A woman looks up at her fancy UPF hat with a concerned expression.

Craving My Cousin's UPF Hat but Not the Price

A hat doesn’t do much good in a closet, or in the trunk of a car, but that’s where my two sun protection hats have lived.

One with a very broad brim (from Solbari) served me well on hot beach days, and another with a smaller, floppy brim and easily packable (from Columbia) worked well on a trip to Costa Rico. Both were made with sun protective fabric but were not anything that spoke to me. They felt goofy.

The best women's sun protection hat

Then, as in the story of the three little pigs, along came another hat that was just right. It had the same sun protection qualities as the others but was a stylish fedora. It fit on my head like it was meant for me. It was straw with a black band. Well actually, it’s a material that resembles straw so that it's not itchy. It had a UPF rating of 50 and “blocks 95% UVA/UVB rays.”

Woman in sun protection hat

The problem is that it was my cousin’s, and she had lent it to me to use during my four-day trip to California. Well, actually there were two problems. It was also expensive. I think it was $250 at the time that she got it. Now it is $275.

The hunt for the perfect hat

I took a photo of the inside to make sure I remembered the name – Eric Javitz “squishee classic” – and went back home to Massachusetts to see if I could find it on sale. It was a “one size” hat, which would have worried me if I hadn’t tried on my cousin’s, but I knew that it would fit me. By "squishee" they mean that it packs well. It isn’t that squishy, but that’s OK with me.

It seems like everyone is making UPF hats these days. I could have looked at some made by other companies. But I had my heart set on that one, though not at the price that my cousin had paid. She said that even at that price it was worth it to her, living in California, and I thought she had a point.

By the way, if you want to see some cute hats in a lower price range, you could check out this list from O, The Oprah Magazine. If you’re looking to protect the top of your head, obviously ignore the visors.

Protection against squamous cell

Getting a hat that I would wear was important because I had a squamous cell carcinoma on the top of my head. My dermatologist said, by the way, that you don’t really need a UPF hat, just as long as you cover your head. When I play tennis or run, I just wear a regular baseball cap. This hat would be for walking around - which I do a lot because I have a dog who walks me.

The perfect hat & proper protection on sale

I searched until I thought that I had found my treasure. It looked like the same hat but had a lime green band instead of a black one. I wasn’t sure if it was the same. I excitedly called my cousin. I showed her the photo. She compared her hat to it. It turns out that the same designer makes many different styles. So she wasn’t 100% sure it was the same hat. But I was convinced. I also liked the price: $125.

It must have been a discontinued color. I happened to like the color. My cousin said it was a nice spring hat. Now, granted that is expensive, but not as expensive as the original. And it would be worth it if I wore it.

When the hat came, I saw that it was indeed the same as my cousin’s. Some of my friends gave me grief about spending that much on a hat, but I noticed that they were spending quite a bit on clothing.

I felt good in it as soon as I put it on. I’ve been wearing it a lot. Most importantly, it protects the top of my head. Which hopefully means one less trip to the Mohs surgeon.

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