Itís getting painfully close to Fall. Well, I suppose that itís only painful if you lament the passing of summer. But to be honest, Fall is a great time to add details and layers to your clothing. You get to explore nuance and trends on multiple levels and really make the most of your wardrobe.

One of the standards, certainly in the past five years, is topping off the outfit with a stylish and/or functional hat. Part of the reason this particular article has enjoyed such longevity is that it transcends its aesthetic and often offers various facets of function.

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Naturally, when choosing a hat, fit is paramount. The great thing about size, is that it is easy to find out. Any hat store, from a independent boutique in the Village to a national chain, will have the means to measure your head. This is a great starting point, but it is also important to remember that different hats are meant to sit differently on your head. So even if the hat says that it is 7 1/8, try it on and check it out in the mirror. Let it sit for a while to see if the cut of the circumference will leave a line indented in your brow, or if it then sits too low over your eyes. Be sure to try and get a good understanding of how the hat is supposed to fit from either the shop staff, or simple internet research. Certain hats like the Derby or Bowler, are best if balanced right about an inch above the ear and, depending on the construction, they will not stretch as much as a wool Driving Cap or Newsboy style. Since a hard dome styled hat can fetch a higher price tag, it is definitely best to try on iconic or statement styles prior to purchase to make sure that it will fit you both in fashion and in comfort.

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Once you find a hat that you enjoy, branch out and try different materials. The right hat can add a great finishing touch, balancing out a punctuating shoe style or a splash of color in your tie or belt.

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(Photo credits: Kooreng.com, Soletopia.com, and Refinedguy.com)

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