From the BBC: What Leads A Man To Wear A Hat Today?
I can post this on Put This On because it is about a hat.
The Onion’s Lake Dredge Appraisal - Suspicious Hat
“That’s a nice hat you’re wearing.”
GOOD LORD I LOVE LAKE DREDGE APPRAISAL.
I love pretty much everything Archival Clothing makes, and this is no exception. It’s just a waxed cotton baseball cap. Well-executed, high standards, simple, wearable, reasonably priced. Another home run.
On This Day In History …
This Saturday, September 15th, marks the end of what used to be known in the United States as straw hat season. You see, in the early 20th century, it was considered socially unacceptable to wear straw hats past this date. If you ignored the rule, you’d be ridiculed at minimum. At most, you’d have your hat knocked off and stomped on by youths. This was actually a well established enough tradition that newspapers would publish warnings of the impending arrival of the fifteenth, so that people would remember to switch to felt for fall.
On September 13th of 1922, however, two days before the official deadline, eager youths in New York City decided to get a jump on the tradition. They started on Mulberry Street in Manhattan, knocking straw hats off factory workers’ heads before moving onto dock workers. Unfortunately for them, the dock workers fought back, and a brawl large enough to stop traffic soon erupted. The police eventually came, broke up the fights, and made some arrests.
The next evening, more youths went into the streets, but this time armed with large sticks, some with nails driven through the tips. They’d then form gauntlets and compel men wearing straw hats to run through them. Other hoodlums would hide in doorways or behind cars, then dash out, ten or twelve strong, and attack one or two men before fleeing. Along one street in the lower west side of Manhattan, attackers lined up along the car tracks and yanked straw hats off the heads of passengers as the cars passed. Even a few off-duty policemen wearing straw hats found themselves attacked.
Broken hats were strewn all over the streets where such incidents happened, and any hat store kept open late that night was crowded with people needing something new to wear. Most of them opted for something made from felt.
By the end of it, a number of arrests were made, some people were treated for serious injuries, and many, many straw hats were broken. The tradition of hat smashing continued for some years after that, but 1922 is considered to be the worst year of it (though, one man was killed in 1924 when he resisted having his hat smashed). At some point, the tradition of switching from straw to felt died off, and with it, so did the tradition of hat smashing. Today men can safely wear straw hats past the 15th, but they’ll just look seasonally out of place.
If you wear hats, switch to felt starting this Saturday.
(Photo taken from Wikimedia Commons)
From The New Yorker’s style issue. By Roz Chast.
(By the way - I can’t recommend Roz Chast’s most recent book, “What I Hate: From A to Z” enough. Here she is talking with me about it on my public radio show.)
“PAX and Dragon*Con are the same weekend? The fedora sales chart for 2012 is going to look like a tableau of Kilimanjaro.”— Justin McElroy
Ebbets Field Flannels’ new round of caps includes this one, for the House of David, a legendary Jewish-themed barnstorming team from the first half of the 20th century. The club was famous for its long hair and full beards. The 1934 hat, reproduced here, is what’s called a “Cincinnati” style cap - with contrasting trim on the base of the cap and bill. Pretty neat, if you ask me. What’s more, it’s on sale.
"Where did you get that hat? Where did you get that tile?
Isn’t it a nobby one, and just the proper style?
I should like to have one; Just the same as that!
Where’er I go, they shout ‘Hello! Where did you get that hat?’”
- Lyrics to "Where Did You Get That Hat?"
(Pictured: Mayor Willie Brown, who always looks great in a hat)
Casual Summer Weekends
This is a great photo of maomao. Here he’s wearing a madras shirt, pair of sunglasses, and a beat up Panama hat. It’s a casual, easy-going summer style that’s perfect for weekends. Good for an afternoon drink with friends, stroll in the city, or general laying around at the park.
What I like most is that every item here is easily obtainable at almost any price point. I’ve already written about where you can get madras shirts. I was recently at Ralph Lauren and J Crew, actually, and was fairly impressed with the colorful patterns they’ve chosen for this season. If you decide to not get something custom made, these are some pretty good options off-the-rack. Just make sure you know how they should fit before you buy.
You can also read this post about Panama hats. Panama Bob is generally recognized as one of the best places to buy an authentic Panama, and he has two stores. His main store sells hats made from finer weaves. These will look better, and you’ll get to own something that’s from a dying cottage industry. If you can’t afford those, he also has an eBay store with more affordable options. These will be made from rougher weaves, but on the upside, they can be more breathable on those hot, humid days. Note that it’s generally easier to buy hats online if you’ve already had some experience with them. If this is your first hat, you may want to buy one from a local shop, just so you can try a few on in-person. Pay particular attention to the shape and height of the crown, as well as the width of the brim.
Finally, I co-wrote this five-part series on sunglasses with my good friend Agyesh Madan. That should put you well on your way to getting a good pair. Of course, you can also search eBay for deals. Not everything in that search link looks good, but it contains the brands that Agyesh and I talked about in our series. You can use eBay’s navigation filters to make the search results more managable.
Not pictured here are maomao’s pants and shoes. I imagine he’s either wearing cotton or linen trousers, and maybe some leather slip-ons (e.g. penny loafers, boat shoes, driving mocs, and the like). I’ll cover those another time, but in the meantime, consider madras, sunglasses, and a straw Panama for your casual summer weekends. If you need to, you can throw on a linen sport coat, but even without one, you can look quite good. Just check out maomao.