This past week I ordered and received a new fedora, replacing the older model with a newer one. As I unboxed my new hat, I considered the history behind my various forms of head gear over the years.
Growing up reading mysteries I was more apt to wear a fedora because of Sam Spade than Indiana Jones. When I turned thirteen my parents gave me my first fedora, it was my first non ball-cap hat. It was one of those hunter-camouflage ones, but it was mine and I wore it everywhere.
The next year I purchased a crushable wool cowboy hat from the local TSC, and I wore it till it died tragically in one of the worst rainstorms the farm had ever seen.
With the destruction of my cowboy hat, I ordered a fedora. The classic kind that looks like it came out of a detective film. Of course over the years as I wore it, I was accused of being Indiana Jones, which I didn’t mind. It merely accentuated my air of mystique.
That last fedora lasted four years. Over those four years, I wore it for various occasions that stick out in my mind: Weddings, funerals, parties, adventures of all kinds. It has seen a lot of history, and I’ve grown beneath that hat.
There are other hats I acquired while wearing my old fedora: cowboy hats, straw hats, an oilcloth hat for the rain, each with a specific purpose for my wacky life.
There are multiple reasons for wearing hats. Each of us wears one, whether we know it or not. These hats can take the forms of jobs, relationships, or other circumstances of life. Some wear these hats to conceal their identity, to pull themselves into the hat so that no one can see who they truly are apart from it.
Others wear hats for utility, or as a means of heightening who they are. On the farm that’s what hats are for. When you’re out on the tractor, you need a straw hat to keep the sun from burning you to a crisp. At a barn dance you may pull out a fancy cowboy hat to impress your girl.
Personally, I often wear the hats I do for utility, but other hats, like my fedora, are worn because they are extensions of me. My personality has always been a part of the old fashioned gentleman. I hope it always will be. My fedora is classic, like me, and fits well with who I am.
As with any of these things in life, you can decide who’s wearing what. Do you wear the hat, or does the hat wear you?