Last updated: May 22, 2009
summer-hat-women
My friends know I don't leave my beach house without three essentials: sunscreen, an umbrella, and a great hat. I've been fighting the wrinkle war ever since an old boss with leathery skin convinced me that sun protection was the way to go if I wanted to maintain my smooth skin. And since I spend almost every weekend at the beach during the summer, finding a just-right beach hat is always a top priority. So I'm excited to share my great find for summer '09: The Sage hat by Australian designer Helen Kaminski ($195; villagehatshop.com).


Dermatologists will tell you to look for a tight weave with a wide brim, which makes my summer pick a perfect fit: It's made of raffia that's hand-braided into long rows called tresses, which are then sewn together into tight rows. Plus it has a broad brim—at 5 1/8 inches wide, I can see my dermatologist smiling now.

Kaminski's hats are simply gorgeous—she finds inspiration for her collection from the natural beauty of Australia's beaches. I first discovered her line while visiting St. Barth's a few years ago. An incredibly stylish woman in an all-white one piece was wearing one of her hats by the pool at our hotel. At the end of each day, she would roll up her hat and put it into her bag. Not only was it fantastic-looking, but the fact that it was so easily crushable had me sold. I can't be bothered with delicate hats that are in poor shape by the Fourth of July.

The hats are not cheap—but they are worth the investment