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Why Hats Are Hot Now

Thanks to celebrities like Jennifer Lopez, Nicole Kidman and Cameron Diaz, hats are back with a vengeance this spring.

Allure magazine Editor-In-Chief Linda Wells says the important thing for women to know is that the hot hats of this season are not the proper, prissy Easter bonnet-esque toppers of yesteryear; rather, they're takes on old classics with an edge. From straw hats to crushers, there's a hat to fit nearly any personality or occasion.

Wells says that hat wearers "should not take themselves too seriously. Wear these hats with your own personal style. Mix a dressy hat with jeans, a cowboy hat with a bikini. Don't wait to wear hat as part of a head-to-toe costume."

She visits The Early Show on Thursday to show six of the hottest hats right now.

Kokin Sun Hat, $178
Ladies who know their milliners have turned to internationally acclaimed hat maker Kokin for years. He's a favorite of well-topped ladies at the Kentucky Derby, the hat event of the year. This sun hat screams spring 2004 with its retro Pucci-type print (very chic this year) in bright, beautiful colors. It gives a sense of the isle of Capri, says Wells, almost an island-hopping feel. The huge brim and thick fabric give maximum sun protection - something that everyone must think of in the spring and summer months.

J. Crew Straw Hat, $28
Wells says, "We saw something like this on the Prada runway for the spring. It has a '50s feel to it." Everything old is new again, and the styles of the '50s are retro chic this spring. "It's a take on a masculine hat, but appealing in the same kind of way as a woman wearing a man's shirt. The rough edges and grosgrain ribbon give this more style than your regular straw hat," she says, "and you can take it to the beach and crush it in your bag."

There's one downside: straw hats are airy, which is good for keeping cool, but not great for sun protection.

Kangol Rain Hat, $70
"This hat is very Cameron Diaz when you wear it on a tilt and turn up the brim," says Wells. "There is a sexiness to it, yet it's still incredibly functional. It's great with a trench in the rain, or it can protect your face from the sun - it's a true multipurpose hat."

J. Crew Straw Cowboy Hat, $28
Apparently, the cowboy hat isn't totally out - at least, not when it's made of straw. "This is great for wearing at the beach with a bikini or with jeans," says Wells, "and it's also great with braids." This is definitely more of a laid-back summery hat; Wells says part of its charm is that it looks better with lots of wear. "It's really easy to pack," she says, "just throw it in a bag and go. The more you wreck it, the better it looks."

Old Navy Flower Crusher, $9.50
The equivalent of a '60s surfer hat, this is the modern version of a baseball cap. "Leave the baseball caps to A-Rod and the boys," Wells advises, "this is a way to be covered, comfortable and feminine." She reminds us that floral prints are very popular this spring, and this hat is a great way to get our recommended daily dose of floral into our wardrobe. "Wear this as your only floral piece if you don't want loud floral print clothes," she says, "or wear it with a mix-jumble of other un-matching floral prints for a funky, fun look."

Club Monaco Newsboy, $19
This spring, there's one trend from recent fashion history that continues to stick around: denim. "Denim continues to be hugely popular," says Wells, "it's season-less." The Club Monaco Newsboy incorporates one of the hottest hat shapes around (for the newsboy, think 1920s apple cart salesman with a heavily modernized flare) with the denim trend. "This hat has a big brim," says Wells, "and it's more urban than the other hats here. It's a huge hit with celebrities - we've seen it on stars like J. Lo, Britney Spears, Alicia Keys, Demi Moore, Christina Aguilera. It's a classic shape with a funky edge that lots of people love."