In our recent rise and fall essay, you may have noticed that one of the differences between Ivy’s prewar golden age and postwar silver age is that hats used to be worn on campus. But in 1965, after President Kennedy supposedly dealt the hat the coup de grace, the only hats you see in “Take Ivy” are on the working stiffs of Madison Avenue.
You probably didn’t notice, however, that Tuesday was National Hat Day. I only know because the Headwear Association sent me a press release.
But it’s a perfect excuse to follow up our recent post on Taylor-Made shoes with another Main Street retailer that used the term “Ivy League” in its ad copy once the look became popular. These two Stetson ads are from 1953 and 1955 (coincidentally the same years as the Taylor-Made ads). Thanks to frequent comment-leaver “Old School” for alerting us to them.
Apparently Stetson still makes the hat, though I decided instead to set up an eBay alert for a vintage model. I haven’t worn a proper hat in ages; I used to wear them a lot to retro dress-up events in San Francisco back when I was angry at fate for being born in so crude and coarse an age. In fact, I think I used to wear them to work as a small-town reporter in the North Bay.
Now I’m in New York, but I’m older and wiser, and while New York would seem far more appropriate for a hat than suburban California (not to mention the differences between a man in his forties and a man in his twenties), I’m less inclined to indulge in more obvious gestures of retro-eccentricity. I do think a hat can be pulled off nowadays, provided you’re also wearing a long coat and there are snowflakes falling. — CC