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Sunday, 15 August 2010

The Prat in the Hat

(with apologies to Dr. Seuss)

It occurred to me, whilst watching Foyle’s War the other night, that something really fundamental must have happened in the late 1940s/early 1950s to stop the wearing of hats.  If you look at Foyle’s War* (and you really should, it’s brilliant), every male character wears a hat that signifies their social status.  How and why did this end?

I have been particularly exercised by this because, as many readers will know, I am somewhat follically challenged.  I have hair of extremely restricted growth.  Either that, or my forehead has fallen desperately in love with the back of my neck and will destroy everything in its path to form a liaison.  The problem being, if it’s successful in this endeavour, my face will probably fold in half.

Taking all of the above into account, you will understand why I’m quite keen on the idea of hats and would quite like to see their reintroduction.  I have been leading a one-man campaign to try to achieve this but, as I am hardly a fashion icon, this has been all for naught.  Plodding around Nottingham in my overcoat and fedora, I have attracted some pitying looks.   I have also had some hard stares, given that I also carry a bag containing my sat-nav, wallet, glasses and so on, all of which has the appearance of a gas mask and makes me look like someone who took the wrong turn to the Air Raid Shelter seventy years ago and has only just turned up.

Summer brings a necessity for hat wearing that never used to be a problem.  As a consequence (and because I keep forgetting to take one with me on holiday), I’m rapidly gaining a collection of baseball caps and other headgear that I would not normally wear if you paid me.  I am definitely of the opinion that no-one, apart from golfers and baseball players (who both have their own fashion problems), looks good in a baseball cap.  A recent hot day on the Isle of Wight necessitated a sullen trip to the local gift shop to cover a rapidly reddening scalp.  There was the usual collection of baseball caps and floppy sun hats, none of which particularly appealed.  I was drawn toward a range of cowboy hats but my wife wisely intervened.  The only remaining alternative, which I finished up sporting, has not really been fashionable since the Cultural Revolution in China but did, at least, save my expanding parting from incinerating.

We need a fashion revolution that will reinstate the hat for the follically challenged.  Help me to bring back hat-wearing whilst I’ve still got enough hair to make it look like a fashion statement rather than a necessity.
* By the way, only a British Detective TV programme could have the lead character (Michael Kitchen accompanied by the delightful Honeysuckle Weeks), when threatened by a trained assassin with a silenced pistol, start to walk a little more quickly.  Great stuff!

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