Saturday, June 24, 2006

Hats Please

Illustrations by J.C. Leyendecker from the 1920s and 1930s are what ultimately made me realize the potential a hat holds in a man's wardrobe. While his famous Arrow Collar Man is commonly seen without his hat, when we do see him wearing one its with an undeniable sense of purpose and necessity...even if that that purpose and necessity is for aesthetic reasons alone. The shape of the hat is appropriate for the shape of the gentleman's face, the hatband coordinates with the garments being worn, the level of formality the hat indicates sits in perfect harmony with the occasion it is worn at, and of course the hat's material is seasonally appropriate. No one likes a cold or sweaty head.

Beyond the pages of catalog illustration, there are those who manage to always do it right in their day to day. Quentin Crisp was rarely out of doors without his trademark fedora, and it is now a well known fact that his studio apartment in NYC was a filthy rat's nest like none other. But for those who never saw this side of the socialite's life, his hat may have been a clue. Its mangled brim made a remark of its own - a glimpse of disarray in an otherwise highly considered package. Or maybe all of that is just academic overanalysis, and the brim was bent with the simple purpose of showcasing Quentin's lavendar hair and eyeshadow. Who knows.

Boys, what I am getting at is that I want to see you wearing more hats. I have friends who wear hats...some with much more success than others. Regardless of possible failures I have seen, I admire the fact that they are willing to wear one at all in a society that no longer sees the point. The point is that they're damn cool. The point is that they're what you need to tell us what you're all about. The point is that one or two hats have the potential of loading your personal aesthetic arsenal with tricks and treats that will show us you're not just another dolt on the street who doesn't think about how he looks, but in fact gives a shit about what's in his mind and, in turn, on his head.

My brother purchased a lovely short brimmed straw panama yesterday from Byrnie Utz Hats downtown that we immediately knew was the hat for him. We saw it in the front window, and within a mere 10 minutes it was purchased and on his head as we continued up Union Street. And clearly it did the trick as passers by admired, and Khadeja who worked at the gift shop at the Space Needle wanted to know exactly where he got it. I'm already looking forward to seeing it paired with a navy suit and brown oxfords or loafers.


Anonymous mr. c said...

I can state with the utmost confidence that my hat does look most excellent.

6:39 PM  
Blogger WIP said...

I can never find a hat that fits my face or one that compliments my personality, I feel that I may never find one. So alas, I must go hatless.

7:26 PM  
Anonymous Mindy Sue said...

I am a lover of hats as well. Hats on men are so fantastic and attractive (when I say hats I am ruling out the baseball cap, although on certain occasions it does work... if one is playing the game). I also think that hats are lovely for women. Hats and gloves.

Mr. C has another hat! I think you started right with that beautiful fedora from Uncle Oscars. Way to be with the hats.

9:23 PM  
Blogger Erk said...

I always perceived Crisp's hat as a marker of his flexibility, his ease. His fedora: a something that, well, goes with almost everything. In contrast, the hat in the Leyendecker drawing is very fixed-- unyielding, even.

8:52 AM  
Anonymous Cory said...

sometimes i have a 23 inch cranium and it makes for some difficulty when shopping for hats. I totally agree about the appeal of hats, especially well chosen and appropriate ones, I still remember the shear joy on your little face when you found that first gray newsboy two years ago. Uncle Barney never went anywhere without a hat on his head, and he always looked dapper.

1:37 PM  
Anonymous Mindy Sue said...

I share Cory's problem... I have a 22 incher therefor I must make my own hats and while they may have genitalia hanging off of them, they still look prim and propper. I have always enjoyed a fine cocktail hat.

7:33 PM  

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