I am a modern-day Mad Hatter. It is my belief that everyone should have the perfect hat for every occasion. A haute hat exudes confidence and style. Moreover, it protects your skin from harmful rays and unattractive pigmentation. Recently, as I was sporting one of my favorite wide-brim sun hats on a beach vacation, a woman stopped me and inquired how I travel with so many fabulous hats without destroying them. Hat packing is its own art. While it would be überchic to travel with multiple hard-case hatboxes, it is unrealistic and totally inefficient.
First things first, I always discuss with the milliner how to pack the hat before I even make the purchase. For instance, when I purchased an Anne Moore Sunbrella hat, she explained the nine-inch brim (I know) was actually the flexible part and the head part was fragile. Hence, she advised stuffing the head part and always placing it right side up. The brim could actually fold for packing.
Also, there are travel-friendly hats like the supersoft raffia ones I purchased at Aerin Southampton and Gente Roma in Rome. These little gems can totally roll, fold, crumble into a ball—whatevs. They pop back to life upon arrival at my resort destination brilliantly. That said, my general rule with haute hat packing is as follows:
- Turn the hat upside down such that the inside of the head is facing upward.
- Use the hat as a practical packing aid and stuff the inside with other soft items rolled in tissue paper like socks, undergarments, exercise tanks, etc.
- Place the hat in the center of bag. Preferably, it should be packed in a deep suitcase as opposed to a shallow garment bag so the head part of the hat doesn’t collapse.
- Place other soft clothing items under the brim, going all the way around the head in order to support it. The goal is to keep the brim in place and not have it bend or wrinkle in the luggage during travel.
- As long as that brim is properly supported, we can now place other items on top of the hat, next to the hat, everywhere. That hat is protected. Go wild with the rest of your packing!