Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Our Grandfather's Hats

Here's a picture of me in my new hat that I bought at Antics, a kitchy antique and vintage clothing and mishmosh store on the Downtown Mall in Charlottesville. I think I look rather dashing, don't you?

I don't know about you, but over the past couple of years, I've noticed more men wearing hats. I haven't noticed a real increase in western hats--they have their own niche in haberdashery. No, I'm talking about other kinds of wide-brimmed hats, such as the Fedora and the Snowy River hat (an Australian classic). I've also seen an increase in those sleek racing caps, aka flatcaps boys used to wear in the 1920s.

According to the salesman at Antics, my new hat is an example of a widely-varied "Porkpie" style. I don't think so. The Porkpie is known for its flat top, and my hat has a definite pinch to the front. After doing some research, I think it's probably a Trilby, because it has a shorter brim than the Fedora. So don't go calling my hat an Indiana Jones hat as one lovable scamp at church did. Indie wore a Fedora. If you're a hat expert, please leave me a comment and let me know what you think.

It seems everywhere you look in pop culture, the latest hiphop stars and movie stars are wearing porkpies, trilbies, and fedoras. Gangsta has gone gangster, or so it would seem. But I was wearing hats long before Johnny Depp, Tupac, and Kid Rock made them popular. What is it about "old man hats" (as I call them) right now? Why are younger generations trying on our grandfathers' hats?

With the recession as it is, many of us are returning to old things. We're learning how to plant gardens. We're re-learning how to sew. We're making things last and buying things that will last, rather than being quite as careless with our dollars as we used to be. We learned this from our grandparents, though it's taken us far too long to figure it out. We're rediscovering the faith of our fathers and mothers. We're reaching into the storehouse of our grandparents' wisdom and pulling out those things that got them through the Great Depression. Perhaps these old hats are just a symbol of that. Wouldn't it be great if these young dogs could learn a few old tricks?

No comments: