Summer hats, how do I love thee?  Let me count the ways:

*Those pesky unwashed, undyed roots lurking on top of my head?  Gone, with a flip of your lid, leaving only the better, billowy bottom half of my hair.

*My floral sundresses that veer toward the fussy?  Instantly toughened up with a smart fedora.

*That cruel, cruel midday sun?  Directed toward my pasty legs, thanks to the wide brim of my floppy friend.

Because I’m hard on my hats–sand, salt, and chlorine can shred straw by the end of the summer–I usually buy a (relatively) cheap hat in May, then toss it come September.  In this guilt-free, disposable spirit, here are my picks, all under $50:

new-york-and-company-city-style-ribbon-trim-straw-fedora1.  The Fedora–yeah, I know; it’s everywhere.  But for good reason:  this classic looks good on almost any face shape, and can be worn with almost any outfit, from a flouncy skirt and tank, to jeans and a tee.  And at $5.90 for this specimen, who are you to quibble?

village-hat-shop-goorin-bros-last-minute-fedora2.  The Fedora, redux–this one’s plaid.  Just imagine how many bathing suit colors you could pair it with on the beach, and how many cardigans come fall.

anthropologie-bright-on-bright-hat3.  The Floppy Straw Hat, bright–you’re no shrinking violet.

urban-outfitters-kimchi-blue-straw-ribbon-floppy4.  The Floppy Straw Hat, muted–lovely with both a mini bikini and a maxi dress.

free-people-we-the-free-floppy-hat5.  The Floppy Canvas Hat–could double as a chic rain hat in the spring.

If fedoras and floppies aren’t your style, make like you’re from Nantucket and wear a bucket.  But whatever you do, just don’t make like a cowgirl and dig out that crumpled old cowboy hat from 2001, unless the only sand you’re seeking is at the rodeo.