SHOPPER

Seeberger Millinery Draped Upsweep, $345, available at Proper Topper, Georgetown and Dupont Circle locations, or at propertopper.com.
Seeberger Millinery Draped Upsweep, $345, available at Proper Topper, Georgetown and Dupont Circle locations, or at propertopper.com. (Photo By Julia Ewan -- The Washington Post)
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Thursday, May 15, 2008

Let us face facts: The ozone layer is not going to magically replace itself. We all face the burn. Just because you come wrapped in rich dark chocolate doesn't mean that you are immune. And even the most potent sunscreen in the world wears off, sometimes at the most inconvenient of times. Like when you're stuck in a massive traffic jam. On the Beltway. In a convertible. With a broken top.

Which is to say, when all else fails, grab a hat. Preferably a fabulous one.

And this one is truly fabulous.

Architectural of shape, tricolor of brim, this chapeau, crafted by the German milliner Seeberger, is a mighty multi-tasker. And no, we're not just talking about its utilitarian qualities. Somehow, with its great, swooping lines, it manages to evoke images of Audrey Hepburn in "Breakfast at Tiffany's," old-school church ladies and denizens of the Kentucky Derby -- all at once. Hand-stitched of Milan straw and sinamay (from the abaca tree), it is at once garden-party pristine and avant-garde.

It's got edge and elegance, without trying too hard or veering dangerously into over-the-top Isabella Blow territory. Not that there's anything wrong with the whole eccentric English lady thing. But this is a hat that you wear, without it wearing you.

After all, attitude -- and a really fierce sun protector -- is everything.

-- Teresa Wiltz


© 2008 The Washington Post Company

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