Frugi takes the Australian Sunhat Challenge

Product Review by Natasha R – Frugi Customer & Crusader

Girls Reversible Sunhat & Boys Explorer Sunhat

Australia is the country of sun and freckles, beaches and skin cancer. It is a country where every school has a “no hat, no play” rule and every school bag has at least one scrunched up hat in the bottom of it. That hole in the ozone layer? It’s on top of us. Here, a good children’s hat is not just a fashion accessory – it is also a health issue.

So, I was very excited to finally discover Frugi’s  sunhats: made from organic cotton and ethically produced. This season “down under” my kids have tried two of them: The explorer sunhat on my nearly 5 yr old boy, and the gorgeous reversible hat on my not quite 3 yr old girl.
From the moment I opened the bags (made from biodegradable and compostable plastic) and removed the little fabric tag telling me the size and composition of the hat (100% organic cotton) that was thoughtfully attached only by a little bit of sticky something so you can take it off to avoid scratching; I could tell that a lot of thought had gone into the making of these hats. But were they tough enough to pass the Australian sunhat challenge? Here goes:

Challenge #1: A wide enough brim

Before I mention the lovely way in which the hat frames my child’s face, or completes their outfit, or anything else I need to know that the sunhat will do what it is supposed to do, namely, keep the sun off the face. The girl’s reversible hat has a wide brim going all the way around and sits quite low on the forehead so does this very well. The ears are completely out of the sun, as is the back of the neck. Eyes are completely protected (think cataracts from sun damage here) and the brim is not so wide as to flop down over her eyes (if this happens a hat is finished in our house, as no amount of folding up the brim will convince my daughter to ever wear it again).
The boys’ explorer hat also has a brim all around so offers more protection than a cap ever would but the brim is quite a bit smaller than on the girls hat. My little boy’s ears were protected from the sun as were his eyes and some of the back of his neck. The brim could be a little wider, but this is a personal preference as too wide and it will look “girly”. I probably err on the side of caution rather than fashion and would have liked a slightly wider brim.

Challenge # 2: Is the hat comfortable?

Both hats did excellently here. They have a removable tag so that they are not scratchy. The explorer hat is lined with lovely soft cotton and the girls reversible hat has a soft pink cotton inner and when worn the other way around the thicker greenish outer material didn’t cause any problems either.

Challenge #3: Is the hat durable?

The happy answer to this is yes, yes, yes. These hats can be rolled up in a handbag or backpack and still come out looking fine – they have a quite thick woven cotton outer material that helps them keep their shape. After a wash ironing is not necessary either, as long as you pull them flat before drying.

Challenge #4: Will the hat stay on?

These hats do not have a strap or toggle or anything that passes under the neck to keep them on. This is a very contentious issue in Australia  – to toggle or not to toggle? My chlidren’s pre-school teacher goes around cutting long straps off children’s hats as she worries about them getting snagged on tree branches etc. and any choking dangers they may pose. Other people love them and swear they are the only way to keep a hat on their child.

Despite the lack of a strap, both hats do quite well on this test. They are quite deep  (i.e. the bit you put over the head is quite long) so the hat sits reasonably low on the forehead (but doesn’t cover the eyes) and this means they won’t blow off at the first gust of wind. They would hold up quite well in a light breeze (but not a serious wind), or when a child was running. However, I think that the good, inventive folk at Frugi could probably come up with some sort of short Velcro fastening chin strap for next season (and maybe a removable one for those of you that don’t want to toggle? ) – just to give the hat a bit more stability in all weather conditions.

The Rest:

I really liked the colours of these hats. The girls reversible hat is a quite neutral very pale green dewy colour in a thick canvas on the outside. The brim has a cream, pink and pale blue piping sewn around it that looks quite pretty on without being overdone. It is a good serviceable colour in strong material that could be worn with a variety of outfits. The inside is a quite unusual and lovely shade of dusty pink – a perfect choice for little girls as, let’s face it, they always have a fair bit of pink in the wardrobe to match. You could probably throw it on with most outfits without having to think too much. You could certainly team it with the girls explorer bootcuts in this season’s Frugi catalogue that are made from the same material. The Song Bird Gypsy skirt is also made to match and has the same coloured piping on the hem. Reversed, with pink on the outside there are even more options and it would make a great outfit with Frugi’s leapfrogger romper, summer shrug cardigan or Romany stripe top. If you’re buying it for a little one it would match any of the baby bodies in the songbird 3 pack. I really like the idea of this reversible hat with two other well-chosen pieces from the Frugi collection giving the impression of two entirely different complete “outfits”.
The boy’s hat is a neutral green that would match a lot of clothes too. It is a perfect match for the explorer zip-offs in this seasons Frugi catalogue and I always find it quite easy to buy pants and a hat that match then just rotate different T-shirts in between. Your child comes away looking co-ordinated, but not trying too hard to match. Although it would also make a great gift pair with the cute dino Tee.

A Note on Sizing:

The reversible girls hat I tried was sized 2-4 years and was a perfect fit on my average sized nearly three year old. Could be a bit on the small side for a big 4 year old. The boys explorer hat was also sized 2-4 years but we were disappointed to find it too small for my 4 year old boy (although admittedly he will be turning 5 soon). To compare it, I also tried it on my nearly three year old girl and it seemed a bit small on her too, so definitely buy a larger sized hat than you normally would with this one.

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