Skip to comments.Why men should wear hats - Stylish, mature and respectful: Itís about time
Posted on 05/30/2013 5:58:17 PM PDT by rickmichaels
I needed a drink, I needed a lot of life insurance, I needed a vacation, I needed a home in the country, Raymond Chandlers famously precise private eye Philip Marlowe observed in 1940s Farewell, My Lovely. What I had was a coat, a hat and a gun.
The hat, a fedora most likely, was once as crucial to detective work as a sidearm and trench coat. And utterly masculine.
The same could be said about the business of hockey. Archival black-and-white shots of famous National Hockey League coaches such as the Toronto Maple Leafs Punch Imlach or Toe Blake of the Montreal Canadiens invariably show them wearing a hat at work behind the bench. And behind them, nearly every male in the crowd was similarly attired.
Throughout history and up until the 1950s, hatsfedoras, trilbys, homburgs, bowlers, top hats, tricorneswere considered an essential component of a mans outfit. Only peasants and beggars went bare-headed. Hats were both a status symbol and a universally required fashion accessory. European tastes for beaver felt hats were even a significant factor in Canadas early economic history. And there existed a lengthy set of rules covering when a man should doff his hat, when he should tip it and when he should leave it on. It was thus a mechanism for showing respect in public as well. But that was a long time ago.
The rise of youth culture in the 1960s quickly turned the hat into the headgear of out-of-touch old fogeys. Your grandfather wore a hat to work; enough said. And in a flash, the hat disappeared.
Mens heads have not been entirely bare since then, of course. The baseball cap achieved an unfortunate ubiquity beginning in the 1980s. Many observers have dutifully lamented the ball caps lack of dignity, style and etiquette. As Canadian essayist Mark Kingwell has argued, there are only three situations in which a grown man should be seen wearing a ball cap: jogging in the rain, playing baseball and fishing. Anything else ought to be recognized as a desperate attempt by middle-aged men to look young, sporty and athletic . . . a project doomed to failure, he writes.
There have been brief revivals of proper mens hats over the years. Hipsters have long used the hat as a sign of their own unconventionality. And recently the cable television show Mad Men, which glorifies the sartorial look and social insouciance of the advertising world of the early 1960s, spurred a revival of grey suits, thin ties and fedoras. But these efforts are deliberately backwards looking or ironically retro. If the mans hat is to make a full-fledged comeback, it must be as a symbol of youth rather than nostalgia.
Could it already be happening?
This week saw the unveiling of uniforms for Air Canada Rouge, a low-cost leisure airline slated to begin flying this July. In keeping with the new airlines youthful target market, flight attendants will eschew the business attire familiar to mainline airline staff in favour of red sweaters, ties, scarves and low-rise grey pants. The most noteworthy accessory, however, is a jaunty chapeau.
Both male and female attendants will be wearing a grey pinstriped snap brim trilby when Air Canada Rouge takes off this summer. Its a mans hat, but it looks great on any woman, reports Milene Vaknin, who designed the uniforms. Its like Glee in the sky! reported one blogger. Is it the beginning of a trend?
Obviously one carefully managed corporate effort to make itself appear hip with the younger crowd doesnt constitute a full-fledged fashion reversal. Yet alongside Air Canadas unisex trilby, its worthy noting popular singers such as Justin Timberlake, Usher and Neo have also taken to wearing hats lately, upping the cool factor considerably. No one who might consider themselves to be a fan of Justin Timberlake will remember their father or grandfather going to work in a hat. So perhaps the connection between the hat and dreary conservatism has been severed; in its place a new trendy, youthful and urban image may be in the works.
A return of the mans hatif we are indeed witnessing the early days of its revival ought to be welcomed. It makes practical sense for a man to cover his head in many situations. And yet the popularity of the ball cap has infantilized mens fashion, in no small part because it never comes off. A proper mans hat, on the other hand, is stylish, mature and respectful. It is worn outdoors, at sporting events and in elevators, tipped to recognize acquaintances and removed at meal times. A hat elevates polite society and adds grace to the streetscape. If women start wearing them too, so much the better.
Hats off to more hats.
New Air Canada Rouge uniforms:
Fond as I am of hats for men, they should be wearing them outdoors (to keep the sun, cold, rain, and dirt off their heads), not on an airplane.
Crash helmets might be suitable to an airplane.
“Glee in the sky”...LOL and right on point. GHEY!!!!!
I have always hated wearing hats. They work for some but not me.
Hats are for bald people. They look better than combovers.
Interviewer to Jose Jimenez (Bill Dana), Astronaut:
“Is that a crash helmet?”
Jose Jimenez: “Oh, I hope not.”
And Drummer Lee Rigby
If the author says I like to wear hats - fine and dandy.
If he says YOU should wear a hat - mind your own business.
I like the wearing of hats in old photographs. Hate it today, especially when men try to pull it off.
If you’re a private detective, okay. If not, the time has not yet come for a new era in hats.
And good taste, especially when it matches the outfit.
It’s gay homosexual and serves little purpose.
Its gay homosexual and serves little purpose.
What is gay homo and serves no purpose?
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