If expressions like “at the drop of a hat” or “pass the hat” along with “I’ll eat my hat” are so commonly used ... what’s happened to the hat?
According to some, the hat is making a comeback. Hollywood-types are making it cool, and covering one’s head in Europe also is trending. If so, let’s give ’em a “tip of the hat.”
When did a well-dressed man stop wearing a fedora, bowler or straw boater? Some blame President John Kennedy. He had such great hair, he rarely covered it. That minor head-scratching decision suddenly made it OK, or better yet, “old hat.”
A new ‘hat-titude’
It’s not enough to decide to wear a hat, there’s still some consideration as to how it should be worn. For instance, should it be cocked to the side, tilted to the back or pulled down in front?
And what about the brim? Should it be turned up? A brim can add mystery and possibly shade the wearer’s intentions. Maybe that’s why “The Godfather” remains my favorite movie. It wasn’t the acting, it was the hats.
There are a handful of hat stores in the area. At the Charleston Hat Shop, I heard a man ask if they sold engineer hats. Those were on back order, by the way. Another gentleman wearing jeans wondered about the price of a top hat that might fit his ‘big ol’ head.’ ” After paying $100, he wore it out of the store. Manager Sheery Brookshire has sold a dozen Stetson fedoras to detectives who work for the Atlanta Police Department. That certainly conjures memories of Joe Friday and “Dragnet.”
During really cold weather, is there a more complete package than to see a man in an overcoat, gloves and shined shoes, topped by a nice hat? Don’t know why, but it evokes a sense of style and class. I suppose it also resembles the guy on the front of the Monopoly box. Probably need to rethink that theory before somebody “throws their hat into the ring.”
During the annual Southeastern Wildlife Exposition weekend, we see a number of hats among the attendees. Those aren’t dress hats, though, just handsome coverings for keeping the head warm while watching dogs jump into cold water.
Don’t flip your lid
Does all this talk make you want to jump head-first into the hat revival? The problem lies in whether or not there’s confidence in carrying it off. Just putting on a hat adds some swagger and jiggers up the confidence meter.
But just because a lid looks good on Brad Pitt or Johnny Depp, does it automatically give you the same vibe? That’s a tough call. Sometimes you just have to go for it.
Use your head, though. Different hats look different on different people. In many cases, people who leave the house with a hat are most comfortable carrying it.
Some people wear a hat with a suit and others with shorts. The hat definitely can add personality, but be careful.
Indiana Jones wore a fedora, but so did Freddie Krueger. Charlie Chaplin was known for popularizing the bowler. The same chapeau also was worn by The Riddler. The top hat was the calling card of Abraham Lincoln as well as Dr. Seuss.
Charleston has its own sense of style and class, and its friendliness and manners are known far and wide. Should we jump in, head over heels, and lead the way in bringing hats back?
Or do we quietly mount a movement that only subtly states our sartorial preferences and just “keep it under our hats”?
Reach Warren Peper at 937-5577 or firstname.lastname@example.org
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