When it is cold outside, we automatically think body heat may be lost through our heads, so we cover our heads with hats. And we all know babies, in particular, lose heat rapidly through their heads, so we ensure their heads are covered. Initially, headgear offered protection from the elements and helped prevent injury from falling rocks or masonry.
Later, head coverings became symbols of status or authority. Soon after, hats progressed to become not only parts of uniforms, but also as art forms. But there is more to the story.
I recently ventured to a local cafeteria and noticed two men walk in with hats on their heads. There was a certain air about these men and even a confident swagger. So I had to find out more. I ventured over to their table and asked them if I could join them for lunch. They gladly accepted and we began a leisure lunch on the subject of men and their hats.
When asked why they wore hats, the two men said that they were stylish, that their fathers had worn hats and that they had been wearing hats since high school. One gentleman even commented that “owning a nice hat is like owning a nice tie” and that he wants his hat to make a statement.
A hat is the most noticeable fashion item anyone can wear and I am flattered when a man tips his hat to me.
I am also enamored and listen attentively as the men rattled off names of hats like: LBJ, Pirates, Fedora, Dobbs, Stetson, Clint Eastwood, Justin’s, Borsalino, Christy’s, Apple, Cowboy, Bucket, Felt, Beaver, Straw and Tams. This reminded me of conversations with my girlfriends about purses (Kate Spade, Coach, Dooney & Burke, etc.). The names flew off their lips fluidly as they reminisced.
And just as varied as the hats are the brim styles, including the raw edge, under welt edge, upper welt edge, bound edge and wrip edge. The upper and under welt on a brim increases the firmness to the hat edge, helping the brim hold its shape longer and better, which will reduce the risk of damaging the shape of the brim from daily handling. The edging of a hat brim can be designed several ways. It may be left plain (known as a raw edge), it may be welted, or it can be bound with ribbon.
Even the upkeep on a hat is interesting, as you typically take your hat to a milliner to steam clean and then shape, all while you wait. Alternatively, you can remove surface dirt from a straw hat with a clean damp cloth. And you store your hat either in their box or upside down and in plastic wrap to extend the life of the hat. Also, you never place the brim of a hat on a flat surface. This could cause the brim to flatten and lose its shape. Nor do you handle the hat by the crown. If your hands are dirty or oily they will leave spots on the fabric. You remove and put on the hat by the brim.
Finally, never leave your hat in a hot car or closet, as heat causes the sweatband to shrink, and then the hat will no longer fit. To keep the sweatband dry of perspiration and oils, occasionally turn down the sweatband to dry. One gentleman swore by his hat as it covers his baldness, yet both agreed that you don’t wear a hat inside.
“It is impossible to travel faster than the speed of light, and certainly not desirable, as one’s hat keeps blowing off.” ChernobylBob @ Flickr.com. Creative Commons. Some Rights Reserved
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