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Decline of the Hat

Messages
15,266
Location
Central California
I've had the same experiences, which led to the speculation I expressed in my previous post. One day I realized my hats spent far more time on the back seat of my truck or on an empty seat at a restaurant than they did on my head, and soon after I began to question whether or not I really wanted or needed to bring one with me when I was preparing to leave the house; I imagined men from previous generations doing the same thing.

I've also read that a number of men returning home from the war (WWII, that is) stopped wearing hats as a form of backlash against having been forced to conduct themselves under the military's rules and regulations; now that they were free to make their own choices again, many of them chose non-conformity.

I’ve heard that too and it rings true. It was a time of change and rebirth. The old ways were falling and the world experienced change at an unbelievable rate. The aristocracy was in free fall and the working class were really empowered for the first time in history. In the past, dress, including hats, was a way to distinguish societal rank and most people showed a level of deference to those in a higher class. The cracks were apparent after WW1, but after WW2 the dam had burst. Now look at how conspicuous consumption is looked down on and billionaires dress in hoodies and jeans and interact with us little people. Unfortunately, a lot of babies were thrown out with the bath water.

I tease my wife and blame it all on giving women the vote, she doesn’t laugh. :)


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Rmccamey

My Mail is Forwarded Here
Messages
3,992
Location
Central Texas
My speculation would also include efficiency and greater mass production.
Good hats take some care and consideration. Caps, on the other hand, can be wadded, folded, and thrown around with almost no adverse effects and they are cheap and plentiful and, as you have mentioned, don't mind sitting in car seats and floorboards for weeks on end. And they are cheap and disposable. Similar also are the mass produced western hats. It is easy these days to buy an entry level Stetson or Resistal or Sunbody for $39 or $49, use and abuse it for a few years, throw it away and start again...something I'm not going to do with a Gannon, VS , or even a mid level production Stetson or Dobbs. We've become too much of a disposable culture and good hats don't lend themselves to that. Good hats, I believe, are more personal...there is a sort of attachment and that gives them feelings, in a sense, that requires attention from owners and that takes more time and effort than most people want to spend. You said it yourself, you question whether to wear it 50 feet from the car to the office. At least you THINK about it, most people don't want to have to think at all and a hat would be "one more thing" to have to think about, so they don't. You're a good man, Charley Brown!

Ps; we should start a national hat day if there isn't already one on the books
 

hatsandcanes

Familiar Face
Messages
92
Location
Tennessee
My dad owned a Shoe repair and retail shoe store. He bought it from his uncle after returning from the Korean war. My great uncle worked on shoes, saddles and harness for horses but it was my dad who added the shoe store. I was 15 when he died and I was just too young to take over so my mom sold it. It was a huge business and he repaired and sold many shoes and boots. It closed in 2003 and was in business for 75 years. He was always proud of being a shoe cobbler but he also knew the writing on the wall. It was a dying trade. I can't even think of a place outside of 70 miles that still repair shoes. We just replace them with a new pair. It is really sad that a lot of the things from times past is fading out!
 

nvilletele

One of the Regulars
Messages
109
First, all headrests should be removed from cars so we can drive more comfortably with fedoras and not just caps any more.

I can make do with normal height roofs though. I just lower the seat a bit. I am no giant, so no issue for me.

Second, it occurs to me there may be a benefit to climate change (however minimal or illusory). Perhaps it will reverse the decline of the hat. I hate sunscreen, and maybe others do as well. I see the need for hats to soon become a health issue, if it isn’t there already.

Ok, maybe not (for either). But I’ll keep on wearing.
 
Messages
11,333
Location
Southern California
First, all headrests should be removed from cars so we can drive more comfortably with fedoras and not just caps any more. I can make do with normal height roofs though. I just lower the seat a bit. I am no giant, so no issue for me...
I wouldn't say I'm a giant, but I was 6'2" tall in my younger days; age and back surgery have reduced me to an even 6'. Ongoing back problems force me to sit upright in any vehicle I occupy, so head room/clearance is a regular issue for me, particularly in smaller vehicles.

...Second, it occurs to me there may be a benefit to climate change (however minimal or illusory). Perhaps it will reverse the decline of the hat. I hate sunscreen, and maybe others do as well. I see the need for hats to soon become a health issue, if it isn’t there already...
I also dislike sunscreen, so after having a bit of cancer carved off of my nose in 2013 I became even more adamant about wearing brimmed hats for sun protection. I can't imagine we're alone in that regard, but I'm not sure there are enough of us to reverse the decline in hat wearing purely for health reasons; I can't even convince my wife to wear one of my hats to keep her head dry when it's raining. o_O
 
Messages
15,266
Location
Central California
A property adjusted headrest is a real safety device and no brimmed hats work in conjunction with them. I’m not about to compromise safety so I can wear my hat when driving. My sartorial preferences are secondary to self preservation. Anyway, a hat is functional and I personally don’t need that function when driving. Just me.


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Messages
17,443
Location
Funkytown, USA
A property adjusted headrest is a real safety device and no brimmed hats work in conjunction with them. I’m not about to compromise safety so I can wear my hat when driving. My sartorial preferences are secondary to self preservation. Anyway, a hat is functional and I personally don’t need that function when driving. Just me.


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Must be the angle I keep my seat. I've never had an issue (shrugs).

Sent directly from my mind to yours.
 

Blackthorn

I'll Lock Up
Messages
4,407
Location
Oroville
A property adjusted headrest is a real safety device and no brimmed hats work in conjunction with them. I’m not about to compromise safety so I can wear my hat when driving. My sartorial preferences are secondary to self preservation. Anyway, a hat is functional and I personally don’t need that function when driving. Just me.


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From the time I began wearing fedoras, ten years ago, I have been of the opinion that head rests put the nail in the coffin of hat-wearing. I can remember when whiplash began to be talked about, and my dad's friends still wore fedoras. Within just. a few years of whiplash becoming well known, all that had stopped. It's also why I began collecting flat caps. You can wear them anywhere and they don't take up space. I still love my fedoras and cowboy hats, but which head wear I choose when I got out depends on whether it's convenient to wear something with a brim or not .
 

humanshoes

One Too Many
Messages
1,423
Location
Tennessee
Has it occurred to anyone else that the heightened awareness and popularity of men's hair styling may have also played a part? I grew up in the days of Brylcreem and Butchwax and was around for the advent of the "dry look" touted by many men's hair products of the time. No more greasy kid stuff. Eventually, expensive hair cuts, blow drying, styling, etc. all became common for men. It seems to me that, at some point, men just didn't want to mess up the "do" by wearing a hat that would result in the inevitable "hat hair".
 

Kane

One of the Regulars
Messages
120
Location
Southern California
I am at a downtown Santa Monica farmers market every week, and I do see a fair amount of hats. I don’t know how relevant Santa Monica is to a broader sense of style, but hats are not uncommon there. A lot of older people are out in Tilley type of hats (no doubt with an SPF rating) and a thick layer of white sun screen smeared over their faces and necks, but many people — young to old — are donning fedoras and the occasional western. My impression is that people there are becoming comfortable including a nice felt hat as part of their regular attire, and that the sense of a fedora being a poser’s costume or period piece is not there, that people are loosening up a bit about wearing a nice hat. It’s nice to see.
Btw, isn’t today, Jan. 15, national hat day? Like talk like a Pirate day? Hmmm.
 
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