Recently, a friend and reader of this blog asked me a question, “What about hats?” He specified that he was not talking about the baseball cap, the often ubiquitous accessory of college students and individuals who can’t be bothered to tame an unruly mop of hair, occasionally even including men of style and substance. No, my friend was referring to options beyond the cap and wondering about wearing something both for protecting both his image as a grown up and the sensitive skin of his scalp.
Those who know me well will wonder how I could possibly know anything about the second requirement, as I have a healthy head of hair, still nearly free from gray despite my 43 years and 5 children, three of whom are teenagers. How could someone like me know anything about the delicacies of protecting a smooth pate? Good question, one I normally answer with a picture of me 10 years ago. As part of a fundraising promise, I shaved my head. Bic’d it! Right down to the scalp! And I enjoyed it, staying bald or nearly bald for over 4 years. (I saved a lot on haircuts during that time!) So, the short answer is, I know a lot about protecting the scalp from the ravages of exposure, and I am only glad to share what I know.
I will emphasize now that this post is about the hat as a fashionable covering for the head, not simply a utilitarian piece of cloth to keep in heat and keep out the elements, whatever they may be. Beanies have their place, but not in this post. Instead, let’s talk about a few options.
The fedora is getting a lot of attention these days. Recently re-imagined (as everything is these days) modern fedoras keep the length wise crown, often creased down the middle, but sometimes not, and the pinched front section of the crown. What is different with today’s fedoras is the brim. Most of the modern fedoras being produced for trendy and pop-fashion retailers have very narrow brims, giving them a very different look from the fedoras of the 30’s and 40’s (think the Indiana Jones hat). Another thing that is very different is the overt decorations in the fabric, instead of the classic wool felt or plain straws of the past.
Also making a strong resurgence in the world of head couture is the flat cap, sometimes called a sportscar cap or roadster cap. These names are applied due to the common use during the birth of the automobile among drivers; the cap stayed on and accommodated goggles with ease. As with the fedora, flat caps are very different today. While fabrics have stayed in predictable blends and types, patterns are all the rage. Plaids in one panel matched to plain or colored panels are not uncommon.
While other options abound (like cowboy hats, but only if you also have the boots and the attitude to pull it off) these are likely the two most stylish options for the gentleman of today.
Whatever you choose, choose it with confidence and conviction and enjoy the moment when people say, “Nice hat!”