As a younger lad, I have always worn baseballcaps to prove my support to my favorite team. They kept my head warm and just like superdandy Beau Brummel, I never took off my hat ’cause it would ruffle my ruffled hairdo. As the weather is getting colder outside, I long for something that can keep my head warm and looks better than the average sailors bonnet.
A hundred years ago in London, hats were worn as something normal for both men and women. In those days, a man would have risked being spat upon for not wearing a hat in the streets. Luckily that time is over. However, we still have some fundamental rules of hat etiquette, such as taking off your hat whenever there is a lady or elderly person in the room. Also, always take off your hat when you find yourself in someone else’s home or during offical events. Taking of your hat is a way of showing respect and extending your arm when greeting someone. Plain courtesy?
There are several different hats that are worn in combination with a suit. In my opinion there exists a clear distinction between hard felt hats and soft felt hats. I will first give you some definitions. Felt fabric is made by interlocking wool or fur fibers in all directions. A brim is the edge around the bottom of the hat. A cockade is a knot of ribbons worn around the hat as a badge of office or party.
One of the wellknown hard felt hats is the Black silk top hat, made from shiny beaver fur. The last people that wore that kind of hat were the stockjobbers, using the hat to be easily identifiable for quick transactions. Another famous hard hat is the hunting-weight coke, or bowler hat. These hard hats were primarily worn by the (hunting) gamekeepers in England when chasing poachers through the bushes and branches. The name originates from the Bowler Brothers who were one of the first producers of the bowler hat.
I do prefer soft felt hats over the hard felt hats as they are available in many different prints and just look better. About the colors, I could say that the tradition asks for a black one for town, a grey one for travelling and a brown one for leisure. In reality, I would need a black-grey-brown hat for any oridinary day, so let’s keep it simple: try to wear the same color hat as your suit, freely make color combinations in cockades (shirt/tie colors) and don’t be afraid to wear the hat with your brim up or down: the way you wear your hat is something very personal, so keep it dandy please.