By Karen I. Chen
November 06, 2019
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Felicia Lasala Photography

I am a big fan of bringing hats with me when I travel. As I’ve gotten older and wiser about skin care, I’ve realized hats are crucial for keeping the sun off of my face at the beach or while cruising around sightseeing all day. But what I’m decidedly not a fan of is the constant dilemma of how to pack a hat and what to do with it when you’re indoors or just don’t want to wear it.

Nowadays, with shrinking luggage allowances, hat boxes are completely impractical (you better believe my personal item is going towards a fully-stuffed duffel instead of a bulky box meant for one item). Thus I've resorted to stashing hats inside a big tote bag — but even then it would often get crushed and lose its shape — or, even worse, I would just awkwardly carry the hat in my hands.

But I’m here to tell you that those days are gone. I’ve found the perfect travel accessory: the Toptote hat clip. This little gadget is so simple yet so ingenious – I wonder how something like this didn't really exist before.

Courtesy TOPTOTE

Clip the metal carabiner ring around a bag strap, snap the magnet around the brim of your hat, and viola! Your hat stays securely attached to your bag and you’ll have two hands free, plus the invaluable option to wear or not wear your hat. Take all the pictures you want, go shopping, roam around museums, go seamlessly from boat rides to restaurants and back to the beach — all without having the annoyance of carrying your hat in your hands. And, if you’re like me and have the tendency to set things down and then forget about them, you now won’t be at risk of leaving your hat behind. 

The magnet is surprisingly strong, making it unlikely for your hat to fall from someone brushing past or a strong wind, and the metal ring is extremely sturdy — I can see this lasting me for years and years to come. Plus, its clever design looks like a keychain, and at just a few inches long, you can leave the Toptote on your bag even when you're not using a hat. I leave mine secured to the handle of my carry-on weekender so I won't forget it or lose it. Best of all, I love that the design of the clip allows your hat to rest completely flat, keeping the brim nice and intact.

Felicia Lasala Photography

Toptote comes in a few different designs, my favorite being a woven leather drop shape, which comes in a variety of colors, including black, white, and yellow. There’s also a luggage tag version with a window for your contact information that you can snap around a luggage handle. Traveling with two hats? Stack them and snap both brims into the magnet and you’re ready to jet.

Created by Los Angeles-based fashion stylist Lindsay Albanese, this little gadget fulfills a need she saw for a way to carry hats. “There has to be a better solution than that antiquated hat box,” she says. Having mulled the idea over in her head for years before making the first prototypes, she wanted to make sure that whatever she introduced would encompass her vision for "serviceable style" and “bring ease and order into your life.” Frankly we think she’s accomplished the goal in spades, and apparently a lot of other people did, too: Her hat clip sold out at Nordstrom stores and online in just two weeks after its launch.

But don’t worry, it’s currently back and fully stocked. To get your own Toptote, head to the link below. For anyone who likes to travel with a hat, I promise this will change your life.

Courtesy Nordstrom.com

To buy: nordstrom.com, $48

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