I Take My Hat Off To Thee, Sirrah!
June 26, 2020 4:05 PM   Subscribe

Hat history, hat fashion, hat racism-- strangely human [sarcasm]. Some [western] hat history, some racist hat history (of course), some more history of hats (mostly about Western History), but the world isn't limited to ideas of hats in the west. Great hats of Japan, Chinese Traditional Hats, Luxury Hats from Africa

A whole bunch of hat stuff, but feel free to add more. You can keep your hat on...
Also let's head this off at the pass: wears a hat = hipster = jerk. I like hats, I like people in hats, I like style, stop shaming.
posted by winesong (10 comments total) 14 users marked this as a favorite
Less than 100 years ago, people rioted over hats!
posted by sjswitzer at 5:33 PM on June 26 [5 favorites]

A brief efflorescence: for a few generations, each nursing school (in the US? ) had its own style of cap, so you can sometimes see in photographs of hospital nursing staffs that the nurses had trained at different institutions. Many of them were not much more than kerchiefs, and had to be carefully starched and ironed and folded and pinned into place. Every day! They wore them all shift! They got pretty saggy in eastern seaboard summers, I’m told.
posted by clew at 6:58 PM on June 26 [7 favorites]

I never leave my house without a cap on. And you can tell if I'm feeling really comfortable when I'm visiting you because I take my cap off. I don't know where I got this, but it started in my teenage years and has been sort of a "thing" with me all my life since then. It's just how I roll.
posted by hippybear at 7:01 PM on June 26 [1 favorite]

My hat is a part of my head; be it a bike helmet; traditional ball cap; hiking sunshade variety, or a go to hell 1930s 'cap'. Not quite a disguise; but when outdoors; the cap may as well be a part of my head.
posted by Afghan Stan at 8:05 PM on June 26 [2 favorites]

It is extraordinary how absolutely everyone wore a hat for hundreds of years, and then suddenly hardly anyone did. Artisans like carpenters and printers even made and wore temporary paper hats to keep their hair clean and prevent their street hats from getting dirty.

Anyway, those Chinese and Japanese hats are splendid, but there were also some very spiffy Korean hats. I especially like the soldier's hats with the vertical plumes.
posted by Fuchsoid at 8:24 PM on June 26 [6 favorites]

i always wear a hat (no exaggeration; i even have one on in my library ID card because i told them i’m always wearing one!) and was recently surprised by just how reluctant so many people are wrt hat-wearing when i noticed that the majority of people on the street were hatless, despite it being a sunny, hot day. i wonder if the decline of hat popularity and the increase and normalization of showering with shampoo everyday over the past century are strongly correlated.
posted by LeviQayin at 4:07 AM on June 27

I absolutely love Zulu hats. I had one of those sets of child encyclopedias that was a hand-me-down from the 80s, and in the "Humans" section was a picture of a woman wearing a Zulu hat. I had, and still haven't, seen anything more regal and graceful and stunning as a Zulu hat.
posted by FirstMateKate at 8:15 AM on June 27

I'm a California kid who grew up in the Bay Area when Banana Republic had just one store in SF with a jeep crashing through the wall (did the first one have the jeep, or was that the second store?). I wanted to wear an Indiana Jones hat, but it never felt true. Besides, kids look ridiculous wearing a felt brimmed hat. Kids should wear sporty hats [1]. Since then my hairline has cooperated, and I have become the kind of guy who wears a real hat.

Jump ahead too many years and I'm living in the NYC metro area and working one block from the Empire State Building (incidentally, where one of the few and classiest hat shops is located in Manhattan). I said to myself, dammit, I'm going to wear a hat--a real hat. If you can't wear a real hat in NYC under the Empire State, where can you do it?

"The shift is decisive: historically, men wore hats to fit in and today, men wear hats to stand out."

That's a lovely turn of phrase. pfft. In NYC there are some Dandies, and Flaneurs, and then there are the rest of us. I don't want to project some egotist message to the world, Look at me--I'm wearing a classy hat! I wanted to become someone who wears a hat.

And let me tell you, I've learned some things about wearing a hat:

1. They are not easy to take care of. Felt hats take stains very easily. They don't like to get wet. (another obvious reason kids should not wear felt brimmed hats).

2. I can only wear a felt hat in early spring and late fall. Otherwise you get into winter and you need something warmer [2], or you go out in the AM with your hat, and suffer foul weather (see 1). During summer they're HOT and sweat damages the leather sweat band.

3. It's difficult to find a hat that really suits you. Not only that, but you might have a hard time replacing said favorite hat with it's clone, because there are just so few places to buy a real hat.

4. You will be tempted to try hats that don't suit you. It's fine, and you'll get some of the jokes in old movies. (I can't think of one at the moment, but it's happened).

5. You'll get the slightest of nods from other hat wearers--not the Dandies, cuz you're stealing their thunder. I'm talking about the other fellows who wear a hat. [4]

> "(It’s all about the angle)."

Let me tell you a little secret. If you're on a hot NYC subway (and I don't plan to be any time soon) and stuck between stations, and your head is starting to heat up, then turn that oval so it's a little cock-eyed. That will get you to the next station.

[1]: Sometimes I get the inquiry, Why the hat?. To which I retort, I don't play baseball.
[2]: Lawrence Fishburne plays a hat wearing detective in winter in the TV show Hannibal, and largely solves the mild winter felt hat wearing problem of frozen ears.
[3]: I'm happy to hear the author cite JFK in the story of the demise of the hat in American Culture. I've heard much the same. Kennedy apparently hated wearing hats, and why not? Look at this photo: President Kennedy and President Eisenhower meet at Camp David, Maryland. White House photo by Robert Knudsen Great hair meets no hair.
[4]: I'd get a similar reaction from other riders when I owned a motorcycle. A little flash from other riders who are also fracking stoked to be riding today.
posted by xtian at 8:36 AM on June 27 [3 favorites]

I have a grey Borsalino that I have less reasons to wear lately. Sad that.
posted by Splunge at 11:50 AM on June 27

My dad lost the tops of his ears due to skin cancer. I always wear a hat outside.
posted by fimbulvetr at 8:51 AM on June 30

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