I love hats. I love them beyond a shadow of a doubt. The are functional and (can be) adorable. And for lolitas, they add a great interest piece to a coordinate. In the land of bows and headdresses, a hat can be a welcome breath of fresh air.
Mini Top Hats
These are probably the most common form of hat in lolita. You can find them pretty much anywhere; Forever 21, Claire's (for our American viewers), overstock.com, Bodyline, and various legit brands have sold their fair share. Go to any craft store and I'm sure you can find a plain one to be decorated at your discretion. The only problem with mini top hats is that construction means everything - a hat covered in bad/mismatching lace and under qualified fake flowers will torpedo any good coordinate straight to ita-ville. There are many great places to buy them though, if you're willing to comb through a lot of muck. (Hat shown is from Victorian Maiden)
My personal favorite. Tricorns go with a lot of styles, mostly classic and pirate. I have seen bubblegum pink tricorns used very effectively in sweet coordinates, however. They have a regal flair that can be attributed to their use in royal fashions throughout the centuries. I'm very fond of their naval ties, and I've never seen a pirate in a tricorn I didn't like. Either mini or full-sized, these hats can make a lot of coordinates very dramatic. I have a lot to say about tricorns, so I might just save it and do a whole post on them. (Hat shown is from Alice and the Pirates)
Now I know these don't necessarily fall under the "brim" of hats territory, if you'll forgive my awful pun. However, they do tend to cover the full head, so I thought I'd lump them in here anyway. A bonnet is a strange beast, one that can be either very demure and simple, or dramatic and demanding of attention. A lot of it has to do with the size of the brim and the accessories and trimmings. I've seen a lot of bonnets dripping with flowers and delicate laces, pleats, and even wildly patterned fabrics. They can be very stunning and are suited for just about any lolita style. Certainly not for the faint of heart. (Bonnet shown is from Mary Magdalene)
Again not really hats, but a head covering other than a head bow. These are particularly popular among sweet and gothic lolitas. A crown made of pastel beads or small crystals? Perfect for a lovely hime coordinate. A crown swimming in spikes, black feathers and constructed of real leather? Gothic all the way. Crowns are just as versatile in style as the different types of hats, and they can add a little fantasy to an outfit. Try to stay away for the more costumey types though, as you can end up looking like you just got out of a Burger King. (Crowns shown are from Suppurate System)
Cake Hats and Other Head Sculptures
This is a much-discussed area of lolita head coverings. What is too much? What makes a hat part of a costume? What's just downright ugly? Even though I can't wear these things myself without feeling really odd, I love OTT masterpieces that people put on their heads. Full carousels, cups of tea, and full cakes piled onto an already massive hairdo? Sounds fantastic! My favorite hats in this style are always handmade ones. (Cake monstrosity shown is from Angelic Pretty)
So there's my very bare-bones overview of several styles of head wear suitable to lolita! I hope that I can soon show off my own collection and share some great places to buy gorgeous handmade hats, as well as offer up some suggestions for less popular types of hats.