Sunday, January 24, 2010

Good Ol' Days

Oh, the good ol' days when our politicians wore Stetsons and carried six shooters around their office. Today's picture features Harry S. "The Buck Stops Here" Truman, and John Nance "Cactus Jack" Garner. Truman is wearing a fine looking stetson, and is sporting a couple of Colt Peacemakers. I think the western Stetson was the high point of Men's hat fashion.

I have said on several occasions that I am disappointed that the hat has fallen out of favor in men's fashion. I feel that men stopped being gentlemen about the same time they stopped wearing hats. Today, pretty much the only hat you ever see men wear is a baseball cap. I do not understand this. It has all the disadvantages of a nice hat, in that it messes up the hair, but it has neither functional nor fashion value. The baseball cap shades the face, but does not shade the ears or the back of the neck. Worse yet, is when the cap is worn backwards to be cool, or worn front ways, but cocked over to the side.

So, to try and renew interest in wearing proper hats, this week we will explore men's hat styles.


  1. Sorry, just picking up pieces of my brain - was trying to imagine Barry holding two six shooters in the white house and discussing their merits with Rahm.



  2. My Dad always wore a hat. He had his felt hat for special occasions and his straw hat for everyday.

  3. I'd be more impressed if they were loaded.

  4. Always been partial to the fedora, myself. It's what my Dad wore and what my Grandfather wore. I'm a bit sensitive to the sun, so I get a nice wide brimmed western hat and have it reshaped to a fedora style. I think it's quite fetching.

    I agree with you on the baseball caps, or "gimme" hats as I have heard them called, but what drives me bonkers is the "cowboy" hat worn by entertainers down over their ears. Especially since they don't seem to have enough manners to remove the hat indoors. Unfortunately, that habit has been picked up by many otherwise nice folks.

  5. Mathan,
    I could not agree more. I do not like stetson's on entertainers, "wanna be" cowboys.

  6. In the early eighties, in Abilene, Texas, I was struck by the gentility of the men going in to church. They would pick their hats up off their heads and tip them to the ladies and then sweep them off their heads at the doors.

    Even then most people weren't wearing hats, but there were several cowboy hats at church on Sunday.

  7. I agree with Mathan and PJM. No Stetsons, or any hats, inside.

    You want the height of rude, tho? I once attended a wedding reception where one of the male guests wore not only a Stetson inside but a pair of huge rowled Mexican spurs to the reception. He cut some holes in upholstery when he backed up to furniture, he ran some ladies hosiery and snagged some gentlemen's pant legs, and quickly became extremely unpopular. And this was at Hoffman Estates, Illinois, deep in the heart of the Chicago suburbs!

  8. +JMJ+

    Go for it!!!
    My husband wears his nice cowboy hat every time he steps out the door . . . and I live in the Northeast--yes, made me notice him right away back in the day.

  9. I think your first issue is to change the overall mens' wardrobe. Bring back the everyday suit and the hat can follow. It would be ridiculous to see people start sporting Stetsons while clad in the typical t-shirts.

  10. I'm wearing a Vikings helmet right now, but I would normally never wear a hat indoors. Special occasion today.

  11. Cars have changed. The side windows slope in, and seat head rests are high, making it damn near impossible to wear anything but a baseball cap.

    Why are you offended by men wearing hats indoors, because your grandmother was? By that reasoning, I should be offended by women not wearing hats in public.

  12. Viva La Revolution!
    Start wearing a hat, PJM.
    I do like the style Truman is sporting.
    Nate is correct. People go out in their PJs - For Pete's sake.
    Even in the depression, men wore suits. Women wore suits or dresses.

  13. One reason hats are taken off inside is to avoid blocking the view when people sit behind you at church, movies, etc. I remember having to change seats when rude people wouldn't remove their hats or being stuck behind them and not being able to see. I love hats on ladies and gentlemen and I do hope they come back in fashion. Thank you for the OPOD!

  14. I'll buy that Callie, blocking someone's view in theater type seating is rude, for men or women.
    But that's not what the old saw says, it says indoors, anywhere indoors... at least when females are present. I don't think the barn, or garage, count. ;o)

  15. I remember many of the seats in the older buildings in our town used to have wire hat holders under the seats like the ones in this picture:

  16. Though I have never been a hat person I can agree about the baseball cap. It is disappointing when you are dining out and some of the "gentlemen" are wearing caps while eating.
    I love the photo always nice to see Harry Truman, my choice for one of the finest presidents ever.

  17. True Nate, but very few places provide men with any accommodation now. Coatrooms are distant memories. I never wear a hat, except in severe weather, so It's not usually an issue for me.

    Dag, why are you bothered by what they are wearing, tradition?

  18. It is classless to wear a hat while one is dining in a restaurant. Somewhere along the line people have lost manners.
    The loss of manners is evident in many instances. People talking on cell phones while they are being waited on for example.
    Perhaps you can call it tradition I think it is a lack of respect for others.

  19. Classless? Dag, it sounds like you were raised with the same social etiquette drills that I was. (I'm 65) But times have changed, and I'd be happy if I just didn't have to see their underwear, at this point. And cell phones were banned in public. :o)

  20. My father still wears a fedora every day. In the summer, he wears a tilley hat. He is a living icon from a bygone era. My mother never left the house without a hat and gloves.

    I love the guns in the photo, too. During the early part of my childhood, my parents, sister, and I grew up in my mother’s family home with my uncle (her brother) and my grandfather. They were avid hunters and went to Canada all the time.

    Even though we lived in a city suburb, my sister and I grew up with a cabinet full of rifles right outside our bedroom door. My uncle kept a loaded pistol on his dresser - why, I don’t know, but it was always there. He kept his bedroom door closed, and we weren’t allowed in there, so we didn’t go in. My parents told us not to touch any of the guns, so we didn’t. It was a simple as that. No-one thought anything of it, and there were no accidents.

    Today, child protective services would probably take us away. I miss the days of personal accountability.

    When I was single and lived in an apartment in the 1980s, I even had my own gun for a while - a Walther 9mm pistol. But I got rid of it when I got married.

    The whole firearm thing is WAY too touchy around here. The gun control laws in this area of the country (and especially in RI) are very strict. You’re not allowed to carry a firearm unless you’re an ex-cop (and that’s not always a great recommendation), nor do you have much right to defend yourself.

    You can own a gun, but you can’t carry it or even point it at someone, and you have to practically be at death’s door on the floor with an intruder standing over you with a bloody knife in his hand before you can do anything. The laws around here stipulate that you have to “try to flee” before you can defend yourself - what a joke.

    Even then, if you DO shot an intruder and survive, the criminals will undoubtedly sue you.

    Law-abiding citizens have no rights for personal protection, but the all of the gang members here in Providence shoot each other every day, so it’s OK that THEY get to have the guns.

    What a travesty. I need to move to Texas.

  21. Expat:

    If Barry had to hold a gun, he'd pass out.

  22. The etiquette of men taking off their hats inside goes back hundreds of years. Apparently it evolved out of the military gesture of showing the face and empty hand - a sign of respect and peace. Nobility adopted it, the upper classes adopted it, and since we tend to mock our betters, everyone else adopted it. It's considered a sign of respect to remove one's hat indoors, as a man who considers himself better than those around him would not remove his hat.

    These signs of gentility have long been lost. Would that they return, but I doubt they ever will. These days, men who wear hats who are older are looked at as charming, while men who wear hats who are younger are looked at as eccentric. Sad. I definitely appreciate my reenacting colleagues who embrace the old rules.

  23. Not sure if this can be verified, but I was told that the tradition of taking one's hat off indoors originated around the time of the civil war. The only coolers around at that time were in the restaurants and this was one of the few places that bodies would be stored until the time of their burial. It was also customary in that era for patrons to enter a restaurant by way of the kitchen. The hats came off as a sign of respect to the deceased.

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