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Men's Hats: A Discussion Thread, Questions, Opinions, Suggestions...

Discussion in 'Classic Menswear' started by GusW, Apr 11, 2013.

  1. bourbonbasted

    bourbonbasted Senior member

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    Serious question: I've always held that the only men who should wear formal hats today are those that were alive when their style and decorum were prevalent. Otherwise I feel like everyone ends up looking like they are either wearing a costume or are very affected.

    I think there is a great deal of charm in an older man wearing a hat, but I feel that comes from years of knowing a society that wore hats at all times. They know how the hat should look, what looks compliment the accessory, etc. Younger guys almost always look like they found their grandfather's hat in an attic and found it a novelty.

    I may be wrong here, but I've never seen a convincing argument to the contrary. Even guys like tibor, that clearly embrace the look fully, still don't sell me on the idea that it can be done well. It marks someone as eccentric rather than stylish or dashing, which goes directly against the decorum that it stands for.
     
    Last edited: Apr 11, 2013
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  2. Sonny58

    Sonny58 Senior member

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    I kind of understand where you are coming from. For myself though I decided that if I wear a hat for practical reasons (rather than stylistic ones) it does not come off looking so affected. For example, I only wear my Panama hat when I need protection from the sun. Likewise, if I lived in a cold climate, I'd probably only wear a felt hat when the weather called for it.
     
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  3. bourbonbasted

    bourbonbasted Senior member

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    See a Panama is slightly less of a sticking point for me. As are cowboy hats. I feel like these are decidedly more casual and set a more playful tone that's echoed by the casual attire they generally accompany. I still wouldn't do it, but I can understand wearing a Panama to keep the sun out of your eyes.

    I'm more talking about felt hats with suits. Hats that would be commonplace in the 1930s and 1940s as necessary accessories to a lounge suit.
     
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  4. lefty

    lefty Senior member

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    Tibor wears costumes, but he revels in it so power to him.

    Hats serve a practical purpose (for me it's warding off the sun) so if it's raining, freezing or blazing you need to cover your head. If you're heading to the office on a cold winter day and you have on a suit, overcoat, scarf and gloves; a brimmed hat doesn't seem to be much of a stretch. Regardless of your age.

    If you're a young guy sporting a hat because it looks cool, chances are you're going to look like a twit. Now that may not be a bad thing as one of the beauties of being young is that you can look/act like a twit and come out of it relatively unscathed.

    You guys really overthink this stuff.

    There are three clothes rules:
    Does it fit?
    Is it flattering?
    Is it appropriate?

    I might add - stop being a girl when it comes to what you're wearing. Past that it's just 100 page wank fests on buttoned down collars. Put it on and get on with your day.

    lefty
     
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  5. bourbonbasted

    bourbonbasted Senior member

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    By this scale formal hats fail on two counts, at least for me.

    And, with all due respect, this is a forum (chiefly) dedicated to clothes. So to brashly push past the idea of discussing clothing, dismissing it as over-thinking, is pretty absurd given where we are. I'm all about being realistic. It's just clothes. But clearly we both care enough to be here. Crassness isn't necessary, brah.
     
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  6. GusW

    GusW Senior member Dubiously Honored

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    I tried on a beret and I really liked it. It felt very comfortable and I was rather surprised how good it seemed to look. Maybe it was the tweed jacket or my grizzly, gray stubble? (or the champagne at lunch?) If Fall was coming and not Spring, I would have been temped to purchased it to keep my shiny dome warm. Plus you can roll it up and place it in the pocket of your jacket.

    But, I'm not a Green Beret and I'm not a French artist. I see some quite senior gents in North Beach hanging out at cafes who seem to make it work. But they have 15 years on me and I don't speak Italian or heard goats.

    Do you ever see anyone, not in military uniform, wear one and pull it off?
     
  7. lefty

    lefty Senior member

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    Nothing personal, I'm just prickly.

    If you want to wear a hat, wear a hat. World's will not collide.

    And there are a few out there that are flattering on you.

    lefty
     
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  8. bourbonbasted

    bourbonbasted Senior member

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    No worries. Just the internet.

    I have doubt there's a hat out there that would look great on me, I just don't see it aligning with my tastes or proclivities. To each their own.

    Back to regularly scheduled programming.
     
  9. GusW

    GusW Senior member Dubiously Honored

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  10. GusW

    GusW Senior member Dubiously Honored

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  11. GusW

    GusW Senior member Dubiously Honored

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  12. JLibourel

    JLibourel Senior member

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    In my part of the country (SoCal) hats routinely worn with business attire were pretty much an "old guy" thing as far back as the '50s. If you leave aside those of us who were little boys or mere striplings during the era when hats were routine business attire, that's going to rule out just about every man younger than 80 or so.

    Except when worn as a practical necessity, e.g., you are going to be out in the sun much of the day, as at a graduation ceremony, a hat pretty well transforms business attire into retro costuming.

    I went through a hat phase some years back, but it passed.
     
  13. bourbonbasted

    bourbonbasted Senior member

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    This is true. I suppose I should have rephrased to say those that grew up with or directly knew men (fathers, grandfathers, etc) who routinely wore them. At any rate someone who knows of when they were widespread and culturally ubiquitous. And not someone who just watches a lot of Mad Men.
     
  14. Ianiceman

    Ianiceman Senior member

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    Great thread PSG and some lively discussion. I have a throw away panama that I wear to the beach, no great loss if it blows away by its practical in saving the top of my forehead from sunburn. Always looking for more occasions when a hat will be appropriate.
     
  15. AdamWill

    AdamWill Senior member

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    bourbonbasted: I guess I tend towards the costume-y side of things; my attitude is pretty much 'I like hats, so I'm gonna wear hats, and screw you'. I think a lot of the time it comes down to where you live, as well. I live in Vancouver, and moved here from England. You'd think I'd feel more sensible wearing a hat in England, but funnily enough, just the opposite. England is as prickly about clothing etiquette as it's ever been, it's just that the etiquette has changed, and now if you wear a hat, you're being pretty weird and people are going to laugh at you (whereas 50 years if you *weren't* wearing a hat, you'd be in trouble). Vancouver's very much an 'anything goes' town, but that actually cuts both ways: you can overdress or go with a very old-fashioned look, and that's fine, because hey, it's just your style, right?

    I just went out downtown wearing blue linen pants, a dark blue blazer, tie, super old-school sunglasses and a panama; no-one else was dressed quite like that, but I don't get that 'people are looking at me weird' feeling I might get trying the same thing in, say, Manchester. The only comments I ever get here on what I wear - including hats - are positive. Sometimes it's the 'wow, that looks really Mad Men' or whatever kind of positive, but still positive.
     
  16. Ianiceman

    Ianiceman Senior member

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    There aren't that many hats in Mad Men. Draper's pinched fedora trilby hybrid looks all wrong on him, and since we are led to believe that hats went out of style with JFK I was surprised to see him still wearing one in the new series which is up to about 1969 now I think.
     
  17. AdamWill

    AdamWill Senior member

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    In a pinch, yeah, but I try and put something under it - plastic bag, newspaper, whatever. I find that less awkward than trying to balance it on my knee. Usually, though, there's a spare chair or window ledge or _something_ you can use.
     
  18. Ed Wiser

    Ed Wiser Active Member

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    Hats are an accessory to your wardrobe like jackets , ties, pocket squares and all the other items. That make up a look. Whether you THINK
    you don't you could wear a hat is up to each person. What some else THINKS can hold you back in developing your own special look.
    Which I think most here try to develop.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk 2
     
  19. Calder

    Calder Senior member

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    Rule #1 - Hats are outdoor wear. That means you need to co-ordinate them with your (over)coat (especially important for a winter hat).
    Rule #2 - Hats are outdoor wear. That means you take them off indoors. At the very latest, remove it with your overcoat. Preferably, remove it as you come through the door. Even talking to someone at a reception desk while wearing a hat just looks & feels wrong.
    Rule #3 - Hats are outdoor wear. Anywhere that isn't air conditioned is outdoors. London Underground Train? Outdoors. London to Leeds mainline train? Indoors. Act appropriately.
    Rule #4 - Remove your hat when speaking to a Lady.



    Guideline #5 - Your hat does not need to exhibit symmetry (in angle, facing, crease, brim, hatband/puggaree or even colour). Like most ties, and like the pocket square, a certain level of style relies upon asymmetry.




    How long have you been gone? Because hats seem to have made a definite comeback. This is probably not unconnected to the last three winters having been, in various ways, absolutely foul. As an example of how foul, it's April and it's still bloody snowing.
     
    Last edited: Apr 11, 2013
  20. AdamWill

    AdamWill Senior member

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    calder: 9 years, but I go back once a year or so. It may differ between regions, I suppose, but I still don't recall seeing anyone in Manchester wearing a hat (other than a baseball cap) last time I was there.
     

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