Ah, the mystery of the sexes. Women love the idea of hats. They love hats with brims, floppy hats, pillbox hats, hats that look like French berets, and hats with cute little fuzzy balls on top. But men say they feel funny in hats, which is why you see them standing outside in freezing temperatures, hatless, their ears turning the color of a pink Benetton sweater, all because they feel some head covering would make them look stupid. The fact that men now spend fifty dollars on haircuts hasn’t helped the state of hattedness either-they don’t want their expensive locks hidden from view.
Still, a new hat era always seems to be just around the corner. Lately, fashion magazines, the ones that for some reason are titled by initials instead of full words, have begun using hats as a way to add a little dash to a man’s wardrobe. Neiman-Mar-cus has great hats for men, as does the Wormser Hat Shop on Main, which has been around since 1895. All good department stores have a hat rack or two. But take notice: the hats are still on those racks.
It doesn’t make sense that men aren’t attracted to the upscale hat. Not those stocking caps that, when removed, make a man’s hair look squashed, like grass after a rainstorm. Nor all those other absurd-looking men’s hats-gimme caps that advertise farm implements, cowboy hats, sailor hats, furry hats that Russians wear, or hats with big ear flaps that duck hunters wear. I mean the fedora or the homburg. or the kind of hat Fred Astaire used to dance under and Cary Grant wore with a matching topcoat.
But, alas, it’s not easy to find a man who wears a real hat these days. Unlike women, who will take to the latest fashion trend, like metallic purses or striped hose, at the drop of a-well, never mind-men simply do not grasp the importance of the hat. Some retailers claim that the fall of the fedora began with John Kennedy, who was the first president to be inaugurated hatless (he had apparently thrown his into the ring), and the decline has continued unabated to this day.
In the continuing struggle to fight mediocrity, we ask the man to reconsider the hat. It speaks of mystery and romance. It has style and grace. It keeps you from getting pneumonia. What else can a man want?