A Hankering for Headgear
October 26, 2010
Several months ago, I picked up a gem of a book entitled The Art of Manliness: Classic Skills and Manners for the Modern Man written by Brett and Kate McKay. This book covers many skills that have been nearly forgotten by the last few generations. Today’s idea of manliness is much more aligned with Homer Simpson than with Teddy Roosevelt. The reversal of this trend is the point of the book, but let’s get to my point. Hats!
A few years ago, every man had a hat and knew how to wear it. This trend fell by the wayside during the Sixties and Seventies when the “big hair” came into fashion. Hats are coming back into fashion; you can find a variety of hats at stores such as Hot Topic, Wal-Mart, Sears, or Macy’s.
Popular hat styles include, but are not limited to, the fedora, the derby (bowler if you’re British), porkpie, trilby (very similar to the fedora), homburg, and the flat or driver’s cap. Though traditionally these are all men’s hats, the style has expanded to the ladies as well. Interestingly enough, the fedora (think Indiana Jones) was originally a woman’s hat, and only became a men’s hat during the 1920’s.
Wearing a hat is more complicated than one would first realize! There are several rules to go with wearing a hat. For example, one should always remove the hat when inside homes, restaurants, and buildings. This doesn’t apply in hallways or lobbies because those count as outside. You don’t have to remove your hat in an elevator unless there’s a lady present, then the removal is a must.
Once, I had a good grasp of basic hat etiquette and hopefully would not embarrass myself too much, I started shopping for a hat. Finding a haberdashery (hat shop) was more difficult than I first thought as well. Online stores abounded, but I wanted to be able to try on my new hat and affirm that I did not look like a buffoon.
I was finally able to locate a local hat store, The Missing Piece, which specializes in fancy headgear. They have two stores: one in Crown Center and the other on Pennsylvania Ave in Westport. The gentlemen that owns the stores is knowledgeable and friendly, and will teach you basic hat care, as well as how to wear your hat.
All in all, it was a fascinating experience. Learning all about how to wear a hat, as well as shopping for a hat, was something new for me, and I hope you find it interesting. For those of you interested in picking up a copy of The Art of Manliness, the library can help you! Though we do not have a copy on our shelves, we can order it though our WorldCat database. Simply type in the title, author, subject, or keyword into the database, and it will search more than 9,100 libraries to find the books or items you’re looking for.
Stay classy Raytown,