this dog never stopped wearing hats

Why Did We Stop Wearing Hats?

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I have a large mirror in my room where I can see myself from my head to my feet. Every time I leave the house and every time I come back, I check my appearance in this mirror. Here’s something I’ve noticed many times. Before putting on my accessories or after taking them off I look sort of generic. Wool sweater, wool trousers, it’s a little boring, right?
The minute you accessorise, however, you start seeing a little character. I don’t know about you, but I love creating characters and playing them. It adds a little colour to the greyness of everyday living. Accessorising is very important for that. It adds a personal note to your appearance. 

A very important accessory is the hat. Most people today go out without hats and here I also include people who run around in baseball hats or knit caps worn in the winter months, which I consider aesthetically unacceptable. 

This was not so in the past. People would never leave their homes without a hat. We know that people stopped wearing hats after the Second World War, but we don’t really know why. Some blame US president John F. Kennedy who was the first president not to wear a hat. 

Others say that it was the rise of the car that led to the abandonment of hats. Before that, people used public transit or walked. Streetcars, trains, buses etc. have higher ceilings and it’s therefore more comfortable to wear a hat in public transit, the personal automobile is much smaller and there’s no room to wear a hat. If your foot travel is limited to walking from your house to your car, or from your car to work or wherever you spend your leisure time, then wearing a hat becomes unnecessary, as do many other accessories, such as gloves or scarves. 

A third suggested reason for the rise of hatlessness is the general simplification and degradation of fashion into wearing t-shirts and jeans. A good hat looks ridiculous on such an outfit. I’ve also heard that the youth of the 20s and 30s refused to wear hats because that made them look like their parents. The teenagers of that time turned adults in the 40s and 50s and started dictating culture.; 

Another factor could be the increase in travel and especially air travel. Transporting fancy hats is definitely an effort even today. Maybe it’s a combination of all of those things, but whatever the causes, we now live in a bare-headed society. Now, don’t get me wrong. There are still hat makers out there and there are still people wearing hats, but that’s a very small percentage of the population. 

I remember when I was in high school, one of my friends came to class wearing a small fedora. Another one of my friends called her very brave for doing so. I’ve always thought about that comment and what it meant. Are people afraid to dress different from the crowd?
Even back then kids in high school would all dress the same, even though they didn’t have to. We had no school uniform, but everyone wore the same clothes anyway because they were under the influence of the broader culture to wear a uniform, which was quite frankly, preposterous. 501 Levi’s, Bennetton jerseys, puffy jackets, Adidas sneakers. And everyone looked like that. 

The same thing goes on today. Whenever someone dresses differently, they’re immediately the centre of attention, and they’re often laughed at as well. Lots of people don’t want that for themselves, so they choose to disappear into the crowd and escape detection. I think that’s what my friend meant by saying the girl with the hat was brave. 

Hats have been us for a long time. They are very practical. They protect our heads from sunlight, rain, cold and hard objects. Some have political and social connotations. Some are worn for purely aesthetic, such as the ladies’ hats worn to receptions or the opera. Nevertheless, it doesn’t mean that the hats we wear for practical reasons should look good. A lot of them look excellent and are in fact a great way to quickly upgrade your look. Any outfit can be made fancier with a good hat. Therefore, be brave as some people would say, and do not be afraid of wearing hats. 

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In the old days the hat issue was sometimes decided for you:

“Historical significance: In England, the manufacture of caps was of sufficient importance to merit control by Act of Parliament from 1488 onwards. The ‘Cappers Act’ of 1571 stated that every person above the age of six years (excepting ‘Maids, ladies, gentlewomen, noble personages, and every Lord, knight and gentleman of twenty marks land’) residing in any of the cities, towns, villages or hamlets of England, shall wear on Sundays and holidays (except when travelling), ‘a cap of wool, thicked and dressed in England, made within this realm, and only dressed and finished by some of the trade of cappers, upon pain to forfeit for every day of not wearing 3s. 4d.’. This act was intended to keep domestic production alive, as caps were outmoded by this date and there was a danger that a fall in demand for them would have a detrimental effect on the makers. (From Statutes at Large, vol vi, p 288, quoted in Textile History, vol 1, 1971; article by S M Levey).”

Today in my country hats is a cowboy thing or just for hard work in the sun. Maybe some people use for fishing, etc. Really never as a EDC thing.

I wear a baseball cap just about everyday.

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