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Heady New Fashion

February 25, 1988

Since fashion trends change at the drop of a hat, it shouldn't be any surprise that hats are back--in a big way. Big-brimmed beauties, often bedecked with freeze-dried or paper flowers, or just big floral prints, are the latest accessory for spring.

"Hats go with the fun look of the new clothes," said Pippa Kinloch of The Shoe And Clothing Connection in Woodland Hills. "They accent the ruffles on skirts, the big bubble skirts. . . . They finish everything off."

Doreen Dempski, of the Il Petto fashion showroom in the California Mart, which supplies hats to the Ron Ross store in Tarzana, thinks she knows why everyone wants to tip her hat to this trend: "During the '70s, there was that whole 'dress-for-success' setback. Women want femininity again. Even when a woman wears jeans and a blouse, she wants to look more feminine. A hat will give her that look."

Retailing from $100 to $250, the Il Petto hats, designed by Lori Henle, pay tribute to whimsy. One design features an entire scene on its brim--a bird's nest and a frog jumping. Dempski said hats such as these should be worn without accessories, since "they are the ultimate accessory."

But wearing hats takes a certain kind of fashion courage. "A lot of women love hats, but they're afraid to wear them," said Dempski. "They attract a lot of attention. But, once you learn how to wear a hat, it can be a real confidence-booster. A hat sets you off and makes you more interesting and powerful."

One young woman, an office worker, agrees: "I feel so boring at my job all day," she said. "Wearing a hat out at night makes me feel like I might be an interesting person."

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