Summer Trend Alert: Wide-Brim Hats

Wide-brim hats have always been a staple of summer wardrobes. From rugged safari hats to the stunning hats found at the Kentucky derby, the signature look of the enlarged brim can be found in all sorts of settings. This includes Buckingham Palace in England, where media darling Kate Middleton has been sparking fashion trend after fashion trend with her wardrobe, including her famously publicized hats. And she isn't alone; no less than Marc Jacobs featured a wide variety of the hats in his shows earlier this year.

 "We see two major reasons for the surge in wide-brim hat sales," says David Goldman, president of Philadelphia Rapid Transit. "One is the dramatic fashion and style impression that the wide-brim provides to the wearer. When a woman enters the room with a classy, large, wide-brim hat she is announcing herself. The second reason is the functionality of sun protection. We are all hearing, reading and being instructed by our doctors to be careful of the sun's harmful rays on our skin."

 Where can you find a wide-brim hat that fits in the promotional marketing world? Look to the straw hat, with a floppy brim and colorful headband perfect for decorating. The trendy straw material is definitely in this summer, and the wide brim protects the head and face from the sun for the perfect mix of fashion and function. Hats, like these, can be used for any event that is outside ranging from a summer corporate party to tour group giveaway. "All our divisions are seeing an increase in wide-brim hats," Goldman says. "The uniform group is receiving a lot of calls for workers who spend their day in the sun; the promotional products group is selling a lot of wide-brim hats for golf events and outdoor meetings. We recently produced a large custom order of wide-brim straw hats for a client who is sponsoring a beach and cruise event."

 And while a wide, floppy-brim hat will certainly work, other types of headwear also capture the trend – including fedoras, cowboy hats, Panama jack hats and more. No matter the hat, tap into the wide-brim trend with women and you'll have the latest craze covered.