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Who Killed Men's Hats?
NPR ^ | May 4, 2012 | Robert Krulwich

Posted on 05/13/2012 7:42:53 PM PDT by Eyes Unclouded

...

So what happened? Why did guys stop wearing headgear in midcentury America?

The turning point, most people say, was John F. Kennedy's inauguration. Before Kennedy, all presidents wore top hats on their first day at work. Kennedy brought one, but hardly ever put it on. Fashionistas say Kennedy, one of our most charismatic presidents, made hats un-happen. And, chronologically speaking, after JFK, guys everywhere, even balding ones like astronaut John Glenn, went topless.

But I am the son of a hat designer. And my father, Allen S. Krulwich, had a different explanation. The president who de-hatted America, he thought, was Dwight Eisenhower.

Here's my dad's logic.

In the 1950s — and this was one of Ike's grand accomplishments — he built a vast highway system across America. Interstates went up everywhere. Cities extended roads, turnpikes, highways, and suburbs appeared around every major city. People, instead of taking a bus, a tram, a train to work, could hop into their new Chevy or Ford and drive.

Before Eisenhower, many more people used public transportation. After Eisenhower, they used a car. That, my father thinks, created the critical Head-To-Roof Difference.

A person of average height standing in a bus, tram or subway car has, roughly, three feet between the top of his head and the roof.

(Excerpt) Read more at npr.org ...


TOPICS: Culture/Society; Editorial; Miscellaneous
KEYWORDS: fashion; hat; hats; males; npr; stetson; trends
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1 posted on 05/13/2012 7:43:06 PM PDT by Eyes Unclouded
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To: Eyes Unclouded

JFK


2 posted on 05/13/2012 7:44:23 PM PDT by IrishPennant (Are you behind a "Blade of Grass?")
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To: Eyes Unclouded

I blame these guys.

3 posted on 05/13/2012 7:47:10 PM PDT by dfwgator (Don't wake up in a roadside ditch. Get rid of Romney.)
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To: Eyes Unclouded

I heard that it was because so many men served in the military during WWII. I still have nightmares where I can’t find my Cover.


4 posted on 05/13/2012 7:48:31 PM PDT by blueunicorn6 ("A crack shot and a good dancer")
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To: Eyes Unclouded
This author needs to occasionly venture out into the real world.


5 posted on 05/13/2012 7:49:02 PM PDT by Errant
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To: Eyes Unclouded

Nonsense. The interstate highway system did little or nothing to change the number of people who drove cars and commuted to work.

It was JFK and the swooning Camelot tale spinners in the media.


6 posted on 05/13/2012 7:50:14 PM PDT by Cicero (Marcus Tullius)
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To: Eyes Unclouded

Hoodies got em.


7 posted on 05/13/2012 7:51:13 PM PDT by HiTech RedNeck (Mitt! You're going to have to try harder than that to be "severely conservative" my friend.)
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To: Eyes Unclouded

$400 haircuts?


8 posted on 05/13/2012 7:52:44 PM PDT by moovova (OBAMA: The first US President to come out of the closet.)
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To: Eyes Unclouded

$400 haircuts?


9 posted on 05/13/2012 7:52:57 PM PDT by moovova (OBAMA: The first US President to come out of the closet.)
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To: Errant

most pickup trucks have the requisite headroom


10 posted on 05/13/2012 7:52:57 PM PDT by HiTech RedNeck (Mitt! You're going to have to try harder than that to be "severely conservative" my friend.)
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To: HiTech RedNeck

NPR idiot.

Lower than a obama supporter.

Look around doofus.

Formal hats have been replaced with more practical hats.

And why spend time on such an issue?


11 posted on 05/13/2012 7:54:52 PM PDT by Texas resident (November 6 - Vote Against obama)
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To: HiTech RedNeck

Yea, but not recliners. :)


12 posted on 05/13/2012 7:55:14 PM PDT by Errant
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To: Errant

This author needs to occasionly venture out into the real world.
_______________________________________________________

There ya’ go! And, by God, they better remove them at the National Anthem!

I get ticked at the little league field when they don’t. ;-)


13 posted on 05/13/2012 7:56:00 PM PDT by RushIsMyTeddyBear (A MUST WATCH: http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=KeOLurcQaqI)
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To: Eyes Unclouded

The same conspiracy that got Men Without Hats were warmed up from killing off Toni Basil.

14 posted on 05/13/2012 7:56:22 PM PDT by Snickering Hound
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To: Eyes Unclouded
Absence of hat racks?


15 posted on 05/13/2012 7:57:14 PM PDT by Revolting cat! (Let us prey!)
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To: Errant

Good point!


16 posted on 05/13/2012 7:57:30 PM PDT by Anti-Bubba182
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To: Cicero

I adore hats...I wear what’s left of women’s hats, and my husband sometimes does the boonie hat type thing, or his redneck straw “cowboy” hat or a baseball cap on backwards (gear-head style)...and those are just the warm season hats!

Wish they would come back for ladies like the good old days...they were works of art and so expressive.

So much nowadays is unisex. I don’t even like the word.


17 posted on 05/13/2012 7:58:13 PM PDT by homegroan (Veni, Vedi, Velcro....since 1998)
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To: Errant

That’s a cap and not a hat.


18 posted on 05/13/2012 7:58:40 PM PDT by frogjerk (OBAMA NOV 2012 = HORSEMEAT)
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To: Eyes Unclouded

People on TV and in the movies stopped wearing hats, and society followed.

Edward Bernays was a person who tried to get movies to always show someone smoking to sell cigarettes, and he’d rent famous diamond jewelry for women to wear in movies (he’s the origin of A Diamond is a Girl’s best Friend, I think).

If you constantly see something in the media, you are likely to see it as normal and perhaps wonder why you aren’t doing it too.


19 posted on 05/13/2012 8:00:03 PM PDT by DBrow
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To: frogjerk

Really! lol


20 posted on 05/13/2012 8:00:44 PM PDT by Errant
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To: HiTech RedNeck

“most pickup trucks have the requisite headroom”

Depends on the person more than the truck. I have yet to find a pickup big enough to allow me to sit up straight, let alone wear a hat, and I drive an F250 daily.


21 posted on 05/13/2012 8:02:12 PM PDT by jameslalor
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To: jameslalor

convertible pickup truck? moon roof?


22 posted on 05/13/2012 8:04:32 PM PDT by HiTech RedNeck (Mitt! You're going to have to try harder than that to be "severely conservative" my friend.)
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To: frogjerk
I sometimes wear a hat, of Australian design, when mowing on the ZT, fishing, or working out in the sun on a hot day.

Otherwise, I have my AOPA cap on, or nothing at all... ;)

23 posted on 05/13/2012 8:05:04 PM PDT by Errant
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To: Eyes Unclouded

I think JFK really did have an influence on going hatless. My Father, and Grand Father always wore hats when going out in public. I was in high school when JFK was killed and I don’t think any of our generation wore hats.

As a matter of fact I still like hats. I am 6’3” and definitely do not need one but still wish they were more popular.

One thing I can’t stand is guys wearing baseball caps backwards to show they are cool.


24 posted on 05/13/2012 8:05:09 PM PDT by yarddog
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To: jameslalor

I can wear a hat in my supercab F-250, but not my regular cab F-150.


25 posted on 05/13/2012 8:07:00 PM PDT by Errant
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To: Eyes Unclouded

I suspect it was better hair hygiene.


26 posted on 05/13/2012 8:07:36 PM PDT by agrarianlady
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To: homegroan

Maybe I should add that I think JFK hastened the process, but it likely would have happened anyway. It was connected to the Countercultural Revolution, which more or less coincided with Kennedy.

It wasn’t just hats. It was also suits, neckties, sports jackets, dinner jackets, and all the rest of what used to be formal wear.

The first time I visited Europe, in the 50s, EVERYONE wore suits, ties, and hats. The next time I went, the Alligator shirt had come into fashion (it started in France and rapidly spread), and many men wore those, instead of the suits and ties they had worn earlier.

When I went to prep school, we always wore a tie, although we might loosen it and undo the top button. And gray flannels. And a sport jacket. The only exception was when we wore athletic uniforms.

Not everyone wore hippie gear in the late 60s, but just about everyone shed their suits and ties, unless they absolutely HAD to wear them. And even businesses in NYC did things like allowing informal wear on Fridays.

This was a huge departure from the past, when even the working classes in Europe wore suits and ties. Our ancient gardener in the house we rented in England in 1974-75 wore a three piece wool tweed suit and tie, even while he was weeding the garden or mowing the lawn. He wouldn’t have imagined being seen in public without it.

No longer.


27 posted on 05/13/2012 8:09:05 PM PDT by Cicero (Marcus Tullius)
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To: Eyes Unclouded

Ladies’ hats, too.


28 posted on 05/13/2012 8:09:34 PM PDT by donna (The fruits of Feminism: Angry fathers, bitter mothers, fat kids and political correctness.)
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To: yarddog
One thing I can’t stand is guys wearing baseball caps backwards to show they are cool.

Well, there are times when you have to wear a cap backwards for it to stay on your head. Like in your bass boat, four wheeler, motorcycle, fast horse and etc.

That said, I have this theory that when you see some kid in a car, with his cap on backwards, he's likely in a methadone rehab program.

29 posted on 05/13/2012 8:11:27 PM PDT by Errant
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To: Eyes Unclouded

Some things are always classy. One doesn't need society to pressure how one appears.

30 posted on 05/13/2012 8:15:51 PM PDT by Theoria (Rush Limbaugh: Ron Paul sounds like an Islamic terrorist)
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To: Eyes Unclouded

People who are regularly out doors, as they go about their daily business, still tend to wear hats.

What has gone away is the hat as an affectation among people who work indoors. If you are out in the sun all day, or out in the sprinkling rain all day, you wear a hat and it becomes part of your normal attire.

The exception is the construction worker, since he is obliged to wear a hard-hat and no one wears a hard hat once he’s off the job. But even a lot of them will have another hat to wear once the hardhat goes off.

The hat as a fashion statement died among office workers because it was just a fashion accessory and had lost its practical purpose.


31 posted on 05/13/2012 8:17:01 PM PDT by marron
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To: Errant

I think the fad started with kids imitating catchers. The catchers turned their caps backward so they could wear their masks.

Catchers like Yogi Berra were cool and had that rough and ready look about them. It was cool for a while but now everybody does it.


32 posted on 05/13/2012 8:18:00 PM PDT by yarddog
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To: Errant
Sorry, but I was taught to remove your cap when inside a house or building. I see the opposite today, as in your photo.
33 posted on 05/13/2012 8:19:43 PM PDT by Theoria (Rush Limbaugh: Ron Paul sounds like an Islamic terrorist)
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To: blueunicorn6
I heard that it was because so many men served in the military during WWII. I still have nightmares where I can’t find my Cover.

After 40 plus years, I still have similar dreams. Some part of the uniform I can't find or all I have available are really crappy shoes or dirty uniforms.

You'd think that would go away after 40 some years. It's not a frequent dream by any means but it does pop up sometimes.

34 posted on 05/13/2012 8:20:37 PM PDT by Graybeard58 (Romney vs. Obama? One of them has to lose, I'll rejoice in that fact, whichever it is.)
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To: frogjerk; TheOldLady
Now *this* is a hat.

This bigger question is why men stopped wearing tiaras.

Life is full of millinery mysteries.

35 posted on 05/13/2012 8:21:25 PM PDT by Salamander (If I'm too rough, tell me.....I'm so scared your little head will come off in my hands.)
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To: HiTech RedNeck

But headrests don’t leave room for a wide brim unless one becomes a hunchback. LOL


36 posted on 05/13/2012 8:25:55 PM PDT by Dust in the Wind (U S Troops Rock)
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To: Theoria

Well, certainly you do in some buildings and when you sit down to eat, depending again on where you’re at or if you’re military. We cap wearers are not without etiquette.


37 posted on 05/13/2012 8:26:43 PM PDT by Errant
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To: jameslalor

I hear you. I’m 6”4” and couldn’t wear a hat in my F-250.

I remember that it was Kennedy who quit wearing hats because he had “good hair,” so everyone quit wearing them.


38 posted on 05/13/2012 8:30:40 PM PDT by Inyo-Mono (My greatest fear is that when I'm gone my wife will sell my guns for what I told her I paid for them)
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To: Eyes Unclouded

I’m wearing my beaverskin stetson ( 50 ) years old everyday barring an office appointment . The Kentucky derdy is a show place for hats if you like Lady Gaga types .

I think your Father may have a piece of this mystery nailed down but there are other reasons also .


39 posted on 05/13/2012 8:31:25 PM PDT by Ben Bolt
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To: Theoria
Btw, the gentleman in the photo is a comedian, and the cap is part of his shtick. You should check him out, as I'm sure you'd fine his repertoire enlightening. Youtube, "Larry the Cable Guy". :)
40 posted on 05/13/2012 8:33:46 PM PDT by Errant
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To: Salamander

Oooh! Eye candy! Thank you for the ping.


41 posted on 05/13/2012 8:36:56 PM PDT by TheOldLady
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To: Eyes Unclouded

Ike never wore a hat.. and I cannot imagine Harry Truman in a top hat so I did not bother to look for an image of his inauguration. But what the hell..

I looked and damn, there he and VP Barkley both with top hats.

"Eisenhower was the first president to eschew the top hat and tails. . . . "

42 posted on 05/13/2012 8:37:15 PM PDT by WilliamofCarmichael (If modern America's Man on Horseback is out there, Get on the damn horse already!)
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To: Errant

No, I know who he is. I see other people doing the same ‘shtick’. All hat and no cattle. It reminds me of the gansta outfit sop.


43 posted on 05/13/2012 8:37:34 PM PDT by Theoria (Rush Limbaugh: Ron Paul sounds like an Islamic terrorist)
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To: Snickering Hound

She was one ofthe first girls I looked at and thought she needed to eat a few burgers.


44 posted on 05/13/2012 8:37:58 PM PDT by Secret Agent Man (I can neither confirm or deny that; even if I could, I couldn't - it's classified.)
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To: Eyes Unclouded
Who Killed Men's Hats?

The long hairstyles for men of the 1960s and 1970s.

45 posted on 05/13/2012 8:39:42 PM PDT by Will88
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To: Eyes Unclouded

I wish the the fedora hat would come back for men. So classy and a style for every man and taste.


46 posted on 05/13/2012 8:40:01 PM PDT by OSHA (One despises and wants to destroy the United States, the other is a dead terrorist.)
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To: Theoria
You don't know what you've missed...

Larry the Cable Guy!

;)

47 posted on 05/13/2012 8:40:33 PM PDT by Errant
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To: Eyes Unclouded
"You got a problem with my hat? Well, do ya, punk?"


48 posted on 05/13/2012 8:40:54 PM PDT by bigbob
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To: Eyes Unclouded

Men who didn’t have the guts to wear hats despite what the culture said.


49 posted on 05/13/2012 8:42:47 PM PDT by InvisibleChurch (I am the margin of error.)
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To: Eyes Unclouded
Until cars became the dominant mode of personal transport, there was no architectural reason to take your hat off between home and office.

More on the connection between hats and being regularly out in the weather:

People who take trams to work walk several blocks to the metro station, and then the several blocks from the metro to their office.

And they do it every day, whatever the weather, rain, shine, snow, sleet, whatever. So, the hat has a practical purpose. When you start driving, you're out of the weather from your front door to the parking garage to the office. Average office workers simply aren't out in the weather for longer than it takes to walk from the parking lot to the lobby door. That killed the hat.

50 posted on 05/13/2012 8:45:35 PM PDT by marron
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