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Fashion by Felicia: Fedoras

Felicia Caponigri | Friday, November 5, 2010

I have never been much of an outdoor enthusiast. Indeed I am proud to consider myself  “a hot chocolate skier” (I enjoy the beauty of watching other people ski whilst comfortable on a window seat in the near vicinity of a hot fireplace with a large mug of hot chocolate).  However, while many may attempt to scale my “indoor girl” castle walls, I surrender only to one proposal — the picnic.

The picnic promises an afternoon of delightful cheeses spread on various exotic breads, compact cured meats, various delightful deserts and, if one is in Europe, a bottle of refined wine. No study abroad experience is complete without dining al fresco whilst staring with utter longing at the architectural feats of the movers and shakers of yesteryear.

I myself recall a particular merging of my American need for Starbucks with the magic of the Eiffel Tower one sunny afternoon on the Champs de Mars. A charming group of older French gentlemen playing a game of bocce became quite interested in the tray of lattes I was intent on delivering to my friends on the other side of the lawn. Needless to say, my friends and I soon gave into their persuasive entreaties to join them in their time-honored game, resulting in an unforgettable, magical day in Paris.  

When I first returned to campus after my jaunt abroad, I was immediately struck by how similar the quads of Notre Dame are to the Haussmannian planned Champs of the city of Paris. Indeed our own Golden Dome is perilously identical to the golden dome of Invalides, and our wide never-ending sidewalks must have been planned by someone who adventured on similar avenues leading to the Arc de Triomphe! I admit our large expanses of grass interspersed with colorful fall foliage have called to me. They have compelled me to stage various Parisian picnics on their premises, none of which would be complete without the presence of the one and only bohemian fedora.

The bohemian fedora answers a variety of practical challenges inherent to the outdoor experience — how do I shield myself from the sun, the autumn wind, prying gazes that would disrupt my sinful enjoyment of a certain Brie? With its large brim and chic grosgrain ribbon, the fedora has evolved from a staple of Rat Pack style to an essential component of any fall wardrobe. A fedora can be paired with jeans and a comfy sweater, or it can also give a dramatic, mysterious aura to a more formal outfit such as a suit.

To avoid the “hiding from paparazzi look” leave the sunglasses at home when donning this hat and bend the brim down slightly to frame your eyes. While the best place to wear this accessory is lounging on the quad, it can also add style to your walks between classes. Of course, you’ll want to remove it indoors. In order to avoid a disheveled look when removing the fedora upon classroom entrance, simply pin your hair into a loose bun underneath the hat.  There is nothing that projects a chic, n’importe quoi European enjoyment of life like a gaze from underneath one of these hats, and Forever 21 can help you get the look for a cool $14.80. Now all that’s left to do is pass that Brie!

The views expressed in this Column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.

Contact Felicia Caponigri at fcaponig@nd.edu@nd.edu