There was a time when a man was expected to have a matching hat – usually a fedora – for each suit. The hats were custom-made and required regular maintainance at the local haberdashery. According to the men of the time, the hat was often considered a nuisance because they were expensive and when the wind was blowing, required one hand to hold on to the expensive accessory. So, like spats and cravats, the hat fell out of favor with men. The baseball-style cap I simply discount as they are so ubiquitous and so plebian.
Three weeks ago I was at the local church’s annual rummage sale. There, I picked up some things for my swingin’ bachelor pad. I also bought two hats. I’ve never been much of a hat guy because my head is, well, huge. Finding headgear that fits has always been a challenge for me. Buying a motorcycle helmet is an epic struggle. Normally, a double extra-large fits my noggin but sometimes that is even too small. So when I find a hat that fits, it’s quite unusual. At the rummage sale, I actually found two hats that fit. At only a dollar a hat, I bought them both.
One hat is more of a hipster-type thing. It’s got a modest brim all the way around with a fedora-type crown. It’s brown and made of tightly woven flat straw. The band is red and blue with a “Red Guitar” plastic icon on the band. It somewhat resembles this:
This hat I wear in the evenings after sundown. It’s not formal headgear like a homberg or a bowler. Yet it’s perfectly sufficient for a stylish statement to set me apart from all the dudes wearing those awful baseball-style caps.
The other is a Panama hat. It’s tan and with a wide brim, perfect for the hot Florida sun. It looks quite a lot like this:
This is my daytime hat (not at work, obviously) when I walk into the village, Lucy my dog on her leash. With some cool sunglasses, a nice shirt and jeans, I cut a fine sartorial figure when compared to the usually very casual (re: slovenly) dress that is the norm in these parts.
Since I’ve started wearing these hats, I’ve noted that people treat me differently. Perhaps my willingness to stand out gives me more confidence and people are responding to that. Perhaps it’s the actual hat and the fact that it’s unusual for a man to sport one. At a recent party, my hat was quite the hit and the topic of conversation and even a bit of envy from the guys.
Just this past evening, I was out walking Lucy and ran into three female friends, two of them I have not seen in a while. With the dog, the hat, and my mood, the indicators of interest where quite high. It was remarkable.
I think for my next hat, I’ll buy a fine red Fez with an elegant gold tassel. No, I’m not getting a huge, furry hat.