Hats Off!

The other day my fellow fiber bloggers at Curls & Q suggested I write a post about hats.  Are hats making a comeback?  I think they are, but Thor thinks it’s fashionable only for the young.  He looks great in short-brimmed Fedoras, Derbys and Trilbys.  Thor actually wears hats (okay, I admit, I nudged him towards hats a bit), but only to protect his head and face from the sun.  Coming from a family of folks who are either blonde or red (ginger) haired with very fair skin, I joke that I can burn under a 40 watt bulb.  Thus hats for sunny days are a logical, rational and even necessary accessory for me.  Further, as I have never been able to possession of an umbrella for more than two days, I now have a collection of felted berets and hats that I wear when it rains.

I promised my daughter long ago I would never wear the hats she referred to as “French Foreign Legion” hats (on right, picture from Coolibar).  Imagine my surprise when I learned that the kepi (the

hat on the left) was the official hat of the French Foreign Legion (thank you Wikipedia).

Discovering that I could have been wearing the hat on the above right for the last 20 years piqued my interest.  I began to see how many hats over the last 150 years I could find.  I ran out of energy before I ran out of hats.

Keeping in mind that this list is NOT all inclusive, here it goes:  Akubra (pictured on left – Wikipedia), ascot, aviator, Balmoral, basher, baseball cap, batting helmet, beanie, boater, boonie, beaver, basher, billycock, biretta, bobble, bowler, bucket, bunnet (no, that’s not a typo for “bonnet”), busby, cady, caubeen, chilote, chullo, chupalla, cloth cap, coonskin, cordobés, cowboy, cricket, deerstalker (pictured above right – Wikipedia), derby, dixie cup, driver cap, fedora (pictured below left – Wikipedia), fez, fishing, flat cap, forage, garrison, Gatsby cap, gatt, golf cap, Greek fisherman’s cap, homberg, karakul, katie, kepi, kippa, kippah, knit cap, knit hat, kofia, kolpik, kufi, muir, nasaq, newsboy cap, night cap, outback, pakol, panama, patka, peaked, pork pie, ratting, rogatywka, rumal, Šajkača, salakot, sennit, sombrero,  shtreimel, side cap, skimmer, skullcap, skully, slouch, sock cap, somer, songkok, Stetson, stocking cap, stockman, stovepipe, straw hat, swagman, tam o’Shanter, taqiya, tagiyah, top hat, topi, topper, toque (picture to right – Wikipedia), trilby, tubeteika, tuque, turban,  Tyrolean, ushanka, vueltiao, Windsor, yarmulke, zucchetto … The list goes on and on and on.  (How many names did you recognize?)

My head spinning from all these hats, I thought about how amazing creativity responded to urgent need.  For instance, the broad-brimmed but light weight Panama hat is hand plaited from leaves of the jipijapa plant and shields the wearer from the sun.  Some, like the woolen knit French Canadian tuque, furry Russian ushanka and woolen Scottish tam, keep the wearer warm and toasty.  Some hats were created and/or popularized at a time of nation building when their utility was obvious or are automatically linked to a nation: Abukara and cork hats to Australia (click here for instructions on making your own cork hat – corks were hung from hats to keep flies away from the wearer’s face!); Stetson and 10 Gallon (aka cowboy) hats to the U.S.  Homburgs (beloved by King Edward VII) and Deerstalkers are both connected to Britain.

(Interesting note:  Though popularized by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s character Sherlock Holmes (picture at right from Cosmos Magazine), deerstalker caps had a most practical beginning!  Originally used by deer hunters in rural Scotland – not London detectives – its front and back bills kept the wearer’s face and neck protected from sun and/or rain, and its woolen earflaps could be pulled down and tied under the chin for warmth or tied at the top of the head if not needed.)

Others, like the biretta, yarmulke, zucchetto, kolpik, songkok, and taqiya, have religious significance.  Many hats are culturally identified, for instance, the Tyrolean (originated in Alps), gat (Korean), salakot (Phillipines), karakul (Central & South Asia), Šajkača (Serbia), and Vueltiao (Columbia).

These hats were (and are) crafted from silk, wool, linen, straw, mohair, cotton, and leather.  They were (and are) knit, crocheted, sewed, felted, embroidered woven and sewed.

Now, did you notice that of list of hats I compiled, not one was knit or crocheted nor was a woman’s hat?  I’ll get to that in another post.

Though barred from wearing around town either of the “French Foreign Legion” hats as noted the beginning of this blog, there remains a whole range of hats – both past and current – to choose from.  🙂


About sweatyknitter

Fiber art devotee, author, and amateur artisan bread baker.
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12 Responses to Hats Off!

  1. I agree. No increase in wearing of hats in Oslo as far as I have noticed. Rain hats and baseball caps mainly. It is more conservative, I would say.


  2. My older sister is really into crocheting cloches, and I’ve become quite fond of a certain red beret she made. 😀


  3. Yes! I am a hat enthusiast … and think fedoras have amazing class! While I don’t own any fedoras, I borrow Thor’s … and I have three cloches – a summer straw and two felted wool for winter.


  4. Neat post! 😀 It seems to me cloches and fedoras are making a HUGE comeback. (I myself own a 30’s type fedora with the brim curled in the back, though I like the 40’s style better.) And I have ALWAYS been a big fan of cowboy hats. I love the hat Robert Conrad wore in the role of James West on “The Wild Wild West” TV series.


  5. More headcovering/hat posts in the works. 🙂


  6. I think hats are very stylish – whether one dresses up or down. Not to mention the health benefits for those of us who burn and freckle madly. 🙂 Glad to know you’ve noticed more people wearing them in London. How does it seem in Norway?


  7. Me too! I have a hat collection that seems to grow exponentially! 🙂


  8. Northern Narratives says:

    Hats are very popular these days. I’m glad there are so many styles and colors.


  9. Curls & Q says:

    Yeah! Thank you! This was a brilliant post. I did not realize that there were so many hats! My 9 year old granddaughter loves to wear a pink, felted fedora. 😎 Fair Norwegian-skin here always wear a sun hat. 😎


  10. Wow! I did not know that there were that many hats around! I love wearing my rain hat instead of a brolly, it is so much easier! Yes, I think it is becoming more popular to wear hats again. I have seen an increase in the number of people wearing hats in London, UK! Thank you for enlightening me!


  11. Pingback: Hats Off! | The Sweaty Knitter, Weaver and Devotee of Other Fiber Arts | Knitting Instructions

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