A Few Reasons To Consider Wearing A Hat

Waxing poetic on a classic, stylish and practical accessory

I have always loved hats. As a kid I wore caps and floppy bush hats all the time. I admired men who wore hats and figured some of that sophistication might rub off on me if I wore the same kind of hats that they did.

why wear a hat

A hat has a style and a panache all its own. A straw hat, especially a Panama, is redolent of warm summer days, perhaps of exotic locations, somewhere in the tropics. A Fedora could evoke thoughts of G-men or even of the gangsters they were pursuing, especially when worn pulled down over the eyes and cocked to one side! A straw Boater, while even more seldom seen than a Panama or Fedora, is an unmistakable symbol of the Jazz Age.

All the great Hollywood icons wore hats. Fred Astaire was seldom seen without a hat. Who can forget Humphrey Bogart in that great final scene from Casablanca, walking off into the distance wearing his Fedora and trench coat? Gary Cooper, Cary Grant, Douglas Fairbanks, all the well-dressed movie stars wore hats.

why wear a hat

The coming of the motor car eradicated the need for most men to wear a hat. By the early 1960s, hat-wearing was in precipitous decline. Look at a photograph of a crowd taken in the 1940s or even 1950s and you will notice that most of the men in the photo are wearing a hat. Look at a similar crowd scene from the mid-60s and you might be hard pressed to find a hat that is not a baseball cap.

But nothing has replaced the hat’s ability to protect the wearer from the elements. I will not go out in the sun without some head covering. And even though I wore baseball caps for years, sadly they don’t protect one’s temples or ears. I have had one encounter with sun damage-caused skin cancer and I’m not eager for another. So I wear a hat with a brim almost always. The only time I don’t is when I’m in my convertible. Then, I wear a newsboy cap.

why wear a hat

A hat is, for me, is more than mere protection, it’s an important element of my personal style. My hats are almost my signature. I love to experiment with different hats to change up a look. For example, during the transition from winter into spring and summer, a suit that I might wear with a Fedora one day would look completely different if on a slightly warmer day I paired it with a Panama.

Some men are put off of wearing a hat by the perceived difficulty of dealing with them in restaurants, airplanes and so on. If there is no convenient place to store a hat while at a restaurant, I usually place mine on the floor under my seat. There, it is protected and out of the way. On an airplane, I can usually safely store my hat in the overhead bin, but if I have to I’ll carry it on my lap. A little thought and a little ingenuity will see you through. That slight inconvenience is a small price to pay for the protection and style a hat provides.

Thanks for reading!

Andy Poupart
He Spoke Style

Chime In

  • Jose Grau

    Which hat brans are you wearing in these photos?

    • Andy

      All of the hats in the photos are by Bate’s Hatters,of Jermyn Street, London.

  • Tom

    Somehow I’ve spent the last 2-3 hours looking at Andy’s photos online. I really love the one’s with the Gunclub check jacket. Now I have to find one for myself.

    • http://hespokestyle.com/ Brian Sacawa

      Not hard to see why! Andy’s got some excellent style. If you can wait two or three months, you might be able to find a gunclub check jacket (or two or three) available from us. Can’t fully tip our hand at this point, but stay tuned!

      • Tom

        Since we’re a few months away from fall weather, 2-3 months seems like a perfect wait time. Look forward to seeing what “may” be available Brian.

    • Andy

      Thank you. I think all the gunclub jackets I’ve posted images of are made up from test runs of cloth that never got made. But there are plenty of really attractive gunclub checks available. Or wait and see what Brian has up his sleeve!

  • Tom B

    Wonderful post, fantastic hats, thank you Andy! I too wear a hat 90% of the time outdoors. Why? As I always tell folks who ask – When you have as much hair a I do (none at all), wear a hat! Besides practical, hats are fun – really pull the outfit together, to paraphrase the Dude. As I live in the South, I have a lot of Panamas. I love them, but do you have any other stylish suggestions for hot weather?

    • http://hespokestyle.com/ Brian Sacawa

      For me, the Panama is the quintessential summer hat. Reading Andy’s post, I’m reminded that it’s been a while since I’ve worn my own! It’s only August, right?

      • Tom B

        Thank you both for your replies! Yes, there are so many different Panama styles… and I even have my straw fedora (don’t ask, it works for me.) As I’m a Philly boy living down South, I wear my Panamas till the leaves fall in late November, so Brian you still have some time!

    • Andy

      A panama is the quintessential summer hat, as Brian says. so much so, that I don’t have any other suggestions. However, a panama comes in as many different styles as a felt hat. In the article I am wearing a fedora panama, but I also have a classic optima shape, a large brim fedora style, a style that has an optima crown with a large, pencil-curled brim. I have a darker straw colored straw hat that Bate’s calls the “Antibes”, and there are plenty of other styles to be had.

  • Tony Lupton

    Being from the land down under where sunshine plentiful and the state that is known as the skin cancer capital of the world, I’m well accustomed to wearing a hat when working outside or doing outdoor pursuits. More recently I have started adding hats to my business attire. It has taken a little bit of conscious effort, but I like the outcome!

  • Kostas Mandilaris

    Andy! I loved the article, I am very interested though on the brown pants! Could you tell us where you got them from?

    Best Regards,
    Kostas from Misiu Academy

    • Tom B

      Yes, that brown 3-piece is amazing – 1940s and Now at the same time! Andy could be “Oppie” at Los Alamos, or the computer scientist version thereof which he is today.

    • Andy

      Thank you! The brown trousers are part of the three-piece suit in that picture. The cloth is a vintage tweed from Hunters of Brora and the suit was made by Steed Bespoke Tailors in London.

  • RJ Giddings

    Nice article Andy. Yes, Brian mentioned Goorin Bros a few years ago – where they foster the idea of leaving the house without a hat is a foreign as leaving the house without pants. While it’s certainly not for everyone – I’m convinced my head is already big and fat – and a hat of any type would make it even more rotund. There is something about a straw hat/ panama style that creates a nice aesthetic profile on hot days, though.

    • RJ Giddings

      Ok, broke down and bought one…Goorin Bros on 1st Ave in Seattle. Michelle from Miami was very helpful. And…best part? It fits. Suze likes it. Win-win.

  • Forrest Howe

    Great post. Not only do full brimmed hats look elegant but as you say minimize exposure to sun damage. I got tired of them cutting on ears and scalp. I live in Southern CA where the sun gets hot and I find full brimmed hats cooling. I wear light felts in winter and Panamas the rest of the time.
    BTW, I place my keys in my hat at restaurants and other places where hat removal is expected. Can’t get far without my keys!