This impulse isn't new. It no doubt started that summer of 1981 as my teen years mercilessly began, in a movie theater, during any one of numerous viewings of Raiders of the Lost Ark. Come to think of it, this post could just as well have turned out to be about whips.
But anyone who has visited this blog more than a couple of times knows exactly from where this is coming. An excerpt from The Way You Wear Your Hat: Frank Sinatra and the Lost Art of Livin':
"No one in the family seems to know where they" [Sinatra's hats] "have gone. Said Eydie Gorme, in 1995: 'He recently told me he missed wearing those hats so much. He loved being able to take it off, give it to a hatcheck person, put it back on, tip it, push it down, push it up.'" (p. 115)
"It was only when his hair had grayed, in the seventies, that the hats disappeared. Privately, he took to golf caps and baseball caps. But if he wasn't wearing casual clothes, he wasn't wearing any hats at all. It was an acknowledgment, unconscious and barely noticed, that the world had changed, that jauntiness belonged to another time. No one else was wearing hats, either. And so he began missing them more than ever." (The Way You Wear Your Hat: Frank Sinatra and the Lost Art of Livin', p. 117)
I've always assumed Elvis Presley was the beginning of the end for hats, followed next by John F. Kennedy. One popular theory with many who mourn the lost era of hats, is when Kennedy stopped wearing hats, so did the world. The final nail in the coffin of hat wearing as being fashionable had to have been the Beatles, specifically their first appearance on Ed Sullivan's show, February 1964. Whatever the case, Wal-Mart (of all places) is selling these hats (of a questionable quality) for $10 apiece. Seeing as they were displayed and had been possibly handled by other Wal-Mart customers, I was a little uncomfortable actually trying them on. But that's the point of this post - I bet nobody else had even touched them (other than the shelf stocker).