Hats Off to Cassie Malhado

Story by Riley Connell

Photos by Madison Ingalls

Standing out amongst the crowd and creating a brand for yourself is a dilemma that many college students face in their educational careers. Cassie Malhado is a senior from Imlay City, Mich., who found the solution to this problem by tackling the fashion world’s most demanding accessory: hats.

Although Malhado’s hats are dubbed a “collection” by many of her peers, she doesn’t see it as a collection. Wearing her wide variety of headwear is Malhado’s way of displaying her individuality.

It all started with a hat that Malhado’s mother purchased for her senior photographs in high school.

“I didn’t think much of it. I literally did not touch it from that summer before senior year, until probably my junior year of college,” Malhado said.

That same hat made a brief reappearance while Malhado was in Italy and she observed that it’s a popular trend to wear that particular accessory in Europe. Malhado jokingly added that it was also a great way to cover up her grown-out roots from dyeing her hair blonde.

Malhado poses in her apartment wearing the hat that began her collection

Malhado decided it was time to bring the hat out of retirement, and when she started to receive more compliments, she kept adding to her stock pile.

“I didn’t realize it was a collection until people started commenting on it, and they’re like ‘wow, you have a lot of hats’, especially elder people,” Malhado said. “Older people love to comment on it and say ‘your hats are great, they’re so cute!'”

A selection of Malhado’s hat collection

The encouragement kept coming, and eventually you couldn’t have Cassie Malhado without a hat. Even Malhado’s boss at her summer internship gifted her a hat, because it had become such a signature accessory for her.

“This is what I’m known for now, its just a staple of my personality,” Malhado said.