outside. Not only does it protect your face from the sun (which is SO important), it also feels glamorous and feminine.

If you want to go for a plain straw hat, like Brigitte Bardot or the gorgeous lady above, you can find lovely ones here, here and here. Here are six more pretty hats…

1. Orange-tipped hat, 2. Yellow striped hat, 3. Floral hat, 4. Blue hat, 5. Red hat, 6. Fedora.

This is my hat. What I love about this particular hat is that it’s big and floppy but also structured, so you can shape it however you’d like when you put it on. (Alex chose well! And my sister now has one, too.)

Do you have a floppy summer hat? Which of these would you choose?

(Round-up layout by Alyson/Unruly Things for Cup of Jo. Top photo of Pina Bausch by Walter Vogel)

  1. I’m sure you will provide the more awesome blogs like these blogs that I’ve enjoyed a lot. hats

  2. I love your collections. I am getting myself ready for summer too and this time I will be having so much fun under the sun, thanks to the hats!

  3. good and kindly post,welcome to out good quality but cheap price Coach Factory Outlet website.

  4. These hats are EVERYWHERE this summer. I’m definitely going to have to find one in my style :) Great collection, and cute picture!

  5. My mom brought me one from Brazil this year! I always wear tomboy-ish caps, so this hat will hopefully give me a bit of glamour :)

  6. I have the same black and white striped hat! Isn’t it swell!! Perfect for traveling too.

  7. I need to get a big floppy hat! I know it’s good to shield your face from the sun and they’re super cute.

  8. I’m getting married in Mexico and feel like a floppy hat is an essential part of what I need to pack! Great finds!! Cheers!

  9. The hat in that last picture is absolutely perfect. I have a few that I’m just waiting to pull out for my gardening and going to the beach. Hopefully it’ll become more of a common thing for people to wear.

  10. this might be an odd question, but how do you pack a big hat like that in a suitcase!?!

  11. I have the very same hat and LOVE it! I purchased a second wide rimmed hat (straw) and it did wonders on my husband’s family reunion cruise!

  12. Elise says...

    Since I now work an outside job, I have discovered the necessity of large hats since I have very very pale skin! And it does make me feel glamorous!

  13. Anonymous says...

    I have one big brown hat, and I LOVE it! I feel gorgeous whenever I wear it… It has been to Aruba, Curacao, Bonaire, Panama, Cartagena, Margarita… With me! I must have a thousand pictures where I am wearing it!!!! I will get a navy blue one soon…!!!!

  14. Love it! I have several in all different shapes and sizes… I kind of can’t resist them when I see them, especially if they’re priced right. They are the perfect summer accessory that looks amazing with a number of outfits and never goes out of style.

  15. These hats are very chic :) I love them for a summer :)

  16. I love them and need them as also very fair, but I look so silly!

  17. Joanna, oh my goodness that is the cutest picture of you and Toby. Ha! Love it :) And your hat is adorable, too!

  18. i love love love the photo of toby sleeping on your belly.
    i love a nice big hat on the beach but always feel like i’m trying to hold it on from the wind ;)

  19. Big floppy straw hats look so glamourous… only not on me (big curly hair). You look gorgeous!

  20. I have always been afraid to wear the big floppy hats. I absolutely adore them on others but I usually stick to my trusty fedora. Maybe I will be brave and buy myself one this summer :)

  21. Anonymous says...

    I have been wearing the hats of Maya Neumann for years. The come in gorgeous colours. They can be shaped easily. They fit so well that you can wear them in a strong wind. The breath so that your head does not get hot. They fade into even more beautiful colours. They are made from water hyacinths which is a horrible weed. This is where you can buy them

    I currently have 7. I’m always buying them for friends.

    I’m Marieta.

  22. I love my plain summer floppy hat – it was inexpensive and likely won’t last long, but it allows me to change the hat with the seasons and the outfits. You can never have to many accessories for the summer!

    – KW from ladiesinnavy

  23. Great post, so many gorgeous hats. I love hats, both summer and winter, and own so many. For summer I have a big straw floppy hat, a medium straw floppy hat, a straw fedora, two cute caps (one floral, one striped), a linen cloche, and I do wear them all! Next I want to get a cowboy hat. For winter I have navy and tan wool felt floppy hats and would like to expand on that collection with a few other styles.

  24. i’m in need a giant sun hat for summer! thanks for sharing those links!
    great little day

  25. Anonymous says...

    This hat is so chic!

  26. I have your exact same hat! San Diego Hat Co is the best!!! All the girls on Maui, where I’m from wear them. We love them!!!

  27. i just bought a floppy/fedora fusion type hat and I can’t wait to wear it on these sunny nyc days :)

  28. i l-l-l-love that striped white and yellow hat! my husband got me a floppy hat for my birthday last year. ;)

  29. sunhats are my signature. i have a nice linen GIGANTIC purple hat- derby style; but i also have an everyday foldable grey & off-white stripe floppy hat. it just covers my shoulders and i can read standing in the pool and be covered completely! it’s amazing. i’ll never go without. my skin looks pretty darn good due to those bad boys…she said so humbly.

  30. I bought a big floppy straw hat at Target earlier this year that I fold up and take with me anytime I am by the beach or a pool.

  31. Miss Becca says...

    Love the post – I have wearing hats for years too, as my husband’s racing schedule keeps me in sunny places all the time. Since wind is a problem at most race tracks I have been rocking the cowboy hat, and have worn out two of them – so this time I changed it up and got myself a Pith Helmet. It’s somewhat unusual, but I really love it! More shade for my face than the cowboy hat, and cooler too. I got my current one on Amazon for less than $30 and it is AWESOME!

  32. I love summer hats and really like the ones you have posted! #6 has to be my favorite!

  33. *a says...

    Does anyone have any scecret tips for the care of big floppy hats? I try to pack mine so they don’t get too crushed en route & they usually survive the flight ok but by the end of a week long vacation, they usually are too floppy & sad looking so I just leave my hats behind. Is it about care or buying better quality hats? I’ve been getting mine from target, so pretty affordable but it’s just so wasteful to get a new hat for every trip!

  34. Your hat is fabulous. I’m not very good with big floppy hats, keep walking into things!

  35. Alex says...

    But what about the sun hat for dudes? It’s a big issue. I personally would love to walk around NYC this summer in a straw cowboy hat, but Joanna says no way.:)

  36. 6 is fantastic. and of course, anthropologie!

  37. I got a floppy white one at the master’s a couple years ago and wear that often. Also have a straw fedora I love.
    I’ve always thought that floppy style looked good on me, but as a teenager I thought I was too young to go around wearing big floppy hats. Now I think I’m grown up enough for them! (I similarly remember thinking I was too young to wear my hair with the big poufy side part in the early 90s and was sure I’d pull the look off when I was 12…didn’t realize it’d go out of style by then lol)

  38. I have a floppy straw hat with a thin gold leather band around it I bought years ago at J.Crew. I also have a Mens straw fedora from Gap which I tend to wear almost daily. Love the way these hats are both practical and flattering!

  39. I loooove the look of hats, but it just gets sooooooooooo hot in them, at least here in Texas. I’m talking, boiling.

  40. Yes! During the summer I don’t go anywhere without my hat. I have a perfect zara hat I wear but it’s getting a little misshaped and frazzled from being tossed around from bag to head so much. I’ll be getting a new one soon so thanks much for this hat guide!

  41. oh, I do, and I love it! It’s a lot like #2, but black and white.

    I am olive-skinned so I don’t burn easily, but I still love my floppy hat. It goes great with the maxi dresses and flat sandals that are more or less my summer uniform ;-)

  42. Emily E. says...

    Joanna, can you please recommend a sunhat for someone with an absurdly large head? I have had the most terrible time trying to find one that will fit me. I’d appreciate any tips or suggestions!

  43. Joanna,
    What is the fit like on the San Diego hats? I have a very large head. (Seriously, I always buy size L/XL in my J. Crew/Banana Republic Hats when available.)


  44. Sarah says...

    I love big hats! I wear my straw hat everywhere outside from spring to fall. I’d love to add the navy JCrew hat in your collage to my hat wardrobe!

  45. I’ve been dying to get one for our family vacation to Florida in a couple of months. Some of my family members think they look funny, but they seem to practical and glamorous!

  46. I have your exact hat, but in blue! My husband and I took our moms to the beach for a picnic and we both regretted leaving our hats behind. It’s hat weather already!

  47. I would love to have the yellow stripe hat or the silk scarf fedora! They are gorgeous!

    I always buy hats or other fancy accesories… but I never wear them!

  48. I wish! I have a giant head :( No really, we’re talking no helmets in my size – I’m told the plastic would crack!


  49. i went to Vegas for my 30th bday and the sun was brutal on our roof-top pool. We ran to Urban Outfitters and i tried on all of the hats. every one. I ended up getting a straw fedora that was perfect. It kept my face out of the sun, but no weird tan lines on my chest and neck

  50. Yes!! I’ve always been a bit obsessed with sunhats…these are all perfect!

  51. Love these! I need more hats!

  52. oh! I so wish I could pull of this very summerish and romantic hat style. Maybe that fedora might actually work on me!

  53. I’m not a hat person, but I am seriously tempted by the red one.

  54. I love love love big hats-the bigger the better!! These images are gorgeous!

    Chelsea (

  55. I bought one in Paris and I love it.

  56. Hey Joanna!

    Great post, I always seem to drag my feet when it comes to actually attaining the perfect sun hat and then poof it’s August. But I got a jump start this year and worked with Dory over at Wothygoods on etsy- to make a neutral linen hat for me!

    It’s awesome! super huge, and the gray linen goes with everything- with the subdued to the floral vibrant summer prints. She lined the interior with a slightly golden linen, which makes it reversible and gives you a funky option!

    here’s the link to the sold one:

    I’m sure anyone could ask her to set up a listing for them! She also has them available in bold prints too.


    aka @GrayDayShop

  57. I just bought one this year, and I live in Utah. My husband gave me lots of grief about it, until I wore it to work out in our yard. Then he was jealous of me.

    They’re the best sun protection!

  58. Un chapeau c’est trop beau! After your post I think I m going to get one!

  59. My stylish coworker encouraged me to buy a sun hat last year, and after some back-and-forth of convincing me it did look good (and not weird on my head as I insisted) I ended up really liking it.

    I’d love to pull of the fedora look, but for whatever reason I feel like those look better on dark hair. What color hats (specifically fedora style) do you think look best on blond hair? Or am I being silly to make the distinction?

  60. P.S. Are those straw cowboy hats out of style now? I always thought those were a nice, beachy look.

  61. I like the floppy red hat. But I am a friend to all hats.

  62. Interesting and timely blog post as the weather heats up! As a very fair skinned girl myself, hats are a sun essential-but it’s only recently that they became slightly more chic to wear! As much as I love the look of boaters and fedoras, I need something with a major brim to really provide shade. Love your own pick Joanna! Pale skin girls unite!

  63. Oh my, I really need a big floppy hat! Just need to get one!

  64. This year I invested in an Eric Javits hat (the Squishee IV) from Nordstrom and I love it. Worth every penny.

  65. Katya says...

    Was with you up until you mentioned Bardot — she is a hateful racist, I’m disappointed that you would hold her up as a style icon!

  66. I have a big yellow floppy hat but I also wear a cowboy hat to the beach sometimes…I love them both!

  67. I have a fedora from the Gap! Just packed it in my suitcase and plan to wear it by the pool and at the beach this summer!

  68. just came back from aruba two weeks ago, and it was my first time wearing a floppy hat. i rocked that thing over there, and i wasn’t the only one! i can’t wait to use it at the pool or beach this summer!

  69. I never really used to be in to hats, but after Coachella and the fear of sun damage as I get older, I LOVE them. The more colorful the better. I feel so retro-chic.

  70. My favorites are raffia straw hats. So cozy and they form to your head:)
    Helen Kaminski has THE best summer raffia hats.


  71. Ah! I use retin-a (shown to cause skin cancer if exposed to sun!) and I love this guide…my girlfriends make fun of me mercilessly for wearing my UCLA cap ad nauseum. One question though: I have a large (man-sized) head…and suggestions on who might carry extra large hats?

  72. i should wear one..but don’t my friend just bought an amazing Tilly hat-I think they look great!

  73. Joanna Goddard says...

    ellie, that’s a cool idea :)

  74. oh these are great! brigitte is one of my style icons and she is rockin’ hers!

  75. i have one just like your back and white one, but i haven’t worn it yet! i’m so bad about buying a hat and never wearing it. argh.

  76. I have a ton of hats! I get one every time I go on vacation as my souvenir! I love them!