July and August--does it get any hotter
than this? For most of us the answer is no. So in the fashion accessory
business we meet the heat with two high flying accessories that are not
only essential, but look really debonair in the hot summer months--hats and
sunglasses. Many accessories may slump in the heat, but these two are in
their peak season, so let's examine what is moving fastest.
Headwear that Gives Sun Protection with
After cowboy hats that we
will look at next, wide brims are the fastest selling category of hats. And
wide brims cover a wider spectrum of the market than any other headwear.
All the things for dress-up like teas, luncheons, outdoor weddings, and
derby day can use wide brim hats as well as the most causal of times like
going to the beach, festival, or vacation. Wide brim hats are big for
summer cruises, resort wear, or just bumming around close to home.
This season the super-wide brims continue in popularity, a trend introduced
by Ralph Lauren on the runways two years ago. Five to six inch brims are
most popular in super widebrims and the sassy flop these hats provide adds
instant personality to an outfit. Women would probably gravitate to this
look even if it didn't provide shade from the beating sun. It's the Audrey
Hepburn and Sophia Lauren look of the sixties.
Materials create different
looks to satisfy all the occasions wide brim hats serve. Those dressy
outdoor events look good in polypropylene widebrims that give the Milan
straw appearance. Especially popular are six inch brims with alternating
rows of horsehair and polypropylene that have just enough dip in the brim
to make the wearer feel like a sixties silver screen star.
Boutiques will want to include the quality look of raffia wide brims that
are ideal for cruises and resort wear. Five to six inch brims in natural
straw are always classy. Normally simple black grosgrain trim is all the
hat needs to look high fashion.
Then there is toyo widebrims
for women that like color. These can range from sophisticated combinations
suitable for any dressy event to floppy solid color for sassy look at the
beach or on vacation.
hats in your accessories because popularity is on a steady rise beneath
the radar and most retailers are overlooking the item. That is good for you
because what can be better for sales than high demand and low supply.
John B Stetson Invents an American Icon in
Headwear that Will Never End
At the end of the Civil War,
John B Stetson was going into the cowboy hat business with his famous
"Boss of the Plains" hat that went West for cattlemen, Texas
Rangers, and anyone that wanted the rugged look that became the trademark
of individualism. Little did he know that he pioneered an American icon
that would never die. Cowboy hats have modified over the years, but their
unflinching popularity makes them our most popular selling casual hat year
after year. In 2009, cowboy hats were about 50% of all casual hat sales and
in 2010, they are selling at an even higher rate.
The only area of the US where
hats are weak is the Northeast. The rest of the country can get a
strong boost in headwear sales by including these American classics. Summer
is the best season for cowboy hat sales. Country music is definitely
helping these hats that appeal to all ages. You will see them at festivals,
the beach, as outdoor work wear, on the farm, at country music dance
halls--where won't you see them?
What sells best? Not a lot of change here--distressed shapeable straws in a
pinch front shape. Nearly the same as last summer except elaborate beaded
bands are picking up in popularity. But don't limit your cowboy hat
selection to this style because every personality has their favorite and
cattlemen with a plain country look are also very good. Cowgirls especially
like color and special events like rodeos and horse shows call for fancier
hats. Start with variety and then you can concentrate on certain styles as
you see what kind of cowboy hats work best for your market.
Fedoras, Newsboys, and Ivy Caps
Headwear for the Younger Market
When the younger trade is not
wearing cowboy hats, they are looking at fedoras,
newsboys, and ivy caps. Especially fedoras are on a rage this summer with
sales much better than a year ago. Celebrities started the trend that is
catching on very well now. If younger clientele makes up a serious portion
of your customer base, this is important to you.
Most prefer the stingy brim fedoras that mature customers will associate
with Frank Sinatra and sports fans with Tom Landry or Bear Bryant. Today it
is more gals than guys wearing this unisex headwear. Photos in celebrity
magazines are constantly promoting these hats with every imaginable
star--Jessica Alba, Reese Witherspoon, Britney Spears, Cameron Diaz, Drew
Barrymore. But guys aren't left out with images of Zac Efron, Justin
Timberlake, Johnny Depp and more wearing fedoras.
This weighs huge on young shoppers that want to look like
their idols. Straw fedoras are especially important for summer and the
wider brim fifties style fedoras that Grandpa wore are back in a big way
for musicians and some stars.
Fedoras have definitely jumped to the lead in trendy hats for younger
trade, but don't count out newsboys and ivy caps because celebrities show how
to look cool in these hats as well. They grew in popularity first. Many
young customers have seen their friends wearing them and feel more
comfortable with this headwear.
These hats will continue through the fall so jump on the bandwagon if you
have a younger customer base.
Sunglasses-The Suave and Practical
Instant Personality with Accessories
Have you noticed how sunglasses
go way beyond eye protection today? Each person has to have a particular
style that spells out his or her personality. No match--no sunglasses. Yes,
fitting the personality outweighs the practical use in today's market.
Think about it! Those huge wrap-around sunglasses a person gets from the
eye doctor after cataract surgery--not cool. Looking like Paris Hilton,
Angelina Jolie, Tom Cruise, or P Diddy--very suave.
The message for us is have variety in sunglasses that matches the
personalities of our clientele. A customer base predominantly career women
will obviously call for a different style than the customers of a sporting
goods shop. But if your base includes both, then you need both in your
This season oversize continues, but not as dramatically large
as in past seasons. Anything on the wild side is risky in an economy that
is still fragile. So this summer error on the side of conservative. Plastic
frames continue to capture a bigger percentage of the market with tortoise
shell growing in importance, second only to black.
Aviators remain the top choice in men's sunglasses with many women also
choosing this look, imitating the glamorous look of stars like Jessica
Simpson. Both teardrop and square lenses are good here with each appealing
to different face shapes. Matching
face shapes to sunglass styles can be valuable help to your customers
and builds your image as a trusted supplier.
Finally, consider reading glasses in your eyewear selection. This is a
needed item with plenty of mark-up potential. Attractive designs in readers
are hard to find at reasonable prices. You can not only provide a must-have
item for your customers, but also make a handsome profit while still
looking very reasonably priced.
What generated most interest in our June
newsletter? Crystal bracelets followed by casual hats. Our next newsletter
will come in August and will give a preview of fashion jewelry trends for
fall as we gear up for the run towards the holidays.
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link to www.awnol.com
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