Guide to Men's Hats

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Hats come in different shapes and sizes, and they can dress up an outfit or complement casual attire. Although hats are tucked away into the accessory category, the ideal hat brings balance to your face shape, provides protection from sun and rain and adds a signature touch to your outfit.

The Classic Fedora

A fedora has a wide brim that is typically snapped down in the front and slightly curled up in the back -- but you may choose to manipulate the brim in another fashion. A fedora's crown (the area that covers the top of the head) is creased lengthwise and is dimpled or pinched on the front sides. A fedora made of felt can be worn in the wintertime and for formal events, while a straw fedora is a lightweight and casual variation that keeps your head cool and your look hot in the summertime.

Other Brimmed Hats

The porkpie and the boater both feature a full brim -- the stiff surface of material that horizontally projects around the bottom of a hat. The brim of the porkpie curls slightly upward, and the hat is made of felt or straw and has a short, cylindrical crown with circular indentation at the top. The boater also features a cylindrical crown and is made of straw, but the top and brim are flat and rigid. Both hats are versatile and can be worn to accessorize formal outfits as well as casual clothing.

Caps with Bills

A bill -- also known as a visor or peak -- is a stiff surface of material that only projects from the front of the hat. Hats with rounded bills include the pageboy (or newsboy) cap and the baseball hat. Although the crowns of the two hat styles have paneled fabric topped with a button, the shapes of the crowns are different. The pageboy has a fuller, flatter crown that's rounder and wider in shape and requires no manual adjustments for fitting. In contrast, baseball hats are taller and fit snugly around the head. Although baseball caps are usually fastened in the back by a plastic, elastic, Velcro or leather adjuster, some baseball caps -- known as "flex-fit" or "fitted" -- have a one-size-fits-all style that requires no adjuster.

Knitted Hats

There are many other styles of men's hats, including types that do not include a stiff brim or bill. Among them is the beanie, a knit cap that offers warmth from cold-weather climate. Beanies are worn snugly over the head and they cover the ears. Beanies with long crowns can be folded approximately 1 to 1 1/2 inches at the bottom of the hat to produce a folded brim. Beanies that do not have a folded brim may be referred to as skull caps. Embellishments such as pom-poms and bobbles may be attached to a beanie for a fun look. Beanies with ear flaps protect the sides of the head from the elements.