Brimmed hats -- made of felt in the fall, straw in the summer -- are a jaunty flourish that appeals to guys with a confident, individual sense of style. Worth & Worth, the venerable Manhattan shop that has specialized in fedoras and top hats since 1922 and is now online (www.hatshop.com), says that a new generation is taking an interest in fedoras. For years, its core fedora fans had been conservative executives, lawyers and bankers between 40 and 60 years old.
"In the last year and a half, we are getting more guys in their 20s and 30s who are buying fedoras for the first time," says Orlando Palacio, hat designer and one of the owners of Worth & Worth. "They come in and don't have any idea what their hat size is." ("Wearing a Fedora Hat", January 10, 2008, p. D8)
The columnist attributes the trend in part to celebrities like Johnny Depp and Brad Pitt, who have taken to wearing narrow-brimmed fedoras (called stingy brims or just stingies). Aside from the celebrity endorsements, it actually makes sense. Brimmed hats keep the head warm in cold weather and the face, ears, and neck protected from the sun. In other words, they're functional in ways that baseball caps are not. Of course, fashion is fickle; and brimmed hats are both more expensive and more difficult to store than caps. Even if the weren't almost assuredly on the tail end of every fashion trend, I would suspect that Messrs. Depp and Pitt will soon move on to something else and take their legion imitators with them. Oh, well. The very idea that I would like something that approaches fashionability is ludicrous, anyway. In any event, the mention of brimmed hats in the Journal inspired me to order a new one from Art Fawcett, this one a fedora in midnight blue beaver felt with a C-crown and a 2 3/4" brim. (Art calls the hat above the Savoy; it's also made from midnight blue felt, but the crown and brim are different.) It should be ready next month, and I fully expect women to flock to me like they do to Brad Pitt when I take delivery.