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October 3, 2012

A mysterious hatred of fedoras
Posted by Teresa at 02:00 PM * 187 comments

Fedoras: Forever Alone is a loony site. I don’t mean that in a good way. Its proprietor sounds just a bit unbalanced. Here’s her colophon, which on her site is all-caps, centered in a narrow column, and thirty-four lines long:

A compilation of the worst offenders in fashion: Fedora wearers. Here we collect images of the men (mostly) of okcupid who message us while wearing these horrible hats that are an instant deal breaker. A fedora speaks volumes about one’s character. It implies that he is a basement dwelling, live action role playing, no social skills having, complete and utter geek in the worst sense of the word. Nobody looks good in a fedora, but these are the chumps that, not only look bad in them, but have single handedly brought the fedora so far out of fashion that we don’t think that anything will bring them back. Shame on you geeks of America! Here is your wall of shame.
So unpleasant.

In spite of all that spluttering and stereotyping, one thing her photos make clear is that she wouldn’t recognize a geek or a gamer if one bit her. Mind you, I’m fine with her not wanting to date fans. I’m sure they’d find her uncongenial.

Ms. FFA’s problem is that she basically doesn’t like hats — I think there’s a word for that — but she thinks it’s everyone else’s fault. She’s also noticed that not many men look as good in their hats as Humphrey Bogart and Michael Jackson did in theirs, and feels they’re at fault for it. Going by her photos again, her active dislike is given to guys who wear unbecoming hats that are too small for them. This is a trivial problem, not a character flaw. They need bigger hats and better advice.

Thing is, I’ve never seen the fashion industry put warning labels on clothes. It would be nice if they did. For example: “CAUTION: This garment will look catastrophically weird with everything else you own.” They’d be especially useful on stingy-brim fedoras, which look fine on Frank Sinatra, Justin Timberlake, several score black jazz musicians, and almost no one else: “CONSUMER ALERT: If you don’t have the right face for this hat, it will make you look like a dork.”

Porkpie hats, which she can’t tell from fedoras, are even tougher. Lester Young wore one, of course. So did Dizzy Gillespie, when he wasn’t wearing his beret; and Thelonious Monk, who sooner or later wore everything.

The only white guys that ever really rocked a porkpie are Buster Keaton and Walter White. Odds are you don’t look like them. But will a hat salesman breathe a word of warning in your ear? Will he discreetly point out that a hat that rendered Gene Hackman, Paul Newman, and Robert Downey Jr. terminally uncool might need rethinking? He will not. He’ll sell you a hat that makes you look bad enough to make the Baby Jesus cry, and chortle as he wraps it up. There ought to be a law.

On the other hand, it will keep you from getting to know Ms. FFA. Embrace the hat.

Comments on A mysterious hatred of fedoras:
#1 ::: giltay ::: (view all by) ::: October 03, 2012, 03:09 PM:

You know who else doesn't like hats? Joss Whedon. Just sayin'.

As someone who wears a fedora regularly, my only complaint about modern hats is that the fashion leans toward small brims. It's hard enough to find any sort of hat in my size, but I need a wide brim to keep the sun and rain off.

#2 ::: Tracy Lunquist ::: (view all by) ::: October 03, 2012, 03:15 PM:

How can you not love a fedora? Clearly this woman does not understand the essential awesomeness of Agent P, the semi-aquatic egg-laying mammal of action.

#3 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: October 03, 2012, 03:16 PM:

"Pffft! I was into hating fedoras before it was cool!"

But seriously. I don't wear hats for fashion because I have no idea what looks good or bad on me. I wear bland Generally Accepted Wear and hope I've done it right.

I mean, look.

#4 ::: fidelio ::: (view all by) ::: October 03, 2012, 03:18 PM:

I'm thinking the F:FA lady's opinions are going to sit with me as well as those of the person(s) behind the Fuck Your Noguchi Coffee Table tumblr does. I'm sure it will be a comfort to a lot of men to know they can escape her attentions by running out and acquiring a hat, because she probably has a lot of other ideas about how they should live their lives that could get old fast in a relationship.

I must admit to prejudice here, as I have a lot of hats. I might even have too many hats, although my instincts cry out against this notion. I've even been know to decorate my own, and am about to go nuts applying colorful felt doodads to a cheap black felt fedora of the narrow-brim school. Because I can.

It's true that not every man will look as good as Jimmy Cagney, Humphrey Bogart, Harrison Ford, or Duke Ellington (among others) in a hat, but it's a shame more people don't wear hats. They're very useful. They keep your head warm, help prevent skin cancer by acting as a barrier between solar UV light and your face, and can help conceal hair issues of one kind and another. They can also be used, if you know what you're doing, to enhance your personal style.

In keeping with that last point, let me emphasize what Teresa has said: Not every hat will look good on everyone. If you want to buy and wear a hat, try on several different styles, and take a good long look at yourself in the hat, not just at the hat alone, because you can be seduced by the mythos adhering to a specific hat style if you are firm with yourself.

There are a lot of things that sound like a good idea in theory but don't work on every person who wears them, like double-breasted jackets, navy blue, sleeveless sheath-style dresses, leather motocycle jackets (the famed Perfecto, especially), bright red lipstick, crew-necked t-shirts, high-heeled shoes, babydoll dresses, cowboy boots, surplice front dresses, and several different types of hat. That doesn't make these bad; it means that some of us don't look as good in them as we do in other things.

Years and years ago, my mother picked up a copy of Genevieve Dariaux's book Elegance. In among a lot of advice that's dated now (and some that isn't), was a theme: Before you buy it, be sure you like the way you look in it, and not just the way you imagine you look in it, the way other people look in it, or the way you used to look in it. That advice is never going to go out of date.

#5 ::: Q. Pheevr ::: (view all by) ::: October 03, 2012, 03:25 PM:

I dunno. The impression I get from the site is less loony and more tongue-in-cheek, or perhaps I'm just optimistically assuming a higher degree of self-awareness. Distinctly over the top, sure, but maybe that's what it was aiming for? And the uppercase rant is indeed a rant, but it seems to be the rant of someone who has mistakenly inserted a rant into a slot in a Tumblr template that was designed for a short tagline, rather than the rant of someone who actually thinks that ranting in all capitals in a 230-pixel-wide column is a good way to rant per se, if you see what I mean.

#6 ::: Renatus ::: (view all by) ::: October 03, 2012, 03:42 PM:

This is one of those things that's going to make marginally more sense if you hang out in places that are primarily frequented by pretty young people (late teens to early 20s young). I've gathered that a sizable group of young fedora wearers is a particular type of guy who styles himself as very intellectual and very with it in terms of social issues, and isn't actually very much of either. They generally have a massive dose of Nice Guy Syndrome, to boot. The problem isn't that these guys wear fedoras, it's that their adoption of fedoras has sadly made the hats associated with their obnoxious behavior in the minds of a certain set of young Internet denizens.

This isn't to say that that Tumblr isn't painting with an absurdly broad brush and relying on dumb stereotypes, because it totally is, but there's a bit more of a context than one silly kid being judgmental and rude.

And, as Q. Pheevr says, that isn't actually a rant, but a tagline -- an over-long tagline for that particular template, which defaults to all caps. The blog owner must have messed with it, because the general look and feel is of one of the defaults that isn't anywhere near as squished...

(For the record, I greatly approve of fedoras, even if a lot of young obnoxious Nice Guys wear them. At least they'll look stylish while they're being jerks?)

#7 ::: Zeb Ambrose ::: (view all by) ::: October 03, 2012, 03:44 PM:

There's a raging discussion going on at Metafilter about that tumblr and related sites. Topics mentioned include fashion as communication, pick up artist culture, the Jughead Hat, Nice Guy syndrome, hat etiquette, Richard Hamming, trilbies as a proper subset of fedoras, the 1922 Straw Hat Riots, and a field guide to distinguishing balmorals, tams and berets.

I was intrigued to discover that fedora and trilby both take their names from plays. Trilby is also known for the name of its villain.

#8 ::: Caroline ::: (view all by) ::: October 03, 2012, 03:45 PM:

In general I find hats on men to be very attractive. So when I first heard about this site, I thought "WTF."

But the recent BoingBoing article about it clarified things for me somewhat. Short version: In the world of online dating, fedora-wearing is highly correlated with being a Nice Guy (TM) or a PUA. And yeah, when I think about it from that perspective? I definitely know That Guy. I've met quite a few of That Guy.

There's a really unpleasant streak of geek-hating that got worked in here -- geeks are not necessarily Nice Guys (TM) and Nice Guys (TM) are not necessarily geeks. At all. The site owner seems to be intending to mock the Nice Guys (TM) and PUAs, but totally conflates those groups with geeks. Which, no.

My conclusion is: Mocking people who deserve mockery because they are being jerks, yay. Conflating jerks with geeks and mis-aiming mockery at geeks, boo.

And wearing a nice hat with a nice suit? Very yay.

#9 ::: skzb ::: (view all by) ::: October 03, 2012, 03:46 PM:

Aw, c'mon. Anyone who'd wear a hat is obviously lame.

#10 ::: Caroline is gnomed ::: (view all by) ::: October 03, 2012, 03:48 PM:

Out of delicious edibles for the moment, more's the pity.

#11 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: October 03, 2012, 03:48 PM:

I look absolutely dorky in most hats, not to mention the issue of having Hat Hair when you take them off. But at the RenFaire I wear costumes with hats, because they shade my eyes.

Sometimes I try on hats for the sheer amusement factor of looking at myself in the mirror and seeing how horrible they make me look. :-)

#12 ::: giltay, speaker-to-gnomes ::: (view all by) ::: October 03, 2012, 03:52 PM:

Looks like I'm creating extra work for the gnomes again. I don't have much food at hand, but I can offer a black fedora that's a little too small for me.

#13 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: October 03, 2012, 04:09 PM:

giltay @12:

The gnomes love your Twitter account. They adore it. They want hats made out of it.

#14 ::: rea ::: (view all by) ::: October 03, 2012, 04:16 PM:

I think we're discovering a corollary of Rule 34 here--a sort of Rule 34a. If it exists, there's porn on the internet about it (34). And if it exists, there's somebody on the internet who's digusted by it (34a).

#15 ::: Christopher B. Wright ::: (view all by) ::: October 03, 2012, 04:22 PM:

I have a crumpled fedora that was given to me by a friend when I didn't win a "pulp fiction writing contest" (the first prize was a crumpled fedora). I only wear it when I'm writing, but I do wear it.

I am warmed by her hatred and disdain.

#16 ::: giltay ::: (view all by) ::: October 03, 2012, 04:26 PM:

abi @ 13: Gotcha. I will print out my Twitter feed and make a paper hat out of it. And I will change my URL to my new tumblr, Twitterhats: Forever Begnomed.

It's too bad that the fedora is associated with Nice Guys. Maybe it's time to bust out the homburg (except that rain makes it sad).

#17 ::: Cadbury Moose ::: (view all by) ::: October 03, 2012, 04:27 PM:

I cannot embrace the hat: it would squash and it's a nice grey fedora.

#18 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: October 03, 2012, 04:28 PM:

skzb #9: *snort*

I have taken to wearing a Panama in summer and a gambler in winter. Mainly because I don't particularly like the look of fedoras on me,* think stetsons are too large (and for wannabe cowboys, which I am not), and think that homburgs make me look like a rabbi at a funeral (plus my father had a homburg, which is a dealbreaker).

#19 ::: Theophylact ::: (view all by) ::: October 03, 2012, 04:29 PM:

I think hats are cool. I have dozens.

But then there's hat hair, so I hardly ever wear any of them.

#20 ::: Aubergino the Eggplant Boy ::: (view all by) ::: October 03, 2012, 04:31 PM:

I love that the F:FA colophon screams “NO CAPS!” in all-caps.

Was going to make a case for boaters being porkpies, and Harold Lloyd looking good in them, but you know what? The boater (and outsize glasses) looked absurd on him, which I suspect was part of the point. A sort of clown getup. Fred Astaire could rock a boater, but I can’t imagine anything on his head that would have rendered him undashing or undapper.

#21 ::: Fade Manley ::: (view all by) ::: October 03, 2012, 04:33 PM:

I have taken to wearing goofy hats of varying floppiness during the summer, because it's either that or hide inside away from the sunlight, hissing at any windows with insufficient blinds. But I still cherish this distant fondness that some day, somehow, somewhere, I will discover a hat I look good in.

I'm pretty sure the fedora isn't it.

#22 ::: autographedcat (Rob Wynne) ::: (view all by) ::: October 03, 2012, 04:37 PM:

I rather like the way I look in my hat. And so, I have it on good authority, do the several women I am dating.

#23 ::: Steve with a book ::: (view all by) ::: October 03, 2012, 04:44 PM:

The Metafilter coverage of this was quite an eye-opener when I read it yesterday. I don't wear a fedora, I wear a thermal-fabric woolly shapeless thing that makes me look like an idiot but keeps my head warm, but it was disconcerting to learn that so much is read into what I just thought of as an old-fashioned sort of hat with no particular connotations. If I did buy a 'proper' hat, the style would probably be a quite arbitrary or whimsical choice, and God alone knows what signals I'd inadvertently send out.

"We're born naked, and the rest is drag."

Languagehat on the origin of the word 'Fedora'—an interesting story.

#24 ::: Q. Pheevr ::: (view all by) ::: October 03, 2012, 04:57 PM:

fidelio, at #4: "Before you buy it, be sure you like the way you look in it, and not just the way you imagine you look in it, the way other people look in it, or the way you used to look in it."

That is indeed wise and timeless advice, although if I followed it strictly I might not actually ever buy any clothing at all.

#25 ::: David Weingart ::: (view all by) ::: October 03, 2012, 05:02 PM:

I think that the little hipster hat look is silly, but that may be because I've tried fedoras and trilbies and find that they don't suit me. I have a rather beaten and stained Tilley T3 that I wear when I go hiking and I'll sometimes grab a baseball cap when I'm out in the sun (there's much less hair on top than I used to have).

I'll note that my girlfriend HATES my hiking hat precisely because it's so beat-up and stained and I look even less fashionable than normal when I wear it.

#26 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: October 03, 2012, 05:04 PM:

That is indeed wise and timeless advice, although if I followed it strictly I might not actually ever buy any clothing at all.

That's my solution. What little clothing I buy is utilitarian at best, and I've given up on looking good in anything, ever.

#27 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker To Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: October 03, 2012, 05:15 PM:

Hats appear to be slowly coming back on TV. Matt Bomer of "White Collar" looks good in them.

And as one person who enjoys wearing hats (my favorite is a wool Stetson that I've had for more than 15 years now), I can tell you that it is possible to find a hat salesman who won't try to sell you the first thing you look at. I've bought a lot of hats from John Helmer in Portland, and liked them all.

#28 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: October 03, 2012, 05:16 PM:

I have my own hat issues: no hat marketed to women is going to fit me, and cute little close-fitting hats look dreadful on me. These issues are related. On the other hand, the broader the brim, the better it suits. There's no substitute for taking a long hard look at yourself in the mirror.

Q. Pheevr, Renatus, Caroline: nice distinctions.

I've met plenty of those men in my time. Few of them were living in their parents' basement. Denouncing them for being gamers or geeks makes no sense, unless that's FFA's idea of the ultimate put-down.

Stefan: I see. You'll have to test this proposition, but I think you should try a Terry Pratchett-style fedora in a neutral medium shade.

Great accessorizing with that rocket.

skzb: I've been mulling it over, and I think the Garibaldi Guards had the best hat on the field. They'd adopted the Bersaglieri hat, which is so cool that the Bersaglieri still wear it.

#29 ::: crow ::: (view all by) ::: October 03, 2012, 05:30 PM:

Frank Sinatra, some decades ago, did rock a porkpie hat at times, as did Bing Crosby. Neither of them notably lost sex-appeal points for doing so, as I recall.

I like wearing fedoras in suitable seasons for them; the brim keeps the rain from falling on the eye side of my glasses, which is always annoying, and a couple of small plastic combs sewn into the inside band will keep it on my head in most weather up to windstorms. These days it alternates with the Civil War -recreation black slouch hat, aka gambler hat, but I am always on the lookout for a good felt fedora that feels right.

#30 ::: BSD ::: (view all by) ::: October 03, 2012, 05:32 PM:

I was about to say "I think it's because MRAs wear fedoras," but someone else covered the "PUAs and Nice Guys wear fedoras" angle, and they're really all just heads of the same hydra. If I had to guess, I'd guess that these fellows decide that it can't possibly be their completely unhidden misogyny and sex-entitledness that turns women away, but rather their lack of a hat, like the guys had back when men were men etc etc.

In fact, I strongly correlate hats with douchebaggery, not geekery. I can only think of two habitually hat-wearing geeks off the top of my head, and both are pretty cool dudes, one happily married for decades the other a bi furry nondouchebag. When I think of fedora/trilby/porkpie hats and the like, I think "dressed-up-fratrat", not "geek".

#31 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: October 03, 2012, 05:32 PM:

I don't look bad in hats necessarily, I just don't like them. Except in winter. When it's cold outside, I am all about warm, dorky-looking hats with earflaps.

#32 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: October 03, 2012, 05:36 PM:

BSD, I see you haven't run into Fragano or skzb at conventions.

#33 ::: Jim Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: October 03, 2012, 05:39 PM:

Everyone looks good in a Stetson.

#34 ::: Doug K ::: (view all by) ::: October 03, 2012, 05:41 PM:

it's been a real education.. all this news: the semiotics of fedoras, Nice Guys as distinct from nice guys, involuntary celibacy, the golly. I'm going to crawl back under my rock now.

Terry Pratchett said of his fedora,
"the hat is a Zen disguise - when I take it off, no-one knows who I am". I like that approach..

My own hat is a stained and weary bush hat in cotton canvas, used as a sun/rain shade on weekend excursions. One of the consolations of growing older is that I really don't care what it looks like..

#35 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: October 03, 2012, 05:42 PM:

Nobody looks good in a fedora

For example, Henry Jones Jr...

#36 ::: Rob Rusick ::: (view all by) ::: October 03, 2012, 05:43 PM:

I have a hat I was found of — I've heard it described as a panama hat, and it does resemble hats of that type, though this one is made of canvas rather than woven straw.

Before I got into the habit of wearing a bike helmet, I used to use it while bicycling in the rain to keep the water off my glasses, and bicycling at night to keep the automobile hi-beams out of my eyes. And it did look striking with my light colored London Fog rain coat (also beneficial for night riding). The coat by itself suggested Lieutenant Columbo; with the hat the look was more Inspector Gadget.

It used to be snug — nowdays it is as tight as a tension headache. I'm skeptical that the hat could have shrunk much; I suspect my skull has gotten larger over the past 20 years.

#37 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: October 03, 2012, 05:51 PM:

They will pry my pith helmet from my cold dead fingers.

#38 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: October 03, 2012, 06:02 PM:

Then there's Neil Gaiman, whose hat has its own Twitter account.

#39 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: October 03, 2012, 06:02 PM:

I'm surprised that no one has mentioned the (to me) quintessential fedora.

#40 ::: Joseph M. ::: (view all by) ::: October 03, 2012, 06:06 PM:

I wear hats when I can, but I consider carefully before I do: there are fewer and fewer good places to put your hat if you take it off inside (which I do, consistently: Dad taught me that), and you have to consider not just that you're comfortable with how you look in the hat, but that you'll be comfortable having people looking at you wearing the hat.

Steve@23: I have a friend who has, and wears, a bowler, purchased almost entirely due to whimsy. It is a good style for him, and no one else I have ever met.

Jim@33: What a timely piece of advice: I just got a gift certificate to our local hat store for my birthday.

#41 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: October 03, 2012, 06:24 PM:

rea, #14: That's actually Rule 34b. Rule 34a is "If it exists, there is porn of it made in Japan." :-)

Christopher, #15: That was a very peculiar mental image, until I looked at a couple of Zeb's links at #7 and discovered that a trilby hat is sometimes called a "crumpled fedora"!

Bruce, #27: Not to me. Between the hat and the skinny necktie, he looks like he's cosplaying gangsta. And he's just too white and nerdy for that to work. :-) Which is a shame, because he is sorta cute.

In fact, now that I think about it, a lot of hats come across as cosplaying to me, no matter who's wearing them.

#42 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: October 03, 2012, 06:35 PM:

TNH, 28: Holy cats. The Bersaglieri are so badass that they wear their badass hats while playing bugles WHILE RUNNING.

Yeah, I'd date one.

#43 ::: Bill Higgins-- Beam Jockey ::: (view all by) ::: October 03, 2012, 06:51 PM:

I may need instruction, because I am familiar only with the non-ironic meaning of "Nice Guy."

#44 ::: Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little ::: (view all by) ::: October 03, 2012, 06:53 PM:

#22 ::: autographedcat (Rob Wynne) ::: I rather like the way I look in my hat. And so, I have it on good authority, do the several women I am dating.

Could there be a mild correlation between polyamory and Rocking The Hat? I can only offer the datapoint that my husband and two of the gals he dates all three look stunning in the various hats they choose to wear.

I'm the odd one out. I cannot rock hats. All headwear, be it a decorative hat or a warm wooly hat or a hoodie or a hooded scarf or a bicycle helmet or even my fantastically decorated roller derby helmet, immediately renders my face doofy. The only thing headwear I can seem to rock is my own darn hair.

Perhaps, should I wind up in a romantic relationship other than the one with my husband, I shall also -- by virtue of the Practicing Polyamorist Correlation -- attain the ability to Rock The Hat. I shall try to remember to take notes, should this happen.

#45 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: October 03, 2012, 06:58 PM:

Bill: Nice Guy Syndrome My only complaint with the "Nice Guys" I've dealt with is that they can't make a freakin' decision.

"You wanna date me? Ask. You wanna break up? Go away." Sheesh.

#46 ::: Megpie71 ::: (view all by) ::: October 03, 2012, 07:05 PM:

I have to admit, I've never really been a "hat person" - mostly because I suffer from the family problem of having what my mother described as "a head like a boarding-house pudding" (large skull). So for me the trickiest bit in the whole hat-finding process is the most important: finding something that fits on my scone.

Once I've started doing that (and thus reduced the available selection of an entire hat shop to about three candidates, all of which look more or less hideous) it's just a matter of considering which one is either a) within my budget at that point, or b) the least hideous on. By which time the available choices have reduced to zero. [wry]Problem solved[/wry].

As an Aussie, I think my next hat purchase is going to be an Akubra, or possibly a slouch hat. Something with a broad brim that keeps the sun off, anyway.

#47 ::: j h woodyatt ::: (view all by) ::: October 03, 2012, 07:10 PM:

I am dismayed to learn of this phenomenon and further saddened to read the comments here and learn of the likely explanations for it. I love all my hats, including my fedora, and I don't think they look bad on me at all. I have a high forehead, and the hats keep me from sunburning my scalp. I have a long face and a strong jaw, so the "good advice" apparently is that I should choose a fedora, which I have. Now I come to find this makes me look stupid.

It also happens that I am neither a "pick-up artist," nor a very nice guy— much less a Nice Guy™— so it pains me to consider giving up my hats to avoid making a poor first impression.

Okay. Done thinking about it.

I'm changing my okcupid profile to have a picture of an octopus. I'm sure that will greatly increase my odds of scoring a date with her or one of her readers.

#48 ::: Tracy Lunquist ::: (view all by) ::: October 03, 2012, 07:11 PM:

I just recently had an opportunity to wear the best hat I own, which experience reminded me that I really ought to wear it more often. It's an Akubra, sort of like this one, only made from kangaroo felt, with a kangaroo leather band, a small opal accent and a few small feathers that might be from an emu (I forget).

It is a truly excellent hat and a lovely reminder of the 1999 Worldcon. I'm sure it is designed to survive getting wet, so I ought to stop fretting about wearing it out in the winter.

#49 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker To Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: October 03, 2012, 07:27 PM:

Tracy Lundquist @ 48:

Nice hat. I have owned a couple Akubras over the years, though I don't have one at the moment. I like them for hiking, especially in the rainy season, but unfortunately my hiking days are pretty much over.

Jacque @ 39:

I think that hat was chosen primarily to accessorize the scarf.

#50 ::: Mycroft W ::: (view all by) ::: October 03, 2012, 07:44 PM:

skzb: okay, *that* just broke my snark-o-meter.

Fedora, I can pull off. Probably prop 375 in my Nice Guy statbook (luckily, I'm also a nice guy, and as long as someone's willing to ask herself - because I can't even ask for *cookies* - it works well).

Baseball cap, though, makes me look 100.00% dork. No ball cap = about 96% dork, I do realize (girlfriend and mother's opinion notwithstanding), but that's bearable.

Of course, with winter coming, it's time to start looking like a round ambulatory lump again.

#51 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: October 03, 2012, 08:15 PM:

I like hats. I have more than a few. A Bowler, a leather stetson (flat-topped, by Minnetonka), a felt stetson/fedora thing (think vaguely Indy), a lot of berets.

I have a silk opera hat, a "bus driver" hat for my Dress Blues, a "garrison/fore and aft cap which I can wear with my Dress Greens/Ike Jacket. I have some patrol caps, a newsie cap, a felt flat cap, a winter tilly (black wool), a leather flat cap (16th century), and a campaign hat (Smokey the Bear).

That's 14 different styles of hat; and probably about 24 instances.

I have worn the helmet of the Bersagleri; who have a fez for everyday wear. When they pass in review they do it at a run, so in parades they have to be given an extra doubling of distance so they don't run over the unit in front of them. The officers don't wear the fez in everyday wear, they wear a beret*

I want one of their fez.

I pretty much don't leave the house without a hat.

I also have some helmets, and keeping a hat on the bike, so I can have one when I dismount is important.

The important thing, for me, is the brim. Trilbys and I don't get on.

*The Italian Army has an interesting tradition for officers. They wear the cap badge of their first unit of assignment for their entire career. When they get transferred to a new unit they wear the badge of that unit as well. If they are wearing only they are new, have never been transferred, or have managed to get transferred back.

#52 ::: Harry Connolly ::: (view all by) ::: October 03, 2012, 08:39 PM:

I assert the Kolchak made his porkpie hat work.

#53 ::: Harry Connolly ::: (view all by) ::: October 03, 2012, 08:39 PM:

I assert that Kolchak made his porkpie hat work.

#54 ::: Zeb Ambrose ::: (view all by) ::: October 03, 2012, 08:50 PM:

Nicole @44: As always, correlation does not equal causation, but keep us informed of further research!

Nicole @46: Akubra does make some rather large hats, up to a brobdingnagian 65 cm (US 8⅛) in some styles.

#55 ::: Zeb Ambrose ::: (view all by) ::: October 03, 2012, 08:54 PM:

And by Nicole @46, I of course mean Megpie. We regret the error.

#56 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: October 03, 2012, 08:55 PM:

Fezzes! Fezzes are coo— *blam!*

OK, no fezzes.

Stetsons! Stetsons are coo— *blam!*


#57 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: October 03, 2012, 09:01 PM:

does she have a hatred of red hats?

#58 ::: Sarah ::: (view all by) ::: October 03, 2012, 09:01 PM:

#34 Doug K

"the hat is a Zen disguise - when I take it off, no-one knows who I am"

My spouse has a Deerstalker of Visibility. He's had to remove it a few times in public to escape the attention of someone he'd rather not speak to.

#59 ::: Sarah ::: (view all by) ::: October 03, 2012, 09:04 PM:

Keaton's porkpie was actually a modded Stetson. Here's his how-to.

#60 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: October 03, 2012, 09:13 PM:

My grandfather wore hats outdoors all the time. (I think we have maybe three pictures of him without a hat.)

#61 ::: Mary Frances ::: (view all by) ::: October 03, 2012, 09:21 PM:

Jim @33: I agree. My father wore Stetsons.

#62 ::: Vicki ::: (view all by) ::: October 03, 2012, 09:30 PM:

I have had various hats I like, and lost all of them. Left on buses, on park benches (as best as I can reconstruct), in restaurants, and so on.

A couple of years ago my girlfriend got me eight knit hats (I think I have four black, two white, and two navy blue), on the theory that it would take me a while to lose all eight. I stuffed one each in three different coat pockets, pull them out and wear them as needed, and haven't lost one yet.

This solves the problem of cold ears, at least. It does nothing for style, however, nor does it keep the sun out of my eyes.

#63 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: October 03, 2012, 09:48 PM:

Oh... I forgot the watch caps and crocheted hats I was made.

So bring the styles to 16, and the number to more like 30.

I didn't know I had so many.

#64 ::: Don Simpson ::: (view all by) ::: October 03, 2012, 10:09 PM:

A. To me, all clothing is cosplay. And makes a statement. And sometimes I really care what the statement is, and other times I mainly care if it's functional.

B. I have a canvas field hat that I am told looks good on me, and it keeps the rain off. And I have a bowler that I only wear with a three piece suit. And I have assorted occasional hats.

C. I think Steve Brust looks very stevebrustish in his Steve Brust hat.

#65 ::: Matt McIrvin ::: (view all by) ::: October 03, 2012, 11:02 PM:

I think Matt Drudge has a lot to answer for.

#66 ::: Matt McIrvin ::: (view all by) ::: October 03, 2012, 11:09 PM:

I wear a Tilley in the sun because baldness. I like Tilleys a lot; this latest one, I even have managed not to lose over a whole summer. Before that, for a while I wore a floppy fishing hat that made me look like Gilligan.

I think that in the parallel universe where I actually had the occasion and the will to use a dating site, I would not wear my hat in the profile photo, first because the Tilley is inherently a dorky-looking hat, and second because it would scream "trying to hide his baldness" which I decided long ago was the last thing I wanted to do. Bald guys wearing hats all day long indoors so as not to look bald are almost as sad as sad combover guys.

#67 ::: meredith ::: (view all by) ::: October 03, 2012, 11:15 PM:

Wow. I know many professional musicians who would take exception with that opinion, as well. Lots of hot musicians are rocking the fedora these days.

#68 ::: Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little ::: (view all by) ::: October 03, 2012, 11:15 PM:

#54 ::: Zeb Ambrose ::: As always, correlation does not equal causation, but keep us informed of further research!

But of course! FOR SCIENCE!!!

#69 ::: Avram ::: (view all by) ::: October 03, 2012, 11:30 PM:

The men's fashion blog Put This On often makes me wish I could afford to invest in spiffy new clothing. Their post about Non-Douchey Hats says that your hat has to work with the rest of your clothing. If your general attire is weak, the hat will make it weaker. A good one will either be vintage, or cost a lot. Also: A too-thin brim is douchey, a too-wide brim is dorky.

Bonus for old-time rec.arts.sf.fandom readers: See the link in that post that says "the black duster"? Click it. That guy? Mark Atwood.

#70 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: October 03, 2012, 11:49 PM:

Bill, #43: I had something to say about Niceguy Syndrome* here, which includes links to a couple of other posts you may find enlightening. Also, obXKCD.

* I prefer to run "nice guy" together when I'm talking about the not-so-nice version, just to reduce the chances of confusion.

#71 ::: UrsulaV ::: (view all by) ::: October 03, 2012, 11:55 PM:

My boyfriend, being bald and living in a sunny climate with a convertible is a great wearer of hats. Apparently you only need to sunburn your entire scalp once.

I actually look pretty good in hats, but they make me self-conscious unless it's winter. Then I try to wear very silly hats. My current favorite is a very cheerful fleece shark chewing on my head. Somehow the fact that it's ridiculous makes it okay and I'm not constantly adjusting it.

#72 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: October 03, 2012, 11:56 PM:

Also, KeithS in a fedora. This is his standard outdoors hat, and I think he rocks it.

#73 ::: Steve Smith ::: (view all by) ::: October 03, 2012, 11:57 PM:

Hats. Sigh. I hate wearing a hat; unfortunately, my lack of (ahem!) built-in sun protection makes it a requirement outdoors. If I'm going to have to wear one of the durn things, it at least has to keep the sun and rain out of my eyes and off the back of my neck. Shading my ears is also good*. In colder weather, I wear a broad-brim fedora**. I have gotten complements while wearing one, including from strangers, so I assume I look OK in one.

For a while, I wore a military surplus Swiss army hat. It was heavy wool, had usable ear flaps, and was very well made. I got some *very* hairy eyeballs while wearing it -- seems it looks 'way too much like a WWII German hat.

I am an Official Old Phart, and I think that anybody who'd wear a hat for their primary picture on a dating site is going to have other issues.

* A neighbor of mine is a dermatologist. Listening to him hold forth on the subject of hats is educational. He's also a redhead, so he has more than an academic interest in sun protection.

** I have several, including a Henry Jones, Jr. signature model that, sadly, doesn't fit very well. Suggestions on how to make it fit better seem to involve either staples or thumbtacks.

#74 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: October 04, 2012, 01:21 AM:

Steve Smith @ 73... I seem to remember some behind-the-scenes film footage where Henry Jones Jr was seen using a stapler to keep the darn thing from flying off his head and from ruining a scene.

#75 ::: Lawrence ::: (view all by) ::: October 04, 2012, 01:27 AM:

My only problem with fedoras is that mine wore out, and I can't find a good replacement at a price I'm willing to pay.

And they should have wide brims.

#76 ::: Kevin Riggle ::: (view all by) ::: October 04, 2012, 01:49 AM:

I like hats. You can tell because I wear one. (That hat: sadly lost. I need to replace it.)

Most people look good in a fedora. I presume Ms. F:FA's problem is that she does not look good in a fedora. It's okay -- more for me. (The people she's rejecting on OKCupid? It's okay -- more for me. Well, okay, some of them have other issues. The boy I am dating? Looks good in a fedora.)

May I take a moment to plug my favorite hat shop? Paul's Hat Works, Geary Boulevard, San Francisco, California

They won't tell you the first hat you put on looks great on you. They've got a machine like a steampunk brainwashing helmet they'll put on you to recollect the outline of your skull at the hat-line, so they can make you hats that fit absolutely perfectly, even if your skull is lumpy like bad mashed potatoes, even if you're on the other side of the continent. Men's and women's hats. Run by four women, Pauls One through Four. They reblocked the hat I'm wearing above, plus a genuine Panama hat my sister brought me back from Ecuador (yes, really). You want a real beaver-felt hat? They'll do it for you. Seriously brilliant, seriously good work. Once I feel like I can splurge, I'm getting them to replace my lost hat.

Anyway. Fedoras are cool.

#77 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: October 04, 2012, 01:56 AM:

Don Simpson @64 -- And every Saturday morning, he reads the Sunday News?

#78 ::: Anna Feruglio Dal Dan ::: (view all by) ::: October 04, 2012, 03:32 AM:

Teresa, the Bersaglieri are (unfairly, IMO) considered the epitome of uncool among Italian armed forces. One of my boyfriends did his national service in them and seemed to regard it as a particular low of his life. For some reason they don't march, they jog jauntily, so as to make all those nice feathers wave. People find this hilarious. I admit to be rather fond of an infantry that jogs jauntily instead of goose stepping.

#79 ::: Anna Feruglio Dal Dan ::: (view all by) ::: October 04, 2012, 03:35 AM:

Terry @51: thank you for that info, I didn't know. I am amused. :-)

#80 ::: Bruce Baugh ::: (view all by) ::: October 04, 2012, 04:16 AM:

Teresa, the thing that most fascinates me here is your comment about size, and in particular about many men wearing hats that are too small for them. The reason this fascinates me is how it directly resonates with the single best nice-dressing tip I ever got, from a guy working the big-and-tall counter at JCPenney. Said he:

Many men buy their dress shirts too small. Get the tape measure's appraisal of your neck circumference, and then buy your shirts an inch larger than that.

I did this, and it made a real world of difference. Ties became comfortable to wear. My breathing was better. And the lack of constriction at the collar made a difference all the way down in how the shirt fits, and how a coat or jacket looks over it.

So what I now want to know is just how it's apparently become normal across several apparel slots to encourage men to get stuff that's not actually big enough for them.

#81 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: October 04, 2012, 04:49 AM:

My problem there is that the shirt companies don't seem to think that necks come as thick as mine. If I buy a shirt that fits my neck, the sleeves hang down over my hands. (I did buy a couple of such shirts, and had the sleeves altered. But still.)

#82 ::: heckblazer ::: (view all by) ::: October 04, 2012, 05:14 AM:

Apparently pick-up artist advice books recommend something called "peacocking", wherein the would-be artist wears a distinctive item of clothing to act as a conversation starter. If fedoras have become popular among the guys who read those books I can understand the hats picking up negative connotations.

I myself wear hats to keep my head cool in summer and warm in winter. I'm balding and burn super-easy, so hats are pretty much a necessity. I'm particularly fond of tweed caps, but I also have a trilby (it looks almost exactly like the picture in the Wikipedia article), a knock-off panama made from woven paper, plus sundry wool hats that are just plain warm.

#83 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: October 04, 2012, 08:25 AM:

Bruce Baugh #80: So what I now want to know is just how it's apparently become normal across several apparel slots to encourage men to get stuff that's not actually big enough for them.

Increased gender equality? :-> That's been normal for women for several decades now.

#84 ::: Fox ::: (view all by) ::: October 04, 2012, 08:52 AM:

I have an unusually (deceptively) large head, but hats - when they fit - suit me. It's just finding the ones that fit.

Couple of years ago some teammates were trying to do a costume thing that involved two-dollar party-store Tyrolean hats with feathers in, and I told them it was highly likely to sit on top of my head rather than fit over it, and they didn't believe me, and who do you think was right. :-) Especially once they added the yellow-yarn braids, that thing looked even more ridiculous on me than on any of them.

I've occasionally found it interesting that my outside-the-apparently-normal-range head size never makes me frustrated or self-conscious, which of course is the goal w/r/t one's other o-t-a-n-r dimensions but harder to achieve: it's hard to find [x] in my size, my hips are out of proportion with my waist, my feet are wide/narrow/flat/whatever, my legs are short, my arms are long. Maybe it's because in today's fashion climate, a hat is an entirely optional accessory, which is not true of (broadly speaking) clothes and shoes. [ponder]

#85 ::: ajay ::: (view all by) ::: October 04, 2012, 08:57 AM:

It's one of the most appealling bits of Bruce Sterling's "Distraction" that it is set IN A WORLD... WHERE MEN WEAR SERIOUS HATS. /deep trailer voice

There are multiple scenes of characters ensuring to wear hats before emerging in public, or deducing that other characters are losing their grip because they aren't wearing hats.

I was going to make the point that Terry made about the armed forces being the last refuge of the hattophile. Over here it's even more serious because you cannot salute without your hat on, so hats are vital to proper discipline.

#86 ::: Tamlyn ::: (view all by) ::: October 04, 2012, 09:09 AM:

I have a hat. I look like an absolute dork in it, but I have long since decided I would rather look dorky than get a sunburnt head and ears.

Of course, if I knew there was a hat that looked good on me/was able to discern that, I'd probably rather it to looking dorky.

My sister has hat/beanie she wears to the football with large earflaps and the like. Through most of the season people laugh at her. Come winter they offer her money to buy it on the spot.

#87 ::: fidelio ::: (view all by) ::: October 04, 2012, 09:10 AM:

Q. Pheevr @24--There have been years when all the clothing purchases I made were shoe and underwear replacements, for that simple reason. Dear heavens, there are some unappealing clothes out there, and the current craze for droopily limp knits in dead rat colors cannot end too soon.

#88 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: October 04, 2012, 09:13 AM:

Bruce Baugh @80: I'm not convinced. I just measured my neck, and it came out at 15"-and-a-skosh (not quite 1/4"). I usually, when I am buying 'the right size', buy a 15.5" shirt (or, as they are sometimes marked in the lesser brands, a 'medium').

My husband wears a 16-16.5" shirt (with extra-long arms, if he can get them), so I end up wearing them not infrequently, due to joint closet storage.

His shirts are baggy and unattractive on me (as well as the gorilla-arms, which I'm used to). Given the extra circumference of my torso compared to most guys, this is especially impressive. I worked out that 15.5 is 'my size' over several try-on trips to high-end department stores; they just fit better, and they're not so tight in the neck as to cause discomfort when buttoned all the way with a tie.

I should note, my preferred gender presentation is "dapper". Two of my manliness icons/fashion exemplars are Tim Gunn and Clark Kent. I am enough into ties that my husband asks me to dress down for date nights, "so people don't think I'm having dinner with a business major ... or a Mormon missionary." I should note that most Mormon missionary kids should be so lucky as to own a tie collection as cool as mine (also, I don't wear a nametag). :->

I have not yet found my One True Hat, though at the urging of friends I bought a leather .... short-crowned Stetson variant? Something. At the renfaire. I think it's not quite the right shape for my head/face, but it keeps the sun off and is sturdy.

#89 ::: fidelio ::: (view all by) ::: October 04, 2012, 09:15 AM:

Don Simpson @64--I agree with your first statement whole-heartedly, in both parts.

#90 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: October 04, 2012, 09:15 AM:

Also, thanks to a street fair near my office, I once owned a genuine made-from-palm Panama hat and it was AMAZING. It was shiny white, didn't get dirty, was hose-off-able, and folded to a neat little wad for putting in a pocket (while expanding again to uncreased wearability afterwards).

It was also a curvaceous Blossom-esque bonnety thing with a huge flower, so I eventually gave it away. I'd love to have another in the same material, but a style more to my taste. Without spending $200.

#91 ::: Caroline is gnomed ::: (view all by) ::: October 04, 2012, 09:46 AM:

Lee @ 70: I prefer to run "nice guy" together when I'm talking about the not-so-nice version, just to reduce the chances of confusion.

Same reason why I always use "Nice Guy (TM)" -- capitalized and with the (TM) -- when I'm talking about the not-actually-nice guys. One does need some typographical indication of sarcasm.

Actually, these days, when I'm referring to a guy who is genuinely nice, I'm much more likely to say "good guy," as in "Bill Higgins is a really good guy." (See, for example, the Good Guy Greg meme.) This didn't start in reaction to Nice Guys (TM), at least for me; I picked up "good guy" in college, years before I first heard the phrasing Nice Guys (TM).

Regarding hats in general: I think the flat cap or newsboy cap is a very attractive casual hat option, which lends a nice put-together retro air even to a t-shirt and jeans. Keith (my husband) has one that he only breaks out when it really gets cold; on the occasions he wears it, I have an instant "rrrrowr!" reaction.

I also like outback hats for more outdoorsy pursuits, like hiking or gardening. They're like Stetsons, but slightly more chill (at least to my eye).

In general, you should wear the hat rather than letting the hat wear you. A lot of the guys in fedoras on that tumblr are letting the hat wear them.

#92 ::: Fade Manley ::: (view all by) ::: October 04, 2012, 09:47 AM:

My dad wears hats for the baldness/avoiding skin cancer reason, and manages to make them all look classy and fetching, in a nice casual Ready To Go Hiking way. I'm rather impressed at it. These days it's all the sort of thing they sell at stores for outdoor sports, with mesh crowns and special wind holes and so forth, but it used to be very nice Panama hats.

Which he'd buy from the actual makers, since we lived in Ecuador at the time. I remember him demonstrating how he could roll one of those hats up into a super-tight cylinder for packing, and on arrival, unroll it and have it pop back up into perfect, uncreased perfection. He had a special little wooden case for it that way and everything. I'd love to get one of those sorts of hats, but I doubt I could find one in this country for anything like a reasonable price.

#93 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: October 04, 2012, 09:55 AM:

Anna: My first trip to Ukraine there was a company of Bersaglieri playing with us, so I got to hang out with them some. The feathered helmet is a bit distracting to wear.

Kevin Riggle: Panama hats have always been made in Ecuador, and bought/sold in Panama.

Bruce: My problem is that the sizes extrapolated from neck/sleeve assume I am going to be 4-10 inches larger around the chest than I am.

ajay: In the US Army the only time one salutes without a cover is on the rare occaisions it has to be done indoors.

I didn't wear hats (apart from required for costume purposes) until I joined the army. So much time spent with one as a requirement made it something I feel odd without.

#94 ::: Anne Sheller ::: (view all by) ::: October 04, 2012, 10:04 AM:

I have a variety of hats, including a fedora, but the one I wear almost every day is a Greek fisherman's cap, black. I'd much rather adjust a cap than a car visor to keep the sun out of my eyes.

The fedora was bought when I was putting together a vampire gangster costume. It and the shoes were new; all the rest of the clothing came from Goodwill or Salvation Army stores. I had to visit a lot of those to find a man's suit I could wear, but it's a nice charcoal gray pinstripe. The costume doesn't get used often. While I rather like the fedora, occasions to wear it just don't come up.

#95 ::: Dave Luckett ::: (view all by) ::: October 04, 2012, 10:32 AM:

That does it. I'm going out and buying an Akubra. If I'm going to look like Santa Claus anyway, I might as well look like him when he's on his Australian run. (With the sleigh fitted with bull bars and hauled by six white boomers.)

#96 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: October 04, 2012, 11:09 AM:

In regards to the original link, I agree with Teresa that a failure of taste is not a character flaw.

I'll add that promulgating the idea that it's a character flaw is a way of spreading misery, and spreading misery and encouraging others to do so is a character flaw.

There's a thoughtful overview of PUA in Confessions of Pickup Artist Chaser.

The very short version is that PUA is a very splintered and varied group of subcultures, ranging from the benign to the horrendous. A modest dose of PUA can be useful for men who are afraid to talk to women they're attracted to, but spending much time in the culture can cause an unduly strategic approach to relationships.

#97 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: October 04, 2012, 11:11 AM:

My offer to the gnomes has been gnomed.

#98 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: October 04, 2012, 11:14 AM:

Matt McIrvin (66): When I was having chemo, I wore a hat* all the time to hide my baldness. But that's not quite what you meant. :)

That's when I (re)discovered that I'm just not a hat person.

*I didn't want to wear a wig and, while I admire women who just go bald in that situation, I would have felt too exposed. Plus it was winter.

#99 ::: Paul A. ::: (view all by) ::: October 04, 2012, 11:17 AM:

The hat rack by my front door is currently supporting seven hats (as well as an overcoat, a scarf, a pair of gloves, an umbrella I'd completely forgotten I had because between the overcoat and my primary hat I don't need it, a bag full of bags, and the elevated end of the radio aerial).

In this climate, wearing a hat is just plain sense. (Though, that said, I didn't become a happy regular hat wearer until well into adulthood, and the thing that tipped me over was the sun in my eyes as I walked to work, which apparently is not such a common factor these days.)

My primary hat is an Akubra, because this is Australia and that was what I found when I went looking for a hat with a broad brim to keep the weather off. My secondary outdoorsy hat is a Tilley, mostly used on occasions where whatever hat I'm wearing is at notable risk of getting wet, squished, or subjected to other indignities that the Akubra wouldn't stand for. Both were chosen for practicality and I've never given all that much thought to how they suit me or the rest of my wardrobe. (The rest of the wardrobe has been significantly overhauled at least once during the Akubra's lifetime, anyway.)

For more dressy occasions, I have a black trilby. Somebody mentioned cosplay: I originally bought it for a costume party, which I attended as One Of The Blues Brothers (I couldn't decide which I most resembled, so I left it as an exercise for the beholder).

I have actually been in a shop that sold the official Henry Jones Jr. fedora, but I have to admit I wasn't terribly impressed with it up close; if I ever do get a fedora, it's not going to be one of those.

#100 ::: Q. Pheevr ::: (view all by) ::: October 04, 2012, 11:18 AM:

heckblazer, at #82: "Apparently pick-up artist advice books recommend something called 'peacocking', wherein the would-be artist wears a distinctive item of clothing to act as a conversation starter. If fedoras have become popular among the guys who read those books I can understand the hats picking up negative connotations."

This strikes me as cause for optimism. Once the fedora reaches a certain level of popularity, it will lose its peacocking value, and then the rest of us can wear it with impunity. The peacocks will be forced to find something more distinctive, like maybe the Phrygian cap. (They can share it with the Smurves.)

#101 ::: Fred ::: (view all by) ::: October 04, 2012, 11:43 AM:

*facepalm* At least I have the comfort of knowing I was wearing a fedora before they became This Week's Thing.

#102 ::: Kelly McCullough ::: (view all by) ::: October 04, 2012, 11:47 AM:

Ooh, the dress shirt subthread that starts at 80 has drawn me out of my lurking hole. I find that the oversized neck thing will almost work for me if I'm buying an athletic cut shirt, or a shirt somewhere in Europe, or, ideally, a European athletic cut shirt. If I'm buying a standard American dress shirt it's a disaster.

This is because I'm a weightlifter and a runner and my ancestors were apparently designed for walking through brick walls. The combination of 17-1/2" neck and a 36" waist is not something apparently allowed for in American men's fashion. The 10—30 extra inches at the waist is the worst of it, but basically, if it fits my neck it's baggy all the way down from there. Since my day job involves sitting on a couch making things up, my solution is mostly to avoid dress shirts like the plague. But it would be nice if I could reliably find shirts that fit that weren't made out of stretch fabrics.

On the hat front, my wife and I are both unrepentant addicts. Our back hallway has three rows of 8 hat hooks each and a shelf for fancier models. But then, she's a redhead and I'm bald, and staying out of the sun is of more than academic interest to both of us.

#103 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: October 04, 2012, 11:50 AM:

Fade Manley @92:

Travelsmith carries several packable Panama hats, this is the one I have.

I sunburn easily and have been unable to find a sunscreen that does not behave like a chemical peel when applied to my skin. So a hat is necessary a good part of the year.

#104 ::: Kelly McCullough is gnomed ::: (view all by) ::: October 04, 2012, 11:52 AM:

I think I have some gluten free cookies around here somewhere. Or, if the cats will let me get up, I could run up to our local chocolatier… Not sure what I did, perhaps too many mentions of shirts?

#105 ::: Ulrika ::: (view all by) ::: October 04, 2012, 11:59 AM:

I had heard somewhere recently in passing that the Young Things of Teh Internets had decided that brimmed hats in general and fedoras in particular were a portent of various sorts of unsavory personal traits and was flabbergasted. My thanks to the various pointers in comments for helping me get contextualized on that. My experience is so otherwise that I would never have figured it out on my own.

Among the young folk on the UW main campus, the narrow-brimmed Rat Pack style trilby fedora has been very popular as a fashion accessory for style-conscious folk of all genders, many of whom coordinate them to the rest of their accessories well enough that they really rock the hat. (God knows, more people manage to make that look good than the equally popular pairing of short-shorts with black lace tights that the young women are wearing in all weathers.) I suspect Matt Bomer and White Collar have indeed had an influence, yes. Bomer rocks the Rat Pack look for serious.

What's striking to me about the worst examples of bad hat choices worn by lads on OK Cupid isn't just that the hats don't fit the wearers in terms of size, but that they don't fit the face shape, hair style, coloring, or other sartorial choices of the wearer, either. The hats seem to be inserted virtually at random into the wearer's wardrobe. You can actually successfully wear a fedora with a logo t-shirt, but it's tricky. And if you aren't topping the t-shirt with a well-fitted blazer, it's going to be much, much harder. If you're pairing the t-shirt and fedora with an army surplus jacket and cargo pants, you're pretty much doomed from the git go.

And what I really wonder, when I stop and think, is if the women who write the reviews slagging fedora wearers for their offensive dweebishness are such socially and romantically hot properties themselves that they feel morally justified in mocking anyone else's awkwardness, what exactly are they doing spending so much time thumbing through OK Cupid, anyway?

#106 ::: Carol Kimball ::: (view all by) ::: October 04, 2012, 12:05 PM:

#73 ::: Steve Smith ...I have several, including a Henry Jones, Jr. signature model that, sadly, doesn't fit very well. Suggestions on how to make it fit better seem to involve either staples or thumbtacks.

Too big? You can tack a strip of flannel or lightweight fleece to the sweatband inside.

Double-faced (baby diaper) flannel would work and be comfortable, if you'd not be embarrassed to buy it.

#107 ::: Velma ::: (view all by) ::: October 04, 2012, 12:38 PM:

As anyone who's seen us in the past five years or so knows, Scraps and I both rock the derby -- but there's a specific proportion of brim and height of crown that works for both of us, as we found out when I bought one with a higher crown. (It's also a smidge too small, I think, and I've not gotten around to getting it stretched. My fantasy is that someone will come by to visit, try it on, and it will look perfect on them, and we'll send it away.)

I am a big fan of broad-brimmed hats, and get compliments every summer when I'm wearing my annual straw hat purchase. ("Annual" because for decades, at some point, the wind would come up under the brim, and the hat would go flying, usually into traffic and under the wheels of a truck. Could be worse, though: a friend had the wind take his Stetson and drop it into the East River.)

Going hat shopping with friends who wear hats is the best way to do it, I think.

#108 ::: Fade Manley ::: (view all by) ::: October 04, 2012, 12:45 PM:

Lori Coulson @103: Ooo, nice hat! That makes me rather wistful; it's much nicer than my current hiking hats of varying degrees of floppiness. I would be tempted to buy outright if we were coming up on summer, instead of slowly starting to edge out of it.

#109 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: October 04, 2012, 01:00 PM:

Velma, #107: That's the third reason I don't wear hats (after looking dorky and Hat Hair). I have yet to find one that won't go flying at some point, and chin-straps make me feel like a little kid who has to have their clothes tied on.

#110 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: October 04, 2012, 01:01 PM:

Practical hats:

I wear a baseball cap, of the waterproof nylon variety, on my morning dog-walks. A small amount of warmth, and the bill keeps the rain out of my eyes. I don't like getting rained on, but rain in my eyes and running down my face, I HATE.

I have some cloth baseball caps I use on sunny days. And a floppy brimmed hunter's hat when I'm going to be out in the sun for extended periods. (See link in message #3.)

I have a HUGE collection of wool caps from when I lived back east. I wear these to bed in the winter, and outside when Oregon has a dry cold winter day rather than a wet cold winter day.

#111 ::: Brad Hicks (@jbradhicks) ::: (view all by) ::: October 04, 2012, 01:17 PM:

I've been wearing broad-brimmed Tilleys for five or six years now (Tilley Airflow in the summer, Montana any time it's cool enough, and a nylon/wool broad brimmed Fedora with built-in ear warmers when it's below freezing), and get nothing but compliments on them. I even wear the occasional top hat. But ...

1) No force on earth could make me wear a black or dark grey fedora with a 1" brim unless I was also wearing a matching suit; no force on earth could persuade me to wear a Panama with a brim that small unless I was wearing a white blazer. Everybody looks better when they wear clothes with complimentary silhouettes, and wearing a narrow-brimmed hat without a semi-formal or formal jacket is as silly looking as wearing a ball cap with a tux.

2) My personal impression is that the definitive "hipster" uniform of ironic facial hair and ironic narrow-brim fedora is supposed to be just that, ironic: "isn't it silly that old people used to look like this?" Wearing ugly fashion to make fun of other peoples' ugly fashion sense strikes me as unfunny and, frankly, counter-productive.

3) I also have the benefit of not being a child. Arguably, a hat with a proper brim probably does look pretentious on you if you're under 35. Apparently people who are under 35 are only allowed to wear baseball hats, or something, a garment that I don't think looks good on anybody, period.

4) Fashion is wearing what you're supposed to wear. Style is looking good in whatever you choose to wear. Give me stylish people over fashionable people any day.

#112 ::: BSD ::: (view all by) ::: October 04, 2012, 01:45 PM:

TNH @32:

No, I have not. However, I almost did include SKZB (pjf) in my previous post as a hatted geek. I did not because while his About the Author picture and self-depicting user icons have included a hat, I do not know him well enough (or at all, beyond the author-devoted reader connection and glowing third party testimony) to classify him as habitually hatted. Sadly, even including him in my sample, the needle on my correlation barely quivers.

#113 ::: Ken M ::: (view all by) ::: October 04, 2012, 01:46 PM:

I'd just like to put a word in for a recent development, the all-black deerstalker, or as I prefer to call it, the nightstalker.
Of course when I need to pass unnoticed among the extreme left I switch to my black budenovka.

#114 ::: Steve with a book ::: (view all by) ::: October 04, 2012, 01:48 PM:

Joseph M.@40: the bowler perhaps carries an odder and more disparate range of connotations than any other headgear in Britain—pre-1970s City Gent, John Cleese parody thereof, Laurel and Hardy, Northern Irish sectarian berk. Though if I wore one my friends would probably decide it was a half-arsed attempt to cosplay Badger from Firefly.

#115 ::: Russell Letson ::: (view all by) ::: October 04, 2012, 02:22 PM:

I babbled a few hattish thoughts over on the Boing Boing hat thread, but that Art of Manliness site flashed me back to my late teens and college years, when I had to figure out almost every dress/style category *except* hats. Back then (say, 1962), a young guy had to decide how to dress like which kind of grownup, a process that was intensified by the coat-and-tie requirements I encountered in college (the Jesuits are both manly and natty). And I quite enjoyed understanding and deploying the variety of dress-shirt collars (button-down, tab, bar, spread), tie width and pattern options, tiepins and bars, trouser-leg widths, and shoe styles. There was also the adventure of encountering a range of subcultural styles, since my classmates came from both upstate and New York City--and the Italian guys from Brooklyn Prep (pegged slacks, narrow ties, pointy-toe shoes) did not dress like the Irish from Canisius or McQuaid (tweed jackets, silk repp ties, penny loafers or wing-tips), let alone like small-town/country mice such as I was (Sears or Montgomery Ward jacket, shirt, and tie, Hush Puppies desert boots).

But hats: When I started wearing a hat back in the early 1970s, there were two places you could find good dress hats or a hatter who could take care of an old one: stores that served black or gay clienteles. I got my 1930s German fedora (discovered in a Pittsburgh attic by my mother-in-law) refurbed by a Chicago south-side hatter who was very interested to hear that the last real hatter in the Twin Cities was retiring--he was ready to send a nephew north to look into the business, or at least buy the equipment.

I recall Tom Baker wearing a rollup fedora, and I really wanted one (hat stowage is a continuing problem), but when I went looking in the UK in '89, they were nowhere to be found. (Nordstrom carried a Bailey roll-up that I should have snagged before they discontinued the style.) Nor could I find a tweed eight-piece even in the north of England, though those motoring/racetrack flat caps were all over the place. (Turns out that my favorite eight-piece caps, Harris Tweed and even with earflaps, were made in Minneapolis at a now-defunct factory.)

And it does bother me a bit that Indy wannabes have (as Jesse at Putthison, linked @69, has it) tainted the fedora. But only a bit, since I have attained the age of Don't Much Give A Damn and have a wife who likes my hats. (Though it's a good thing I don't like trilbys, because I really, really want to distance myself from the demographic that currently wears them.)

#116 ::: Heather Rose Jones ::: (view all by) ::: October 04, 2012, 02:49 PM:

Periodically I make attempts at becoming a Hat-Wearing Person. I like the idea; I even like the effect, with the right hat(s). Problem is, the vast majority of my work-days involve at least some amount of bicycle riding, so any hat that can't be stuffed harmlessly into a backpack would be a great deal of trouble. (Though, interestingly, it's precisely the regular bike riding that make my head feel naked without a hat.) So, like many accessories, I find myself contemplating spending a significant amount of money on an object that would only be used occasionally, or that would be a fair amount of trouble to use regularly, and I back off from the effort.

Much jewelry falls into this category as well. On any given day I would definitely need to remove and safely stash it while at the gym, and at random unpredictable intervals I would need to remove and safely stash it when gowning into the cleanroom areas. Back in high-school/college I had a few favorite rings that I enjoyed wearing, but a decade of laboratory work pretty much killed that habit.

#117 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: October 04, 2012, 03:11 PM:

It never occurred to me before this thread that 'fedora' is a feminized 'Feodor', which is Russian for "Theodore." (Which, of course, is Greek for "Amadeus.")

Kevin 76: Run by four women, Pauls One through Four.

Then shouldn't its name be "Pauls' Hat Works"?

Q. 100: Is that what's that's called? I always called it a "Keebler Elf hat." I might wear one of those.

#118 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: October 04, 2012, 03:15 PM:

Xopher, I would be delighted to fabricate a Phrygian cap, either sewn or knitted, for someone who'd actually wear it.

#119 ::: Jon Baker ::: (view all by) ::: October 04, 2012, 03:22 PM:

Trilbys have become fashionable in the last couple of years. But fedoras are really associated (in my mind at least) with ultra-Orthodox Jewish men. The fedora is the hat of choice for the Orthodox set that also favors black suits and white shirts.

Mostly affiliated with rabbinic wear at yeshivas and Chasidic weekday wear, in recent decades it has become almost de rigeur for the Orthodox Jewish man of the non-Modern bent to wear the black suit, white hat, and some variety of fedora, usually a Borsalino or one of its imitators, or among the Lubavitch Chasidim, a Stetson with a wider brim.

In my neighborhood, for instance, I have to wear a fedora when I go to certain synagogues, or I get funny looks and cannot be called upon to lead services or read from the Torah. I have cheap wool felt fedoras, rather than nice fur felt ones, and a straw one (or is it called a Panama? I thought a Panama was more like a white (straw or canvas) porkpie with a wider brim).

I occasionally think about getting a bowler, or at least a Homburg (which I think of as a bowler with the top dented in) - my rabbi growing up wore a Homburg. In the sense of, hey, if you're going to insist on wearing archaic hats, here's an archaic hat.

Which leads me to wonder - does this woman have an animus for Orthodox Jews, expressed by opposition to their hats?

#120 ::: Steve Smith ::: (view all by) ::: October 04, 2012, 04:04 PM:

#106 ::: Carol Kimball

Too big? You can tack a strip of flannel or lightweight fleece to the sweatband inside.

Thanks! I'll have to give it a try. Embarrassed? Moi? I doubt it; I've bought a rather amazing variety of Stuff over the years, and not just for the On The Label use.

#121 ::: Steve Smith ::: (view all by) ::: October 04, 2012, 04:09 PM:

#112 ::: Ken M

I'd just like to put a word in for a recent development, the all-black deerstalker, or as I prefer to call it, the nightstalker

I like the sound of that. I like the look of the deerstalker, but, sadly, it was the favored headgear of an extreme (three deep breaths) jerk* of my acquaintance. A black one would be good.

* I don't know if "asshat" would be appropriate in this context or not.

#122 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: October 04, 2012, 05:57 PM:

I mostly wear baseball caps, but one of these days I'll get around to figuring out some dressier hats that can work with my fairly casual wardrobe. (I do have a flat cap or two.) I am also bald, but for me the hat isn't so much hiding the pate, as shielding it from sun, wind, rain, etc.

#123 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: October 04, 2012, 06:05 PM:

Jon Baker @117: IMHO 'Panama' is a material, not a style -- more like 'felt' than 'fedora'. I've seen genuine Panama hats, woven of the appropriate palm leaves in Ecuador, in a whole variety of styles.

#124 ::: Carol Kimball ::: (view all by) ::: October 04, 2012, 06:11 PM:

Phrygian caps:
Red - traditional - Anatolia, France (revolution)
Blue - weird little cartoon guys

I don't remember seeing any other colors...

#125 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: October 04, 2012, 06:27 PM:

Steve w/b, #113: Not to mention Hercule Poirot.

#126 ::: Q. Pheevr ::: (view all by) ::: October 04, 2012, 07:00 PM:

Picking up the theme of hat colours from Ken M at #112 and Carol Kimball at #122, if a black deerstalker is a nightstalker, would a black Phrygian cap be a Stygian cap?

#127 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker To Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: October 04, 2012, 07:59 PM:

UrsulaV @ 71:

I have a real, honest-to-Cthulhu propeller beanie, which I have worn in public at least twice.

Terry Karney @ 93:

My desire for hats worked exactly the opposite from yours. When I got out of the Army I wanted to do everything differently, so I refused to wear hats (resulting in very cold ears in a New England winter), would not stand in line for anything, and threw everything green out of my wardrobe. I didn't start wearing hats again for at least 15 years.

Now I wear straw hats in the summer to keep the sun off my head and reduce the incidence of migraines, and watch caps and my trusty wool Stetson in the winter to keep off the rain. I don't wear baseball caps because I look most exceeding dorky in them.

I'm tempted to get another Akubra because they're cool, but then I should probably replace my duster/raincoat, which is quite old and has gotten somewhat leaky.

#128 ::: Sarah ::: (view all by) ::: October 04, 2012, 08:39 PM:

My parents have, since their retirement, taken up English Country Dancing and historical reenactment. As a result, my father's already-extensive hat collection now includes a bowler and a straw top hat.

#129 ::: Bruce E. Durocher II ::: (view all by) ::: October 04, 2012, 09:23 PM:

I have a very nice cowboy hat made by the Arizona Hat Company in high-end grey felt. It was given to my dad by a client who walked in and said "An honest attorney needs a hat!" Dad wasn't a hat person so didn't wear it, even though it was clearly an expensive hat. It was in storage until recently when I needed a hat for medical reasons and thought of it. I have no idea in this universe on how to care for it, and the front and back brim are starting to curl up a little. This worries me.

The other hat I usually wear is a pigskin slouch hat from Australia that is incredibly waterproof--it protects my glasses from rain much better than the cowboy hat, which is important in Seattle. I have a pith helmet and a cap, and a knock-off Tully hat I wear from time to time, but the cowboy and the slouch are what I wear 90% of the time.

#131 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: October 04, 2012, 10:10 PM:

Avram, I think Abbott and Costello anticipated the internet.

#132 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: October 05, 2012, 12:27 AM:

It occurs to me that there is another way to interpret the title of this thread:

A flock of sheep.

A gaggle of geese.

A murder of crows.

A mysterious hatred of fedoras.

#133 ::: Paul A. ::: (view all by) ::: October 05, 2012, 01:35 AM:

Stefan Jones @ #130:

I'm seeing a clear link between "hatred of fedoras" and "parliament of owls". As seen in old English names like Alfred and Ethelred, "red" means "council" (and is related to the German "Rat", as in "Rathaus"). And "hat" is another old English word, the relevance of which I don't think I need to elaborate on further.

#134 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: October 05, 2012, 02:38 AM:

Dave Harmon @ #121, I have one of those over-the-door ball cap racks with space for 20 or 24 caps; it's full. People give me baseball caps, and I wear 'em because my bald spot is likely to burn in Hawaii's climate. When our climate is wet they're equally useful in keeping eyeglasses dry. When my hair's longish and I drive with the window down and sun/moon roof open the caps keep the hair out of my eyes.

Practical, that's me. Most of these caps have company logos, sports team logos, or silly sayings like "Thinking Cap" or "Computer Wizard," because they come from Computer Gear, which catalog arrives in our mailbox every other month or so.

#135 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: October 05, 2012, 02:42 AM:

Elliot: I think I mentioned before, Panama hats have always been made in Ecuador. As with some other things they were named for the place in from which they were sold.

I'd like to get one, but they are pricey.

#136 ::: Niall McAuley ::: (view all by) ::: October 05, 2012, 03:51 AM:

For the day that's in it.

#137 ::: Ingvar M ::: (view all by) ::: October 05, 2012, 08:05 AM:

Bruce Baugh @ #80:

That is a nice piece of advice. Unfortunately, it only works for most people. :)

I have what we can charitably call "stocky upper body" (the distance from my hips to my knees is longer than the distance from my hips to my shoulders) and a "bull neck" (my neck has a smaller circumference than my skull, but when tensed is wider than my jawbone). I also have long arms (I can scratch my knees standing straight).

Using that as a measure means I would end up with even worse mis-match between arm-length, shirt bunched-up in my trousers and neck width. As-is, I buy shirts that have the right arm length, accept a bit of bunching and hide the unfastened top button with my tie (if, for once, I happen to be in formalwear; day-to-day I tend towards t-shirts).

#138 ::: Fade Manley ::: (view all by) ::: October 05, 2012, 10:01 AM:

It occurs to me that I also suffer occasional longings for a boater. I like the look of them, and they take to ribbons so well! (I have a terrible weakness for ribbons that I indulge exactly never.) But I don't have a boat, which seems to reduce the utility of such a hat.

#139 ::: fidelio ::: (view all by) ::: October 05, 2012, 11:10 AM:

Fade Manley @137--You do, however, live in a place with long, hot summers where a hat with a broadish but not extremely wide brim, made of a hot-weather material like straw would be useful. Boaters are also more manageable in urban spaces like public transportation that a really wide-brimmed sunhat, and they still give shade protection to the face and neck.

Not an enabler, totally not an enabler at all.

#140 ::: David Hodson ::: (view all by) ::: October 05, 2012, 01:15 PM:

Q. Pheevr @ #125: If you turn a Phrygian cap so that it faces nearly backwards, it becomes an Aeolian cap. Or possibly Locrian.

#141 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: October 05, 2012, 03:05 PM:

Fade Manley #137:

You'd like my Tilley-style hat, bought at a local garden store, made entirely of heavy cream grosgrain ribbon. Lightweight, crushable ...

My usual summer hat is an old straw bowler, that I vary the ribbon or scarf of to suit the occasion.

The dressy winter one, black felt bowler, bought in Italy, with a mix of black velvet and black satin ribbon.

#142 ::: Fade Manley ::: (view all by) ::: October 05, 2012, 03:14 PM:

fidelio @138: I tend to stick to hats I can wedge hastily into a small pocket of a backpack, for the sake of crowded public transport. Which boaters, alas, do not do. But I admit I'm tempted anyway.

joann @140: Crushable is good! Probably I ought to go to a real hat shop and ask them for a good crushable summer hat that I can swap around ribbons on, instead of just buying cheap hiking hats at the sports goods stores.

#143 ::: Ayse ::: (view all by) ::: October 05, 2012, 04:00 PM:

You'd like my Tilley-style hat, bought at a local garden store, made entirely of heavy cream...

This sentence went downhill remarkably fast after the setup. Maybe I should have had more to eat for lunch.

#144 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: October 05, 2012, 04:03 PM:

Ayse #142:

Heavy cream'll do that to ya. Or maybe less for lunch--it is caloric stuff.

#145 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: October 05, 2012, 04:05 PM:

Where I live, hats are mostly utilitarian, although I know one guy who has been wearing a bowler for his entire adult life. I have to wear something that covers my forehead closely and warmly in winter or I will end up out of commission with a sinus headache. My current favorite looks like Jayne's, but lower over the brows and with more patterns on it. Actually it's a Peruvian import made of alpaca wool. And I think it's pretty shiny.

#146 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: October 05, 2012, 05:59 PM:


So . . .a mysterious hat-council of fedoras.

Or a hat-council of mysterious fedoras.

Either way, that would be a cool thing indeed.

#147 ::: Rob Rusick ::: (view all by) ::: October 05, 2012, 07:49 PM:

Stefan Jones @145: In the classic 'A Piece of the Action', Captain Kirk did represent himself as an agent of The Fedoration.

#148 ::: Avram ::: (view all by) ::: October 05, 2012, 10:57 PM:

Fade Manley @137, do you wear a wristwatch? Have you looked at ribbon watch straps? They seem to be fashionable.

#149 ::: Fade Manley ::: (view all by) ::: October 06, 2012, 12:56 AM:

Avram, I've been meaning to get a replacement watch. I shall investigate this possibility forthwith!

#150 ::: Steve Smith ::: (view all by) ::: October 06, 2012, 01:43 AM:

Back on the subject of using one's sartorial choices as a way of impressing the appropriate gender, there's always the classic.

#151 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: October 06, 2012, 04:20 AM:

I got a strap not unlike one of those recently. I had no idea it was fashionable -- I was just hoping for one that would be more durable. The last couple of watch straps I had were cloth and leather, and the leather just rotted away relatively quickly, perhaps due to the heat and humidity here in Houston.

#152 ::: Robin Turner ::: (view all by) ::: October 06, 2012, 05:52 AM:

She obviously hasn't met any real geeks. For them, "Fedora" isn't something you wear, it's something you install.

#153 ::: Mris ::: (view all by) ::: October 06, 2012, 09:03 AM:

Sorry to do a driveby late to the party, but Teresa. Porkpie. Is it possible you have not seen David Strathairn playing J. Robert Oppenheimer? Or is he just not to your taste in that costuming (or, y'know, at all)? Because to my way of thinking, David Strathairn playing J. Robert Oppenheimer justifies the porkpie hat and, y'know, damn near anything else he might want to do.

#154 ::: Fade Manley ::: (view all by) ::: October 06, 2012, 10:20 AM:

Hm. I just realized that those are straps alone, and I really need a replacement watch. Oh well. But maybe I can find a watch that'll fit on said straps, and swap them out later.

#155 ::: praisegod barebones ::: (view all by) ::: October 06, 2012, 12:39 PM:

(Waves at Robin Turner @ 151)

#156 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: October 06, 2012, 04:09 PM:

Fade Manley @ #153, I found myself in that boat a while back. I had a perfectly good watchband (silver with turquoise, a stylized Thunderbird on shields attached to a standard metal expandable strap) that I wanted to keep. I ended up with an inexpensive ($25, maybe?) Timex which has worked like a charm ever since. Measure the width of the band you want and then take a cloth tape measure to your local Sears or other department store's watch/jewelry department.

#157 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: October 07, 2012, 02:21 AM:

There's a lot of stuff on the internet about watch repair, starting with battery replacement and replacing the watch band. The right tools make a big difference, but can cost more than is comfortable. Some places charge a lot for the simplest of jobs, others are more reasonable. It turns into a long job when the spring watch band pin goes flying.

#158 ::: Cadbury Moose ::: (view all by) ::: October 07, 2012, 07:30 AM:

Dave Bell @ #156

ITYM "it turns into a fingertip search when the spring watch band pin goes flying".

Deep pile carpets are not a good idea when this happens.

Speaking of flying.

Also this.

#159 ::: chris ::: (view all by) ::: October 07, 2012, 10:07 AM:

Could there be a mild correlation between polyamory and Rocking The Hat?

Well, they both require disregarding a social convention. So maybe, but if there's nothing more than that, it would be pretty weak.

I think it's important to remember that who looks good in what is very much in the eye of the beholder. You don't have to look good to everyone, just to the right person. Of course, if you've already found the otherwise-right person and they really can't stand your hat, then you might want to reconsider it.

But otherwise, if your taste includes liking your hat, I don't see why you should be particularly bothered by the fact that some other people don't like it. Lots of people aren't right for you, whoever you are, and why shouldn't people who judge you on the basis of haberdashery fall into that category?

I would also like to put in a word for not being superficial enough to infer personality traits from hat choice. Even if there is a secret language of hats, some people will be unaware of it and just wearing the hat because they like it; you don't know which is which until you get to know them well enough to find out. The real douchebags will reveal themselves pretty quick anyway.

#160 ::: Mark ::: (view all by) ::: October 07, 2012, 10:12 AM:

I find myself suitably be-hatted for all seasons. In summer, that means a proper Panama, nice broad brim with a crown perhaps a tiny bit high; in winter; an ancient and venerable black wool fedora with a mild snap to the brim and a band of braided ribbon in green, black, and gold. My autumn/spring transition hat is the sort of flat cap my kid disparagingly calls a 'hooligan' in grey tweed.

I haven't bought a new hat in quite a while, for the reason that nothing considered fashionable lately has a proper broad brim. I blame hipsters (but then, I always blame hipsters. Two hipsters walk into a bar; one says to the other, "ugh, let's get out of this dump, it's full of hipsters."). I regard thinking one looks good in a hat with a stingy brim as a character flaw, possibly a fatal one, correlating strongly with "Nice Guy/PUA" in a way that broad-brimmers do not quite.

#161 ::: Mark has been gnomed ::: (view all by) ::: October 07, 2012, 10:14 AM:

I suppose it's possible that my discussion of my favored hats was Mysterious and Powerful in ways I did not fully comprehend. The gnomes are out of luck; they can have my hat when they pry it off my cold, dead scalp.

#162 ::: Mark has been gnomed twice?! ::: (view all by) ::: October 07, 2012, 10:15 AM:

This gets ridiculous. My gnotification of gnoming contained a word of power? REALLY?!

[Yes. Any link to Twitter is gnomed. Comment spam is absolutely full of links to various Twitter accounts. Mari Corins, Duty Gnome.]

#164 ::: Mark has been meta-gnomed ::: (view all by) ::: October 07, 2012, 10:18 AM:

Perhaps it is because I had the temerity to use the optional web address field at all. It was not always thus.

[You can use the web address field. Just not for your Twitter account. It was not always thus, but spammers did not always make figuring out which Twitter links were inappropriate such a burden, either. I'm sorry you're frustrated, but this is the best we can do at the moment with the tools we have at hand. —Idumea Greenwich Cobb, Duty Gnome]

#165 ::: Avram ::: (view all by) ::: October 07, 2012, 10:48 AM:

Mark @159, I find that narrow-brim hats generally don't do much for the guys I see wearing them, but are often adorable on the gals.

#166 ::: duckbunny ::: (view all by) ::: October 07, 2012, 11:53 AM:

The tricorn is, I think, an underappreciated hat outside of LARP circles.

(Mine is bright red and made of floppy leather, so it doesn't mind if I sit on it. I wear it everywhere and in all weathers. A bright red tricorn probably makes some kind of statement, but I do not speak Hat.)

#167 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: October 07, 2012, 12:11 PM:

You don't have to look good to everyone, just to the right person.

Very true, and the reason why the old rule on cruising (looking for a one-night sex partner) was "It's like hitchhiking: dress like the people you want to pick you up."

#168 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: October 07, 2012, 03:18 PM:

I had the nearest thing I've ever had to a past life experience while trying out a tricorn.

In general, I don't like wearing hats because I don't like the feeling of pressure on my head. If I need to stay warm, I use a scarf or a hood.

I'm not interested in Colonial era costumes. I prefer earlier periods with more flowing fabric.

I'm not interested in genderplay. No explanation, it's just not something that grabs me.

In spite of all of the above, when I put on that tricorn, I felt very happy. My best explanation is that I picked up a moment when a young man got his first tricorn.

#169 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: October 07, 2012, 03:20 PM:

Gnomed. If the gnomes are interested in a promissory note, I'm seriously considering spaghetti squash with yogurt and mushrooms. Spices/herbs are yet to be determined.

Otherwise, how about some chocolate with lavender and blueberries?

#170 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: October 07, 2012, 03:22 PM:


How about mashed potatoes with olive oil and mixed vegetables? (This was surprisingly good.)

#171 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: October 08, 2012, 05:20 PM:

Wow, what a sneering, unpleasant article on BoingBoing about this! And plenty of people being jerks in the comment thread too (including, of all people, Antinous), though some of them are also defending the fedora (or at least the fact that it isn't an undeniable mark of jackholery).

Makes me want to wear a fedora all the time just to keep those people away.

#172 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: October 08, 2012, 05:27 PM:

Is Leigh Alexander a jerk in general?

#173 ::: Victoria ::: (view all by) ::: October 10, 2012, 10:48 AM:

From Tracy Lundquist @ #2 to Xopher @ #171

I've been wearing hats for a while now and have built up a wardrobe of them. Some do dual duty as street wear and costume wear. Some, like my burgundy Santa hat with leopard print faux fur (in place of the standard white) are just plain eccentric. The rest have been modified in some way, usually with the addition of a brooch to the crown or additional ribbon accents to the hat band.

I've discovered all of my hats act as a litmus test. If the viewer approves with a smile, eye contact or a verbalized "nice hat", I can pretty much tell I will like that person. A frown, moue of distaste, avoidance of eye contact all tell me the viewer is uptight and someone I probably won't care to interact with. This is based off the reactions of my less pleasant family member who have reached the point of rolling their eyes at me or feeling the need to explain me away (as in "this is my sister, Victoria, the family eccentric." this coming from a deep-in-the-closet sci fi geek.)

So, yes, Leigh Alexander may be a jerk who doesn't appreciate hats. I suspect if she doesn't like me wearing my fedora, she really won't care for my brown coachman's top hat with the kelly green band and ribbon on the brim. Or my stetson. Or my white fuzzy bowler with the red satin band & bow. or my tapestry tea hat. or... whatever I happen to be wearing, because I do not conform to her norm or whatever her sense of "normal" is. It's a double ditto for otherwise attractive males she may or may not want to date.

#174 ::: Columbina ::: (view all by) ::: October 10, 2012, 12:17 PM:

This is my hat. (Hope the gnomes don't take offense to the link.)

I resisted hats for many years, but finally got one because 1) I'm 6'4" and have officially given up on umbrellas + height + destructive Boston winds (I once had an umbrella spontaneously invert and then twist itself into a pile of mangled metal and fabric, in under five seconds) and 2) I hate all knit caps, baseball caps, etc but you have to wear SOMETHING on your head when it approaches zero outside.

It's the only hat I have ever been able to find which comes in a size that fits my apparently ginormous head, short of custom jobs which cost an arm and a leg I don't have. Or at least the only hat which ever came with a sizing/measurement guide which made sense.

I don't care if it looks ridiculous on me (and it probably does), and I've learned that's the secret, as it may be the secret to most personal style: the ability to carry it off with nonchalance.

#175 ::: Angiportus ::: (view all by) ::: October 11, 2012, 01:08 PM:

What Chris said at #158. Engraved in letters as deep as a spear is long, on the trunk of the World Tree. Or, in my less charitable moods, carved into the backs of fashion snarkists everywhere. Not just for hats, but for all body adornment.
I suspect there's not one wearable item in history that someone didn't think it looked ridiculous at one time, and someone else thought it was charming. People just fuss too much over these things--I'm glad we now have as many choices as we do--I'm old enough to remember when they were much more restricted, and didn't match my own preferences. We aren't all wired up the same way, when it comes to what we are going to like and who it's on. Or how much we can spend on it, there's that too.
I wish I could remind all the self-appointed fashion critics that they have 2 eyes that can shut and a neck that can turn. Me, I have never been comfortable in any hat, and even the bike helmet comes off as soon as the bike is locked.

#176 ::: Xopher HalfTongue sees stooopid SPAM ::: (view all by) ::: October 13, 2012, 03:21 PM:

Really, it's like they're not even trying.

#177 ::: linnen ::: (view all by) ::: October 16, 2012, 07:19 PM:

Borders of Infinity ref:
Miles sighed, and turned his hat around in his hands by its wide brim. He spun it for a moment on one finger, and locked eyes with the redhead. "Note my hat. It was the one garment I managed to keep from the ravages of the burly surly brothers—Pitt's bunch, you say."

She snorted at the turn of phrase. "Those jerks . . . why just a hat? Why not pants? Why not a full-dress uniform while you're at it?" she added sarcastically.

"A hat is a more useful object for communicating. You can make broad gestures," he did so, "denote sincerity," he held it over his heart, "or indicate embarrassment," over his genitals, with a hang-dog crouch, "or rage—" he flung it to earth as if he might drive it into the ground, then picked it up and brushed it off carefully, "or determination—" he jammed it on his head and yanked the brim down over his eyes, "or make courtesies." He swept it off again in salute to her. "Do you see the hat?"

She was beginning to be amused. "Yes . . ."

"Do you see the feathers on the hat?"

"Yes . . ."

"Describe them."

"Oh—plumey things."

"How many?"

"Two. Bunched together."

"Do you see the color of the feathers?"

She drew back, suddenly self-conscious again, with a sidewise glance at her companions. "No."

"When you can see the color of the feathers," said Miles softly, "you'll also understand how you can expand your borders to infinity."

#178 ::: David DeLaney ::: (view all by) ::: October 21, 2012, 09:21 AM:

linnen @177: And of course Tiffany Aching's hats, the one Granny Weatherwax gave her and the one she finally claimed...

(I was also, inexplicably, reminded of A Very Potter Musical's version of the Sorting Hat, and its friend Scarfie.)

I do not generally hat, myself. I have a purple baseball-cap with SPEBSQSA on the front; I think at some point I might like to get a tall top hat, but that would also probably necessitate a cane, a cloak, and a vest...


#179 ::: DLC ::: (view all by) ::: October 24, 2012, 02:35 AM:

Great thread, Teresa! Even though I'm down to around twenty-one hats nowadays, I've had just about every kind there is; but my current favorites are wide-brim fedoras (also often referred to as "zoot hats") and the big floppy Newsboy caps. Those skinny-brim fedoras just don't look serious.

Now I'm wondering if there's a thread-starting website out there somewhere on "retro" two-tone wingtip and cap-toe shoes. I only have ten pairs of those, but I'm always on the lookout for more.

#180 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: October 24, 2012, 12:47 PM:

DLC #179:

And wingtips for women, too--spectator pumps. With nice solid heels you can balance on. I'm not really sure this year's wing-tip booties really make it for me ...

#181 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: October 24, 2012, 01:06 PM:

When fedoras are outlawed, only outlaws will have will the penalty be imprisonment in (wait for it) fedoral prison?

Thanks, I'm here all week, try the gluten medallions, don't forget to tip your waitress.

#182 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: October 24, 2012, 02:03 PM:

Xopher, other types of headgear might warrant confinement in other types of instetsontutions.

#183 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: October 24, 2012, 04:05 PM:

Or even cap punishment.

#184 ::: Cassy B. ::: (view all by) ::: October 24, 2012, 06:40 PM:

Exile to Panama?

#185 ::: Jim Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: October 24, 2012, 11:15 PM:

All is explained: The Susquehanna Hat Company makes fedoras (as well as their more popular straw boaters).

#186 ::: Bill Higgins-- Beam Jockey ::: (view all by) ::: March 16, 2013, 01:46 AM:

From James Nicoll I learned of Martin Lewis's scathing review of Science Fiction: The 101 Best Novels, 1985-2010.

In considering Neal Asher's work, Mr. Lewis indulges in a moment of apparent fedora-crushing:

What is more perplexing is Broderick and Di Filippo's attempt to claim Asher—a true believer in the brand of Internet libertarianism that comes with a free fedora—as a politically relevant writer rather than simply a successful purveyor of violent trash [...]

I confess I am a bit mystified by this. Not the first time I have encountered a critic who was too deep for me.

Somehow I'm reminded of Rodney Dangerfield's character in Caddyshack, who says: "Well, you buy a hat like this, I bet you get a free bowl of soup, huh?... Oh, it looks good on you, though."

#187 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: March 16, 2013, 05:15 AM:

Bill Higgins-- Beam Jockey @186:

Your link points back to this thread. Here's the one you wanted.

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