Skip to comments.Who Killed Men's Hats?
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 ...
I blame these guys.
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.
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.
Hoodies got em.
most pickup trucks have the requisite headroom
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?
Yea, but not recliners. :)
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. ;-)
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.
That’s a cap and not a hat.
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.
“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.
convertible pickup truck? moon roof?
Otherwise, I have my AOPA cap on, or nothing at all... ;)
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.
I can wear a hat in my supercab F-250, but not my regular cab F-150.
I suspect it was better hair hygiene.
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.
Ladies’ hats, too.
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.
Some things are always classy. One doesn't need society to pressure how one appears.
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.
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.
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.
This bigger question is why men stopped wearing tiaras.
Life is full of millinery mysteries.
But headrests don’t leave room for a wide brim unless one becomes a hunchback. LOL
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.
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.
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 .
Oooh! Eye candy! Thank you for the ping.
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. . . . "
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.
She was one ofthe first girls I looked at and thought she needed to eat a few burgers.
The long hairstyles for men of the 1960s and 1970s.
I wish the the fedora hat would come back for men. So classy and a style for every man and taste.
Men who didn’t have the guts to wear hats despite what the culture said.
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.