You know what modern people are lacking? Hats.
There was a man without a hat in this picture, but he was tackled and dragged off by the police for public indecency.
The only people that wear hats nowadays tend to be insufferable hipsters out of Target catalogs. I’m not here to talk about them - no one wants to talk about them (not even they do). No, I am here, as a non-hipster hat-wearer, to tell you men how to wear hats like the proud British Army soldiers you are, and why.
Let’s start with a simple demonstration of the importance of hats.
Mustaches are a separate article. Not everyone can pull e’m off. Sorry.
Since the man on the left, who I’m relatively sure is my father - making him a Time Traveller - is wearing a hat, he is much cooler than the man on the right…who is J.R.R. Tolkein. That’s right, with a hat, you have a leg up on the creator of Lord of the Rings. Even being a Time Traveller isn’t enough to get you that alone. As a side note, if you do not rate J.R.R. Tolkein as being cool, it is because you are an objectively bad person who eats babies.
In this post, I will use the Stroker, or Driving Hat, as my demonstration of Hattiness and Hat-usage. Here is my Senior Year Orchestra Picture.
I have some facial hair and a good foot of heavy metal hair now, so if you don’t wear a hat I clearly have mounds more testosterone than you at this point. Not Pictured: All the fainting super-models.
This would be a random picture of some kid with a violin, except I am TOTALLY wearing a hat, thus raising the cool-factor by about i. That’s right, it’s not even feasible to imagine how to calculate how much cooler the hat makes this picture.
You may recognize that style of hat as being worn by some Austin-type hipsters. I am here to tell you that I was wearing that hat before them, and before Brad Pitt started up on it. We must not relent our hats to people who don’t know how to wear them!
I know your parents probably told you not to wear hats inside, but this isn’t wholly true: a formal hat can be worn inside, though should of course be removed as etiquette demands (the flag passing by, prayer, when bowing, thrown into the audience before you play a solo, etc.). Just so you know.
The first thing about choosing a manly hat (not just a utilitarian I-have-a-bald-spot hat) is to not choose a Baseball Cap. You probably don’t even play baseball. That’s like deciding you need to dress nicer and then buying a bunch of T-Shirts.
There are many kinds of hats, and you can have a mix of them, but only some hats work for some people. Of course, you should never wear formal hats with informal outfits, and visa versa. Baseball hats do not go with polo shirts, for example.
Bowler hats don’t go without jackets, coats, etc. Wearing only a vest with a bowler hat makes you look like a hipster. Bowlers are heavy-lifting hats - they need more of an outfit to make them work, or an honest, non-metrosexual beard and mustache combo. Pork-Pie hats, a sort of Bowler hat variant, should mainly stay on a woman, or with your Steampunk outfit (none of that was a criticism, believe it or not). They just don’t work as a non-hipster hat unless you go all-out 30’s-40’s formal (which involves certain tie designs, vest types, lapel sizes, etc.). It’s a time-locked hat for the most part.
Strokers are highly versatile, and it depends on the hat material and construction as to their level of formality. Additionally, their frame-less design makes them satisfying to throw into a crowd of adoring fans, or store in your pocket before throwing them into said crowd.
Fedoras come in numerous varieties, and should only be reserved for more formal outfits. I know, Indiana Jones wore a fedora and lost his shirt half the time. You are not cool enough to have a signature hat that stays on regardless of outfit. Suck it up, cowboy.
Speaking of Cowboys, unless you are in a Texas Swing Band, are currently at a Western bar, or actually work on a ranch, don’t wear a frikkin’ cowboy hat. Same goes for the boots, and one should not be worn without the other. Yes, this means that the vast majority of the population of Texas is in horrible violation of Cowboy hat etiquette. If you are an accountant and your son drives an F-350 with his cowboy hat and boots, you need to sit him down and have a long talk about why he doubts his penis so much.
As you can see, these things vary, but I’ll lay out some guidelines using my own hat collection:
Yes, 10 hats. There is one that is not quite a stroker, but we’ll get to it later.
Here is my collection. Note that you do not need this many hats. One or two will often do. Still, note the variety in color and shape. Hats need to match your outfit. Obviously, this makes Black hats pretty versatile.
Many hats are for every day occasions. These non-specialized hats are important if you wish to add a hat to your daily repertoire. They are more generalized varieties of the chosen hat type, and are most defined by what they are NOT.
There is no mnemonic to remember the colors of the hat spectrum, sorry.
Then you have outdoors hats, for when you want to wear your stylish man-hat outside. These hats, for obvious reasons, need to breathe better than other hats, via mesh, holes, or being straw (though straw hat style can sometimes be touchy).
That said, I try and avoid going outside. I have hair down to my shoulder blades, and I live in Texas, so it is friggin’ HOT out there.
Then we have cold or winter hats. These need to be warmer for obvious reasons, but you don’t need to wuss out and pull on ear-flaps in most climates if you have a good collar available. No need to eskimo-out if you don’t have to.
This one is sort of a cross between a military cap and a 20’s baseball hat. Old people are weird.
Finally, there is the mightiest form of hat: the formal hat. This doesn’t need to be a Top Hat, and in fact, it is by necessity and decency that top hats are reserved for only the most formal and exquisite of occasions. Prince William got married in a Top Hat. Even he doesn’t touch top hats outside of things like that, and he’s literally a friggin’ Prince. Formal hats are made of better materials, look better, and generally make it obvious that they are formal.
Yes, I wear a dead lamb on top of my head when at my best.
So you see, hats are nuanced and complex, but also very complimentary and totally awesome. However, make sure that, before you choose a hat, you are able to wear it. Notch wears a bowler hat and it works because his face is rounded. I could not wear a bowler hat. With more pointed features, the elongated stroker works better for me. Fedora variants require some level of handsomeness, period, as well as a more trim frame unless you intend to look like Orson Welles.
Clark Gable and I have both worn this hat. Become jealous.
So, go forth, and take back the concept of man-hats!