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Why the fedora hate?
September 23, 2013 4:41 PM   Subscribe

It seems like people go out of their way to hate on people who wear fedoras. Not fedoras specifically, at least not that I have seen, but specifically making snarky remarks about people who wear fedoras. Lena Dunham made a remark in a piece basically insinuating that all you needed to know about an early crush of hers wore a fedora.

I have worn a fedora on and off since middle school. It started because I totally wanted to be Joey Jeremiah. Well, that and a horrible haircut that seriously traumatised me to the extent that since then I average about 1 haircut a decade. I wanted to start wearing hats but baseball, trucker, or any other of those snapback varieties simply do not work for me. The Canadian awesomeness of Joey was the push I needed to get my first fedora. Eventually I branched off into bowler, derby, and pork pie hats. As well as a Jughead hat (not me, but I hope I look that jovial when I am that old and grey) that I custom made from a discarded pork pie. I still like to wear fedoras, but am often made to feel incredibly self-conscious by the looks I get from the painfully young and hip when I do.

I know that they are somewhat associated with a lot of brodown-ing at the brodeo and overall douchiness, but is that really all there is to the hate?
posted by mediocre to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (89 answers total) 12 users marked this as a favorite
 
My impression is that fedoras somehow got associated with the pick-up artist community, which has a lot of misogynistic elements.

There was also an infamous Ask Metafilter question from a painfully awkward person who mentioned wearing fedoras. I don't think that this was the source of the fedora hate, which is much wider than Metafilter, but he probably is a good example of the qualities embodied by the fedora-wearing stereotype.
posted by zixyer at 5:07 PM on September 23, 2013 [16 favorites]


There's an idea that to wear a fedora properly, one needs the matching suit. If not, things don't match - and if things don't match, you better make it work and maybe (my op.) if you don't, it doesn't look very good. Ill-thought-out. Slapdash. blindly following whatever trend there is. And thus the relationship with the bro-dum.

There's also the idea of, "fuck the rules". but (as above), that can have it's own pitfalls. I guess it depends on what YOU care about.
posted by alex_skazat at 5:07 PM on September 23, 2013 [2 favorites]


. . . but [I] am often made to feel incredibly self-conscious by the looks I get from the painfully young and hip when I do.

If it's any consolation, one day you'll be old and ugly and invisible like me and those kids won't even bother looking at you.
posted by jason's_planet at 5:10 PM on September 23, 2013 [18 favorites]


I know that they are somewhat associated with a lot of brodown-ing at the brodeo and overall douchiness

It's actually more subtle than that. The stereotype is more like this: there is a type of guy who really, really wants to be suave and debonair, with an added dash of being really nostalgic for a time when 'men were men and women were women' (aka, men were in charge of women). And rather than really figuring out how to be suave, he adopts one particular artifact of people he thinks of as suave, while disregarding everything else (such as: don't wear ripped jeans with your fedora, wash yourself occasionally, don't whine when women reject your advances). It's not a stereotype of a bro; it's a stereotype of a nerd who wishes he was Don Draper.

Of course wearing a fedora will not magically imbue you with these qualities.
posted by showbiz_liz at 5:10 PM on September 23, 2013 [141 favorites]


Are you still trying to be Joey Jeremiah? Because the hate for why people do something is usually related to the impression that the person doing the thing that their doing is trying too hard to be someone that they aren't. Bottom line, if you like wearing a fedora, wear one. If you are trying to be someone you aren't and you aren't comfortable in the fedora - even when folks look at you with disdain - you need to ask yourself why you want to wear it.

Hopefully you say, "cause I look damn sexy" and you keep at it. Haters gonna hate.
posted by Nanukthedog at 5:11 PM on September 23, 2013 [10 favorites]


I don't think they're especially associated with bros. I think they're mostly associated with clueless guys who are attempting to look much cooler than they actually are. Because hats are no longer considered typical menswear, there's an assumption that if you're wearing one, you're trying to a) call attention to yourself in a very obvious manner and/or b) tap into some kind of nostalgic version of the past where men were men and dames were dames.

On preview, showbiz_liz totally beat me to it.
posted by Diagonalize at 5:12 PM on September 23, 2013 [5 favorites]


This is an extreme example of what showbiz_liz mentioned.
posted by quercus23 at 5:13 PM on September 23, 2013 [18 favorites]


In the geeky social circles I have been involved in, guys wearing fedoras also tended to have questionable taste in fashion and personal hygiene (long greasy ponytailed hair, wearing black leather tench coats, carrying a stuffed dragon on their shoulder, etc) and always made a big deal out of being a Nice Guy who never gets the hot chick because they only go for the "bad boys." Pretty off-putting.
posted by joan_holloway at 5:14 PM on September 23, 2013 [20 favorites]


There was once an excellent comment on reddit in response to a question about a guy always wearing the infamous Three Wolf Shirt. It applies equally well to fedoras.
posted by Durin's Bane at 5:14 PM on September 23, 2013 [20 favorites]


This:

"Because the hate for why people do something is usually related to the impression that the person doing the thing that their doing is trying too hard to be someone that they aren't."

And this:

"There is a type of guy who really, really wants to be suave and debonair... And rather than really figuring out how to be suave, he adopts one particular artifact of people he thinks of as suave, while disregarding everything else (such as: don't wear ripped jeans with your fedora, wash yourself occasionally, don't whine when women reject your advances). It's not a stereotype of a bro; it's a stereotype of a nerd who wishes he was Don Draper."

Yes, exactly. I think of a nerd who wishes he was Frank Sinatra. It's the idea that you want to look suave and cool, and you're thinking the fedora is what made Frank Sinatra (or whoever) look cool, and if you wear one you will remind people of Frank Sinatra. But it doesn't work that way.

I would say it's more "oh, it's dorky to do that with a fedora" rather than "FEDORA HATE."
posted by cairdeas at 5:15 PM on September 23, 2013 [4 favorites]


Honestly? At this point it's just played-out mockery - I think we've reached peak fedora and in a year or two people won't reference them much. I think it started on feminist blogs as shorthand for "nerdy and unselfaware dude who thinks he deserves much more praise and attention than is really the case, especially from women" and then turned into "let's mock awkward dudes, lol".

From an aesthetic standpoint: to me, a fedora is a formal hat and it looks best with formal clothes. With casual clothes, it suggests "look at me, I'm so insouciant and mildly transgressive!" It also sometimes suggests that a fellow thinks he's "gentlemanly" in a heavy-handed way that he thinks is retro/courtly/old fashioned and that really just comes off as "did you notice you're a woman with breasts and everything here let me open this door and say something vaguely salacious that I think is witty about your shoes". It's kind of a subculture thing - like those twee steampunk women who wear tiny tophats at an insouciant angle.

That said, you know, if you like the fucking fedora, you should just go ahead and wear it. You're better off finding people who like you and your taste in hats, regardless of the rest of the world, than trying to please random strangers and Lena Dunham (talk about an expense of spirit in a waste of shame!) I mean, on a purely personal level, I know some dorky radical media fellows who are fedora-types and I like them a lot and several of them are pretty cute. I'm lukewarm on the actual aesthetic of the fedoras, but they have no effect on how I think of the people who wear them.
posted by Frowner at 5:15 PM on September 23, 2013 [32 favorites]


In part I think it is because it is such an obvious, and thus ostentatious, affectation.

Funnily, I never associate them with bros-- I associate them with nerd or geek culture far moreso than bros.
posted by synecdoche at 5:16 PM on September 23, 2013 [10 favorites]


Here's the thing: fedoras are predominantly worn by dorks (debonair sysadmins) and douchebags who saw Swingers. Or both.

It's a hard hat to pull off these days, and, I think, really needs to be limited to an accessory to formal outerwear.

If you are wearing a suit or a sports coat, and you are outside, you may be able to wear a fedora.

If you are inside, or wearing a T-shirt, a fedora is not for you.
posted by Admiral Haddock at 5:17 PM on September 23, 2013 [22 favorites]


I associate them with nerd or geek culture far moreso than bros.

Me too... the closest they get to bros in my mind is nerds who are trying to be PUAs. I don't think I've ever seen an actual "bro" in a fedora.
posted by cairdeas at 5:18 PM on September 23, 2013 [5 favorites]


Also, I add that okay, yes, the debonair sysadmin type in the fedora does exist. I, a queer person of indeterminate gender, have always been attracted to the non-sexist and regularly-bathed variant of debonair sysadmin, regardless of headgear. So you can be a debonair sysadmin and at least some people will still think you're attractive.

Another thought: when all this "fedora-wearing dude" stuff started, it was in-group criticism - basically, it was feminist women on the internet talking about the kinds of men they might encounter on a daily basis and basically saying "gee, fellow internet dudes, I wish you'd stop doing this annoying thing because we're all sort of in it together." It's like when I, an anarchist, complain about Maoists - we're still going to go to the same protests, I will still go to bat for them if they're arrested or broke; no matter how real and deeply felt my criticisms are, we're part of the same social world. I'd defend one of the local Maoists if someone were hassling them from a right-wing angle. Fedora dudes were, for me, the kind of guys I always wished would straighten up and fly right. Now, of course, it's much more about criticism from the outside, the type of people who are totally out of sympathy with genuinely nerdy weirdo subcultures.
posted by Frowner at 5:23 PM on September 23, 2013 [4 favorites]


Also: any time a person wears something that is outside the norm enough to be remarked upon, people will assume that they are trying to communicate something by wearing it. Maybe they are; maybe they're just totally oblivious to fashion trends and have no idea it's weird/unusual; or maybe they simply happen to like the thing and don't think about possible messages it sends, which seems to be your deal.

But the messages associated with various items of clothing don't go away; clothing really is a medium of communication. Garbled, easily misunderstood communication that everyone has their own personal dictionary for, yes! But still communication.

A woman in red-soled Louboutins wants to say "I have access to money and I have discerning tastes." A guy in a gamer in-joke tee and unremarkable old jeans wants to say "hey I like games, and I'm not taking this fashion thing too seriously." A girl wearing a corset as outerwear is saying "I enjoy fantasy stuff and/or Renfaire stuff." A girl with a half-shaved head and a flannel shirt is, at least very likely, saying "I'm gay"... the point is, it's pointless to say "you shouldn't make those assumptions about people just based on their clothing!" They live in the same world as me, and they chose those clothes at least partially based on what they mean. They could have made other clothing choices, but they didn't, and there was a reason for that.
posted by showbiz_liz at 5:25 PM on September 23, 2013 [21 favorites]


when all this "fedora-wearing dude" stuff started, it was in-group criticism

For me it started in high school, when one of these guys started wearing fedoras. Super condescending 17 year old nerds who acted way deeper-than-thou. The fedora just went along perfectly with all the other affectations. That was over a decade ago, so, it wasn't just recently and wasn't just online.
posted by cairdeas at 5:28 PM on September 23, 2013 [3 favorites]


At this point "fedora" is just a signifier for socially maladjusted dork.

Nthing that I associate it more with geek culture than with bros, who wear baseball caps or maybe toques in some circles.

The other thing is that in a world where traditional hat styles are suddenly much more en vogue than they have been over the last half century, fedoras have largely been skipped in favor of flat caps, newsboys, trilbies, and panamas. Wearing a fedora is like wearing a top hat or a tricorn or something -- it's just completely outside of contemporary style for normal people. So wearing one sets you way outside the mainstream, it's a literal Freak Flag you can fly.

Another thing about fedoras is that they're not casual, and neither are they seasonless*. So when you see someone wearing one totally out of context, with a graphic tee, cargo shorts, and Vibrams, what that says is that not only do you not give a shit about aesthetics at all, but you also don't give a shit about any aspect of the social contact around clothes. Your clothes are about YOU and YOU ALONE, but in a very loud Hey Look At Me I Don't Care About Social Mores kind of way.

* A fedora worn Leonard Cohen style, with a suit and probably also an overcoat, is a whole different story, though that's still a very specific look that is largely outside the mainstream, if at least appropriate for the context of what a fedora is for.
posted by Sara C. at 5:35 PM on September 23, 2013 [5 favorites]


I wear a suit, and I walk from the train to work, I have fair skin in a hot climate - I wear a fedora. now I'm worried, very worried. What is the casual alternative?
posted by mattoxic at 5:36 PM on September 23, 2013 [2 favorites]


I think this sums it up nicely.
posted by discopolo at 5:37 PM on September 23, 2013 [7 favorites]


mattoxic, it sounds to me like *you* wear the fedora, and not the other way around. A lot (not all) of younger guys don't yet have the life experience/actual confidence to pull off wearing a fedora, and so it looks like A Thing They Are Doing. You sound like a guy who wears a hat. Huge difference.
posted by rtha at 5:41 PM on September 23, 2013 [12 favorites]



I wear a suit, and I walk from the train to work, I have fair skin in a hot climate - I wear a fedora. now I'm worried, very worried. What is the casual alternative?
posted by mattoxic at 8:36 PM on September 23


The difference between wearing a fedora and "wearing an, ugh, fedora" is context. A fedora with a suit is a perfectly fine and normal choice for a gentleman who wants an appropriate hat. The fedora-wearing that carries a negative association is the fedora that's worn with clothing that totally clash with formal headware, worn in situations that don't remotely call for formal headware (see: the guy attending his weekly anime club meeting dressed in a "Ah! My Goddess" t-shirt and pin-striped fedora).
posted by schroedinger at 5:41 PM on September 23, 2013 [14 favorites]


I met my partner while wearing a fedora, she seemed to think I looked quite good. I was, however, also wearing a suit and at a cocktail party. Context matters.
posted by deadwax at 5:44 PM on September 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


I wear a suit, and I walk from the train to work, I have fair skin in a hot climate - I wear a fedora. now I'm worried, very worried. What is the casual alternative?

You're doing it right. This is what a fedora is actually for.
posted by Sara C. at 5:45 PM on September 23, 2013 [33 favorites]


If you enjoy wearing a fedora, wear the hell out of your fedora. If I see you wearing a fedora and think, oh look, another misguided young man trying to communicate that he's Not Like Other Guys based on nothing but your appearance, to hell with me.

I've chosen not to wear certain clothing items because I believed that they communicated things about me that I would rather not communicate. But that was my choice not to risk miscommunicating who I believe I am. I've also said, eff this, I'm going to the store in yoga pants, if Michelle Obama happens to see me at the store in yoga pants, oh well. Just know what you're getting yourself into.

Though, FWIW, my ex wore a fedora. There are many reasons he is an ex. But obviously YMMV.
posted by kat518 at 5:46 PM on September 23, 2013 [3 favorites]


I love fedoras and the men and women who wear them well, but there are two types of fedora-wearers who make me internally eyeroll a little:

1) the 19-year-old at the local coffeehouse who has a waxed mustache, a fedora, a short-sleeved shirt, and a wooden tie (he's a super nice guy, so even though his silliness is too much for me, it's not like I would tell a younger friend not to date him or anything)

2) the self-obsessed geeky libertarian type who (and these are the key points here, not the former) always thinks he's right, won't shut up, and thinks he's superior to both geeks (hence the swanky, wildly individualistic fedora) and non-geeks. This guy, I'm warning a friend off of, and spending as little time in contact with him as possible.

Everyone else is doing okay, no matter what Andrew Ti thinks.
posted by wintersweet at 5:48 PM on September 23, 2013 [2 favorites]


Hmm, okay. Feel free to take this with a grain of salt because I may be way off in my perception here. BUT I think part of hipster culture is also the insistence that you have been doing it first before all the other hipsters were doing it (when it was still obscure), and the annoyance about others doing the same thing you are doing, making you want to do it less to distinguish yourself. E.g. "OMG, I have loved owls for YEARS and suddenly now there are too many owls at Anthropologie so I can't really like them anymore because I loved them first and I am no longer unique because they are totally copying me (the original original owl-liker). And also I was the first to want to name my babies Ezra, Harper and Alice for nostalgic reasons."

I say, if you love your hats-that-hipsters-happen-to-wear, then if that love is true and pure, the fact that other people are wearing them for motives that you don't like, then it shouldn't dissuade you all that much. If it's really for the sake of the fedora itself, then why should you care? You know?
posted by mermily at 5:49 PM on September 23, 2013 [2 favorites]


Fedoras are associated with STEM, white, cisgendered, MRA, MMA, PUA, red pill, anarcho-capitalist, libertarian, new atheist, neckbeard, misogynistic, racist, transphobic, Islamophobic, homophobic, Objectivist, Randian, Sam Harrisian dudes. AKA the average redditor.

Obviously it's not fair that this hat what never done no one no harm should be associated with those folk but that's they way of the innertubes. Don't mean you can't pull it off without being one of those people it's just what it means in 'net terms. In real life it's a whole different enchilada.
posted by bfootdav at 5:49 PM on September 23, 2013 [21 favorites]


I wear a suit, and I walk from the train to work

Just to nth, this is exactly, exactly doing it right. Protecting your head from the weather is what it is for.
posted by cairdeas at 5:49 PM on September 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


I'm surprised that I'm the first non-male here to fess up to fedora wearing. I always wear brimmed hats to cut down fluorescent glare. I like to mix up my hats to match my outfits. Fedoras are happening now, and the 1-1/2" brim is Just Fine (no stingy for me!).

So, mediocre, pick up your Own True Hat from the rack, and wear it with pride.
posted by Jesse the K at 5:52 PM on September 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


I actually think they look way better on the women who wear them than on most dudes who do.
posted by cairdeas at 5:54 PM on September 23, 2013 [5 favorites]


It started because I totally wanted to be Joey Jeremiah.

Joey Jeremiah was a creepy sleezeball whose character's primary claim to fame was fucking Tessa Campanelli behind his long term fiance's back. While he may have seemed like a really cool guy to a middle schooler, the character is actually pretty close to the stereotype of a fedora-wearer: sex obsessed, into pick-up lines, generally disrespectful toward women. The character later grows up to become a non-fedora wearing used car salesman. So again, skeezy. As a teenager, he wears the hat as a high school affectation, along with Hawaiian shirts, carefully destroyed denim jackets, and overgrown hair.

All of these traits are far less attractive in adult men than they are in teenage boys (and even the actor came to hate wearing the hat!) I agree with what's been said here that fedoras work if they're worn in the appropriate context, with a suit and on a man who is generally well-groomed and who takes care of himself--someone who is not wearing Hawaiian shirts and other deliberately quirky-looking and mismatched clothes. And yes, they look better on women--but there's simply more room for women to experiment with clothes as adults in most casual contexts. Otherwise,on adult men, it comes across as an affectation with unattractive connotations.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 5:57 PM on September 23, 2013 [19 favorites]


Fedoras of OK Cupid may help clue you in to why many people judge fedora wearing harshly.
posted by Requiax at 6:00 PM on September 23, 2013 [17 favorites]


It started because I totally wanted to be Joey Jeremiah.

This is precisely why they are looked down on. Because they always look affected and self conscious.
posted by fingersandtoes at 6:01 PM on September 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


if you love your hats-that-hipsters-happen-to-wear

Hipsters don't wear fedoras.

Which is another angle on the whole Fedora Phenomenon, and which sort of speaks to my point about some traditional hats making a comeback, but not the fedora.

If you want to wear an old school hat, you have two options:

- Learn a little bit about hat styles.

or

- Just wear what you want and don't give a shit what it says about you.

The latter obviously works a lot better when one genuinely wants to send the "I don't give a shit" message. If you, mediocre, are trying to wear a hat because it looks cool, you may want to make sure your hat is sending the message you think it's sending.
posted by Sara C. at 6:09 PM on September 23, 2013 [2 favorites]


imo it's what mermily said above plus the fact that hipsters grate on my nerves. Like the guy who was in the store on my corner last December grousing about SantaCon, which was going on in my neighborhood right at that moment. He said, "Wearing a Santa Hat doesn't make you cute." I had to BITE MY TONGUE not to say, "well neither does wearing a fedora and braiding your goatee. ugh."
posted by janey47 at 6:11 PM on September 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


I think people have summed up the social stereotypes well.

As for you wearing a fedora, I have mentioned before that my husband wears hats something like this Panama fedora hat (but less expensive) and I think he looks good. He dresses nicely and we live in the desert. We're olds and we don't care about the youths judging. In the desert, everyone needs a hat for their dome!
posted by Squeak Attack at 6:15 PM on September 23, 2013 [2 favorites]


Interesting, there was an article about this on Put This On just today: http://putthison.com/post/62063417669/what-a-clown-taught-me-about-dressing-or-how-not

The gist of it is, fedoras (and mens hats in general) are a fashion outlier right now. Most people don't wear them. So in order to wear a fedora *and look good* (which is what I'm assuming you want), you really have to understand basic fashion first. You need to wear clothes that fit you well, you need to understand color coordination, you need to understand layering. For most guys, this means wearing slim jeans+chinos, t-shirt, OCBDs, and jackets. You probably think this looks boring. But most men can't even manage to dress at that level of competency.

Once you've mastered this, it's then that you can start playing around with baggy silhouettes and accessories like hats. I don't think it's necessary that you wear a suit with a fedora. I think if you wear some loud color pants and a blazer you could probably get away with it. But you need to understand the basics. You need to understand how fashion works before you jump off the deep end.
posted by rq at 6:16 PM on September 23, 2013 [8 favorites]


I have a friend who wears a fedora sometimes. He's a suit-wearing academic-nerdy in his mid-forties. I think he looks great in it, and I think you can, too. Weat it and be happy I'd say.
posted by Lescha at 6:24 PM on September 23, 2013


The people who jump on the fedora hate-wagon are actually the ones outing themselves as meme-zombies. It usually says a lot more about them than it does about the dudes wearing fedoras. Guys have precious few stylish fashion options, and if you want to burn all the fedoras in a big pile you're basically consigning American dudes to freakin' baseball caps.

You can jump on pretty much any item of clothing and find a way to shame and stereotype the people who wear it. Wearing that means you're a slob, it means you're pretentious, you're too old for that, you're too fat for that...

Sure, not everything looks good on everybody, but fedoras are objectively cool hats. If wearing something makes you happy, wear the fuck out of it and the haters can go sit and spin.
posted by Ursula Hitler at 6:33 PM on September 23, 2013 [14 favorites]


People have Fedora Hate because of these guys: http://www.phidelity.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2009/09/featherhat-300x271.jpg

The west coasties made it a fashion statement for a few years in the late 2000s, and were *very* douchy about it.

It's not you, California ruined it for the rest of us too.
posted by anthroprose at 6:47 PM on September 23, 2013


Can't believe it took so many comments for Fedoras of OkCupid to come up. I think that is really the perfect example of the stereotype: the entitled, white cis male who is "just a nice guy who never gets the girl" in his own mind, but in reality is harboring lots of weird, misogynist attitudes. The tone of your original post kind of came off that way, to be honest.

Some of that blog is just mocking awkward dudes through the strange lens of online dating profiles, but a lot of it is dead on and I know most people have probably had at least one actual real life encounter with a fedora wearing dude who seemed to be a walking reddit post.
posted by bradbane at 6:49 PM on September 23, 2013


Fedoras and other hats look especially great when accompanied with basic hat etiquette (e.g. taking them off indoors, except for "public indoors," etc.)

The beauty of such a hat is that it can serve as a tool of personal expression and functional utility while also allowing for signs of graciousness and respect.

I more or less equate wearing a dapper hat indoors to picking up a smartphone at a movie. Sure, it's one's choice to do so, and one might like how it makes him or her feel, but it very well may disconnect one from others in the process. Cool hat?
posted by suprenant at 6:50 PM on September 23, 2013


Yeah, the shaming and casual stereotyping in this thread is a bit much. It's a hat. Some people wear hats that they think look nice. Some people can't afford an entire nice wardrobe, or they don't lead the kind of life where they can sport a nice wardrobe, or they want a small individual touch. So they buy a hat. Get over it.
posted by Nomyte at 6:51 PM on September 23, 2013 [9 favorites]


I like fedoras. So there. I have yet to run into any of these pick up artist people. The folks I have seen in fedoras (women and men alike) have all been nice, polite, geeky people. The men have usually been dressed nicely-- either a suit or a nice buttondown shirt/slacks combo. The lady I know who wears a fedora on a regular basis...well, she's not so dressed up for it, but I doubt anyone cares there.

You know what? If you look nice and act polite, nobody's gonna give a shit once they get to know you. And the people who don't know you--who cares what the random strangers think?
posted by jenfullmoon at 7:05 PM on September 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


"Fedoras of OK Cupid may help clue you in to why many people judge fedora wearing harshly."

These fedora discussions always seem to get a little muddled because I think some people are using fedora when they really mean pork pie. In the link above, most of the guys are wearing pork pies. The difference would be guys who think their hat makes them Humphrey Bogart and guys who think their hat makes them Justin Timberlake.

(This is not a commentary on the worthiness of either.)
posted by Room 641-A at 7:15 PM on September 23, 2013 [3 favorites]


Personally, I'd call the Timberlake style more of a trilby, and reserve "pork pie" for a flat-topped hat.
posted by Admiral Haddock at 7:28 PM on September 23, 2013 [9 favorites]


I think the Reddit comment linked above sums it up well. A lot of people treat clothing and accessories as Pieces of Flair, which can look silly and immature for two reasons: first, they tend to place too much importance on the accessories as extensions of their personality, and second, they often fail to think in terms of entire outfits or what specifically looks good on them, so they look like an incoherent mishmash of quirky stuff. See also: utilikilts, jokey t-shirts, capes, outlandish shoes.

If you're not trying to make a statement with your fedora, and it goes with the rest of your outfit, you're not a Pieces of Flair guy and you need not worry.

(I really like flat caps for guys; they're unassuming, but can be really snazzy if you wear them well. I have no idea if they're in style these days or not, but they're at least not so out as to draw stares.)
posted by Metroid Baby at 7:33 PM on September 23, 2013 [2 favorites]


Personally, I'd call the Timberlake style more of a trilby, and reserve "pork pie" for a flat-topped hat.

Yes, this. Heisenberg wears a pork pie. Timberlake wears a trilby. Indiana Jones wears a fedora.

So, when we start talking about what specific cultural signals are sent or received by the fedora, there can be some crossed wires due to people having different mental pictures of this fedora-wearing person.

It's not impossible to look good and appropriate in a fedora, trilby, pork pie, or most other types of hats. But it's a careful balance, because it's going to look like an affectation no matter what, and the trick is for it to be an affectation that doesn't turn people off. Key to that proposition is wearing it in a way that looks mature, and not like a high school kid trying to look like a member of Duran Duran or something or that one guy in the dorms who always wears that same stupid hat. And part of looking mature in a hat is a) having a hat that fits right, b) wearing it with the right outfit, and c) knowing and practicing hat etiquette.

The fedora hate comes in large part from the negative reaction to people who don't know or observe those three rules. I'm not very good at them, so I generally just avoid the hat. But I do own a pork pie that I never wear because my wife correctly stops me at the door and tells me I look like an idiot.
posted by The World Famous at 7:39 PM on September 23, 2013 [12 favorites]


Yes, this. Heisenberg wears a pork pie. Timberlake wears a trilby. Indiana Jones wears a fedora.

So, when we start talking about what specific cultural signals are sent or received by the fedora, there can be some crossed wires due to people having different mental pictures of this fedora-wearing person.


Ha! I called it a pork pie because that's what everyone called them back in the 80s ska days, so I guess I made my own point!
posted by Room 641-A at 7:53 PM on September 23, 2013


I had a friend who wore a fedora but he was one of those interesting fashion guys that wore suits--nice suits, tailored to his body type, or funky vintage suits tailored to his body type--and so nobody rolled their eyes at him because he looked good. He could even pull off the fedora and trenchcoat when it was cold and raining because he dressed for the hat and the occasion rather than an affectation.

On the other hand, I think we've all encountered the funny-smelling greasy-ponytailed guy in Warcraft t-shirt, jorts, sandals, and with a fedora that he obviously thinks makes him a badass and unfortunately that's usually who comes to mind. That or someone WAY too into Mad Men.
posted by Ghostride The Whip at 7:55 PM on September 23, 2013


After reading this thread, I've concluded fedora hate is sort of sexist. OF COURSE it's not okay to ascribe the real or imagined flaws of fedora wearers you've known to other people; rational people don't judge others based on clothing because that's engaging in stereotyping. For some reason, when it's men you're stereotyping it is tolerated more than if you were stereotyping based on a women's garment.

But say if we were scorning women who have tramp stamps/respect-me-not tattoos, I think it would not be tolerated. It would be viewed as sexist. So why is it okay to scorn fedora wearers?

Why is that not sexist and stereotyping?

I don't like fedoras, I actually see what leads people to stereotype ... But it seems fundamentally awful and sexist the more I think about it. Saying "but every guy I know who wore a fedora was awful!!!1!" isn't really an excuse. It's still generalizing in a lazy and cruel way and making other people's sartorial choices fodder for lulz.
posted by jayder at 8:03 PM on September 23, 2013 [6 favorites]


Yeah, the shaming and casual stereotyping in this thread is a bit much. It's a hat. Some people wear hats that they think look nice. Some people can't afford an entire nice wardrobe, or they don't lead the kind of life where they can sport a nice wardrobe, or they want a small individual touch. So they buy a hat. Get over it.

Hey, he asked if people had stereotypical associations with the hats, and they do. My first comment was not meant to be a statement of unvarnished truth, but it is a very prevalent stereotype and the OP deserves to know about the baggage his hat holds for some people. Personally I don't automatically assume dudes in fedoras are bad guys, but I'd be lying if I answered the question "why do people think fedoras are dumb" with "they totally don't."

I actually just thought of an analogy just now which I think works: it's like wearing a tie. Usually one wears a tie with a suit, or at least a button-down shirt and some slacks. And if you wear a tie with clothing that isn't normally associated with a suit, you're making a statement (see: Avril Lavigne back in the mid 2000s). And that can be fun and transgressive... but, when done artlessly, it can become "oh hey, it's that guy who wears ties with his t-shirts every day."
posted by showbiz_liz at 8:07 PM on September 23, 2013 [7 favorites]


[Folks, the question is not "is it wrong to stereotype fedora wearers", so let's not get into a derail about that. Question is "where does the stereotype come from." Thanks.]
posted by LobsterMitten at 8:09 PM on September 23, 2013 [6 favorites]


Some people can't afford an entire nice wardrobe, or they don't lead the kind of life where they can sport a nice wardrobe, or they want a small individual touch. So they buy a hat.

This is precisely what people are getting at when they say that the hat looks out of place and affectatious-- it is saying, "I lack the motivation and/or the means to dress nicely. So I will make up for that shortcoming by parading around in this gratuitous accessory." If you want to look "put together" and fashionable, put your effort and motivation into doing so. Do not try to short-circuit the process by purchasing a fashion accessory that is a distant outlier in modern fashion and wear it such that it discordantly clashes with the rest of what you are wearing.
posted by deanc at 8:13 PM on September 23, 2013 [8 favorites]


Fedoras previously on the Blue, for your further edification.
posted by gauche at 8:24 PM on September 23, 2013


I'd always associated fedora's with gay South American men, and thought they looked good. This is the first I've heard that they marked one as a "love entitled male nerd." And I don't think I've ever encountered a "funny-smelling greasy-ponytailed guy in Warcraft t-shirt, jorts, sandals, and with a fedora."

It must be the crowd I run with. Or maybe I just live in a happier place.

I also never realized how harshly some people judge men for ... wearing a hat.
posted by kanewai at 9:07 PM on September 23, 2013 [2 favorites]


I also never realized how harshly some people judge men for ... wearing a hat.

Imagine some dating advice book for women (let's say The Rules) told women that men would find them more interesting in a hoop skirt. Imagine some sleazy guru of dating advice for women always wore a trademark hoop skirt. So suddenly you started seeing a bunch of women around in hoop skirts... at a sports bar in a hoop skirt and hockey team shirt... going grocery shopping in a hoop skirt and Crocs. And many of these women, when you interacted with them, clearly believed that you would find them very charming and alluring because of their hoop skirt. Used speech mannerisms, when talking to you, that came from the era of the hoop skirt.

It's not that you would judge them harshly for wearing a skirt. But you might start to cringe if you saw one of them coming.
posted by cairdeas at 9:31 PM on September 23, 2013 [30 favorites]


I think the hoop skirt thing is going a little far. It's just a hat. The closer analogy would be if some super aggressive dating advice book for women advised them to wear a Lewinsky beret.
posted by The World Famous at 9:47 PM on September 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


The suggestions above add up to saying that fedora-wearers who won't buy enough, nice-enough clothing for a complete period suit are demonstrating laziness and poor taste, which then somehow reflects in their personal character. This kind of norms policing is a textbook example of classism: people who don't or can't go whole-hog for acceptably stylish and fashionably coordinated luxury clothes are apparently deserving of scorn. Seriously, thinking less of someone for wearing a hat wrong is the height of elitism.

To put my answer to the OP more succinctly, some people never grow out of middle school enough to stop making snide jokes at the expense of wannabe goths, punks, queers, people who like steampunk fashion, people who wear unfashionable or androgynous clothing, and basically anyone who doesn't match their internal definition of acceptable attire. It's just hegemonic norms policing.
posted by Nomyte at 9:57 PM on September 23, 2013 [9 favorites]


[As always, please do not get into a back-and-forth with other commenters. OP has asked where this stereotype comes from, people have offered theories; if this is pushing buttons for you, please step away from this thread. Thanks.]
posted by LobsterMitten at 10:44 PM on September 23, 2013


Basically, think about why you want to wear this particular hat, what impression you want to give with it that another hat would not give, and then think about whether you'd feel comfortable if everybody knew that was why you were wearing it. Because they probably do.

For me, when I see a guy under 45 or so wearing a fedora, I think: "Here is a guy who wanted to add Le Fillip of Daring to his outfit." But my reaction to that reaction is going to depend on other stuff about the guy. Like, if he's wintersweet's non-snotty, sweet 19-year-old at the coffeeshop, I'm going to think, "Aw, hey, a young guy experimenting with clothes, cool." If he's a guy in his 20s or 30s who takes an interest in clothes/how he looks and dresses a bit unconventionally, then if some days he turns up in a fedora I'm going to think "Hey, another fun fillip in Dave's long series of fillips, it looks good on him." But if I'm at a party and I can hear the guy aggressively hitting on a girl who's sending clear cues that she's not interested, I'm going to think "This guy thinks that Le Fillip of Daring makes him 'present as an alpha.'" And if the guy is wearing the fedora while talking to me aggressively about atheism, I'm going to think "This guy wants Le Fillip of Daring in his appearance because he values being bolder than the herd in all things." Obviously these are not the only kinds of people who wear a fedora, but you get where I'm going here.

Middle-aged and elderly guys, I just assume, given a lack of evidence to the contrary, that they don't give a damn.
posted by ostro at 11:00 PM on September 23, 2013


rational people don't judge others based on clothing because that's engaging in stereotyping

Judging someone based on their clothing is extremely rational. It's the one aspect of their appearance that is almost entirely under their personal control. Body composition, posture, facial features, etc are all either immutable or can be changed only with months or years of effort.

Someone can change the clothes they wear in minutes. If I headed out now I could buy a new wardrobe and be wearing completely different clothes within hours. Even if I wanted things altered to fit precisely, I could have that done by the end of the week.

You might think (for good reason) that using clothes to judge someone's income is wrong, and often that is what is really being judged, but as a reflection of how someone chooses to present themselves to the world clothes are hard to beat.

Most cultures and circumstances have ranges of clothing that code as "neutral", nobody's going to ask an accountant at work or a computer science student in a lecture why they're wearing a suit or cargo shorts & t-shirt respectively because those are the "I'm dressed normally" for their respective circumstances.

Whenever you wear clothes that are outside of the culturally understood range of neutral you are sending a message, whether you explicitly mean to or not. That doesn't mean that it makes sense to base your entire judgement of someone on their clothes, but it seems silly to ignore that signal.

I think that the reason people have such a negative perception of fedora-wearers is that they have encountered many people who try and fail to use them to send a message about how debonair and "classy" they are. So if they see someone wearing a fedora, naturally that association is the first thing that comes to mind.

If you see someone in a pinstripe suit with red braces covered in golden currency symbols (spotted this morning at Liverpool Street station, by the way) are you really not going to infer anything about them from that?
posted by atrazine at 3:53 AM on September 24, 2013 [21 favorites]


I had one buddy who wore a fedora for a while, but I think it was mainly just to cover up his balding head, which we all knew was there, and he gave up the fedora after a bit and embraced his baldness and married a girl 10 years younger than him. I also know a young guy who wears a peaked cap and smokes a pipe. All that stuff just comes off as fake ... as if you're trying to hide something, or make yourself seem more "special" than anyone else.

You aint fooling anyone.
posted by Diag at 4:41 AM on September 24, 2013


If you want to wear your fedora and are comfortable not spending time with those who would judge another poorly for wearing one, it is probably the best screening device conceivable.
posted by kat518 at 5:09 AM on September 24, 2013


"I lack the motivation and/or the means to dress nicely. So I will make up for that shortcoming by parading around in this gratuitous accessory."
I think that this gets at the heart of it; when the fedora is the whole outfit and not an accessory of it, people are more likely to think "Ugh, fedora guy" than "Guy who happens to be wearing a fedora".
Seriously, thinking less of someone for wearing a hat wrong is the height of elitism.
But this is the thing: fedoras are associated with a time period where people who wore them dressed nicely, and observed hat etiquette. (Which at a bare minimum means taking the thing off when you're indoors to stay for a while.) There's still enough collective cultural memory in the form of movies, photographs, advertisements, whatever that I think most people still associate fedoras with men in suits who are out and about.

The whole idea of wearing something "wrong" is an interesting one, because yes, in purely pragmatic, abstract terms it's completely absurd that we should get so worked up about clothing and how people wear it. But I think that a person wearing a fedora indoors with shorts and a t-shirt raises eyebrows in the same way that a person wearing a New York Yankees jersey in Boston Red Sox territory would; either they're oblivious to the cultural context, or they know that they're going to attract attention and just don't care; in fact, the attention may be what they're after.

Personally, I am almost always in the "Wear whatever the hell you want and wear it proudly" camp, but I do think a little bit of fashion sense and cultural awareness go a long, long way. The rest of it is just self-confidence. There will always be people who give you funny looks or make snarky comments on the internet no matter what you do, so to hell with them.
posted by usonian at 5:37 AM on September 24, 2013 [5 favorites]


I wear largish silver hoop earrings. I've been wearing largish silver hoops for at least two decades. Wearing largish silver hoops becomes fashionable periodically, is subsequently assigned a, "cheap and nasty" label, and finally fades...only to cycle again at some point. I don't know whether they're currently, "in", "cheap and nasty", or "out"...and I don't care. I wear them because they're me. Were a fedora genuinely you, you wouldn't have bothered posting this question/discussion; in fact, it probably wouldn't have even occurred to you.
posted by Nibiru at 5:43 AM on September 24, 2013 [7 favorites]


Seriously, thinking less of someone for wearing a hat wrong is the height of elitism.

No, it is not. Don't listen to that point. Here's why: when hat wearing was a thing, people could really insult people with it. It is a social piece of attire, far more than other pieces that can't be manipulated by the wearer.

I hate fedoras, but there's a guy I know in my neighborhood who pulls it off. He's in his 40's, and wears decent suits with it. If he sits down inside, he takes it off. He lives how he dresses--its not an affectation. And he would never wear it with just a t-shirt. He's been dressing like this for ten years. It is his personal style, not fashion.

Like it or not, there are social cues that go with what we wear. And usually, one anachronistic or otherwise out of place item will wreck it all.

And don't get me wrong, I like hats. In the winter, I do wear some men's cold-weather formal hats. But I wear it in situations where its important and I take it off when I come indoors. It looks like an affectation otherwise. I also stick to styles (faux fur) that are like, (but somewhat different) to the hats others are wearing.
posted by Ironmouth at 6:18 AM on September 24, 2013 [2 favorites]


The problem is that nice hats are treated as costume props. I wear a fedora now and again during the winter, but I'm 40 years old and I tend to wear an overcoat and dress shoes at the same time. I get compliments on it but I regard it simply as functional. In the Spring and Fall I like to wear a more casual derby hat. I wear no hats in the Summer but I tried wearing a panama style off-white hat and even in my most debonair efforts it looked like I just stepped off a time machine.

If I had a magic wand I would make dress hats cool again. They are practical and most men benefit from a narrowly prescribed set of style rules, but it isn't happening. The train has left the station and hats aren't coming back in style. The suit is dead too. I have been stubborn and tried to swim against the tide on this one but anymore I don't see much point in it, so I wouldn't hold out hope that hats are coming back.
posted by dgran at 7:34 AM on September 24, 2013 [4 favorites]


[Reminder: this should not become a discussion with the OP or with other answerers.]
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 7:48 AM on September 24, 2013


In addition to all that, there is Jason Mraz.
posted by pxe2000 at 1:15 PM on September 24, 2013 [2 favorites]


As I have said before, I prefer not to get cancer on my head. I am going bald. The NIH says to wear a wide-brimmed hat. No, mine isn't a fedora. It's an Akubra Cattleman, thankyoverymuch. Why do you want me to get cancer?!

But to answer the original question, the Fedora Well has indeed been poisoned by the same kind of guys who buy stamped-steel katanas.
posted by wenestvedt at 1:21 PM on September 24, 2013 [3 favorites]


Disclaimer: I have been known to wear the occasional fedora as a costume prop, in a very deliberate "I am wearing a strange hat" sort of way. However, I am unlikely to be perceived as a bro or as someone trying to be Don Draper, at least not without putting some major work into altering my look.

They just work differently on women, I think.

For men, for a fedora to really look like it goes with your outfit, in most cases you need to either be wearing a suit and tie, or at least as though you've recently taken off a suit jacket. You also need to have the right face shape, as the fedora does not flatter all face shapes, and you might need a different style of formal hat to go with your suit. Of course the fedora should also be of an appropriate color to go with the rest of your outfit and of a suitable material for the season. It should also be a good quality fedora of the proper size. It should go without saying, but unfortunately sometimes does not, that it should be clean and free of grease stains soaking through the hat from long wear.

You can wear the fedora in other ways, but it will not go with your outfit, just as, say, a tall pink and green striped fuzzy hat won't go with your outfit (one hopes).

You've mentioned wearing a jughead hat though, which makes me think you are wearing hats as a humorous accent. If you choose your hats based on their humor value, like any other joke, some people won't see the humor in it, or they may have heard what you find to be a funny joke so many times the humor has gone.

If wearing humorous hats makes you feel self-conscious, stop.
posted by yohko at 3:43 PM on September 24, 2013 [1 favorite]


No, I wear a Jughead hat sometimes because one day I decided I wanted to make a Jughead hat out of another hat to see how it looked. I rather liked how it looked.

Anyways, a variety of interesting responses. I so love it when I unintentionally lob a grenade into a sub-Filter and come back a day later to find multiple friendly reminders from the mods to be civil.
posted by mediocre at 4:29 PM on September 24, 2013 [1 favorite]


Would the equivalent (even more bitchy, esoteric, and classist) be women's handbags? Expensive vs. utilitarian. Genuine vs. faux. Mainstream brand vs. indie handmade.

The fedora guy (greasy haired wolf t-shirt version) is trying to pick up a sorority girl with a Vera Bradley bag, but aspires to a Louis Vuitton woman, who won't look at him.

Characterizing everyone this way shows how inane it is.
posted by bad grammar at 4:58 PM on September 24, 2013


Nibiru: "Were a fedora genuinely you, you wouldn't have bothered posting this question/discussion; in fact, it probably wouldn't have even occurred to you."

Agreed. I wear a fedora (during the winter; currently it's Panama weather) as does my husband. (Valentine's Day selfie on our way to a concert.) I ignore the fedora-hate on MeFi — because they're obviously not talking about me. I mean, I get compliments from total strangers on the streets of Oakland on a near-daily basis. What random strangers on the Internet think about some hypothetical fedora-wearer matters nothing to me.
posted by Lexica at 7:25 PM on September 24, 2013 [1 favorite]


Would the equivalent (even more bitchy, esoteric, and classist) be women's handbags? Expensive vs. utilitarian. Genuine vs. faux. Mainstream brand vs. indie handmade.

In high school I was an insufferable asshole. I carried all my things in a vintage Muppet Show lunchbox rather than an actual purse or just a pocket of my backpack or a pocket or anything even vaguely appropriate to the task.

Fedora Guy is the hat equivalent of that.
posted by Sara C. at 8:14 PM on September 24, 2013 [9 favorites]


So when you see someone wearing one totally out of context, with a graphic tee, cargo shorts, and Vibrams, what that says is that not only do you not give a shit about aesthetics at all, but you also don't give a shit about any aspect of the social contact around clothes.

I think this sums it up. I knew someone at uni who wore a leather full-brim hat, a paisley waistcoat, and was after getting a pocket watch. It worked for him, because he was wearing those things because it was his style, not because he wanted to stand out in some way, and it was a properly thought-out and coherent look. I tried on a cloche yesterday, and it looked pretty stupid with my jumper and jeans, but with a wool coat and an outfit that suited it, it would look cool, rather than an overwhelming Quirky Accessory.

Someone wearing a structured hat with more casual clothes looks kind of daft. It's equivalent to wearing a baseball cap with a suit - if I saw someone dressed like that, I'd assume they were either completely confused about appropriate dress, or that they're trying to make some kind of look-at-me-I'm-quirky statement. I'd quickly then think that what other people wear is no business of mine, but those are the initial prejudices that come up. (My boyfriend reacts that way to people wearing bow ties on the street. Some people do to fedoras.)

And I say that as a slightly twee woman who wears berets because I like them and they look good with a bob. People probably think 'look at that twee hipster with her beret and her crochet hook', but I don't care. If you don't, by all means wear the fedora.
posted by mippy at 3:59 AM on September 25, 2013 [3 favorites]


The problems with fedoras are really on three levels:
  1. On the most basic level, few people actually look good in a fedora, and to look really good requires everything that goes with a fedora -- the right kind of suit, the right kind of shoes, even the right kind of haircut. But most of all to look good, you have to be in a contextual setting where everyone else is wearing a fedora. Otherwise, instead of being the well-dressed guy, you are the guy in the fedora. Just because an accessory is more traditionally formal does not mean that it is appropriate in all places. It's not like some situations where more is better. Fedoras stick out, and not necessarily in a good way. Which leads to problem number 2:
  2. As an unusual and uncommon accessory, they attract attention and thus distract from whoever you really are. There was this guy in my college who was weird but not that much weirder than anyone else; at most he was a bit tone-deaf about the privilege he was afforded by his family's wealth (His literal words to me once: "Rich people know that a million dollars is not a lot of money.") But one time for a masquerade-type dance he wore a full formal suit, including jacket, vest, and monocle. He was complimented for this outfit, which really looked good on him, in the context of a masquerade dance. He totally misinterpreted the praise and proceeded to wear this outfit casually for much of the rest of the year off and on. So instead of being recognized for whoever he was, he became "that guy" who wore the ridiculous outfit.
  3. Fedoras have become a signifier. They've just come to be worn by guys that are problematic in one way or another: pickup artists, "neckbeards", Reddit "sirs", etc. By wearing that fedora you are instantly lumped in with those people. Worse since it is such a strong identifier if you are wearing a fedora it's assumed that you specifically *choose* to be identified as one of these people. Sort in contrast to other fashion statements where you really might be just be expressing your own style. So contrast someone who's merely shaved off all their hair to that person also wearing a t-shirt that says "I'm neo-nazi skinhead".
I would be the first to say it's a real shame. Fedoras are a great hat, and in the right context and with the right outfit they look fantastic. I think if you are well groomed and wearing a nice suit, you will probably be able to get away with wearing a fedora...once you are in your late 30s or early 40s, and in a context that is formal enough to warrant a suit, but not formal enough that dressing up like someone from the 60s will seem costumey by comparison.

quercus23: "This is an extreme example of what showbiz_liz mentioned."

Ugh, why was I not surprised to see the "red pill" mentioned in that article. I don't know what's to be gained from actually believing that women as a group are out to get men and manipulate them into being miserable, but happiness isn't it.

posted by Deathalicious at 4:35 AM on September 25, 2013 [3 favorites]


No, no, no fedoras. Borsalino
posted by Ideefixe at 7:34 PM on September 27, 2013 [3 favorites]


My Dad wore (seasonally appropriate)hats a lot, including a fedora. Snappy. Gentlemen who wish to keep their heads shielded from the sun, or stay warmer in chilly weather should be encouraged to wear hats. And by the way, no need to blame the Democrats.
posted by theora55 at 8:06 PM on September 27, 2013


A big part of it is that most fedora (or male hat wearers in general) sporters don't follow any etiquette when they wear them. They are for outdoor wear only. Have some respect.
posted by missmerrymack at 8:10 PM on September 27, 2013


I neither endorse nor reject the conclusions of this Boingboing post: Why the fedora grosses out geekdom, but I think it does a good job of fairly comprehensively addressing the question posed here. The tl/dr? It's complicated.

My personal advice about wearing or not wearing a fedora, or any item of clothing, or making any kind of personal style choice at all is that you're fine if you wear the [ITEM], as opposed to the [ITEM] "wearing you." Do you feel comfortable, confident and natural in your hat/shoes/suit/cologne as opposed to self-consciously trying to project a persona that is not really you? Then my subjective opinion is that you should go forth and wear [ITEM] without worrying. A great friend of mine who I haven't seen in ages (troubling detail of being on a different continent) is a super smart, funny, kind, charming and delightful guy who wore hats (including fedoras), and was completely wonderful in them. I'd really hate it if he gave up his hats.
posted by taz at 3:25 AM on September 28, 2013


I like hats. I like trench coats. Long ponytails are fine as long as they aren't greasy (never met a guy with a greasy ponytail, so I guess I'm lucky there). Dragon on the shoulder or three-wolf t-shirt? No problem. In fact, I would probably be delighted to meet someone with all these things going on, because I would make the connection to "possible geek", and geeks are the most interesting people I know.

I am more likely to talk about GoT, Terry Pratchett, Joss Whedon and why no one but Marvel can make a good superhero movie with geeks than stuff I find boring, like scrapbooking or reality TV, so the. Geek signal is no red flag for me. It's a big old green light.

But even if it weren't a geek signal, I would still go for the guy with the hat, because he might have a good story about the hat and why he wears it. Already he is more interesting at first glance than the hatless rabble. Plus, maybe he'd let me try on his hat, and hats are cool.

Point is, the people who'd hate on your hat probably aren't the people who'd appreciate you, anyway. Life is too short to short to soend much time wasting in the haters. You are young and have a style that works for you.

Go rock that fedora.
posted by misha at 2:32 PM on September 28, 2013


I want to get something off my chest. I wear a fedora (when there's weather). I don't think I'm a total douchebag. I KNOW.
posted by 256 at 2:11 PM on September 29, 2013


Obvious affectations bother people. What if a friend of yours one day just started speaking with an English accent? Or if someone named Mike just started insisting you call them "Biff" one day?

A fedora is an obvious affectation. Before you say one word to someone, you're already telling them that you are a full grown man paying dress up.
posted by spaltavian at 6:21 PM on September 29, 2013 [4 favorites]


There's fedoraland and then there's everywhere else. You're wondering if you should build a house in fedoraland. That gives you access to fedora people and fedora amenities. Just be aware that when you leave fedoraland you will be a fedoreigner.
posted by Teakettle at 9:14 PM on September 29, 2013 [3 favorites]


I have fair skin, ginger hair, and live in Queensland, the skin cancer capital of the world (where still nobody wears a hat). I used to have an Indiana Jones fedora that I would wear on less-sunny days, and wide-brimmed Akubra for sunnier days, and now I just wear the Akubra, and if people think I'm doing it to draw attention to myself, then, well, good for them. I think it suits me okay but I don't particularly like the shape of the Akubra, so I would go for a wide-brimmed fedora in a flash if I found one that was attractive enough.
posted by turbid dahlia at 9:22 PM on September 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


I've found that a large part of Guy Who Wears a Hat vs. Fedora Guy is the quality of the hat itself. Usually, the former will be wearing a proper wide-brimmed Borsalino as pointed out upthread. The latter will usually be wearing a $25 narrow-brimmed pinstripe jobby with a cheap mesh plastic frame that's very clearly of poor quality and not actually meant to be worn with a suit or coat. On the other hand, a black wool Borsalino looks very good with a dark suit, a black pea coat (I'll leave aside my annoyance with the unavailability of pea coats that use honest-to-god buttons instead of those horrid fang things), or a trenchcoat that's your size. People under 35 will probably call you "Inspector Gadget" because that is their primary frame of reference for a formal hat in its native habitat.

The GWWaH is also unlikely to be wearing it at all times, because it is an article of clothing that he likes, rather than a fundamental element of his self-identity. Wearing that narrow-brimmed hat in summer with your tee shirt and jeans makes you look like the Nerd analogue of the Jock Guy Who Always Wears a Backward Baseball Cap.

tl;dr if you're doing it right you're essentially just buying and wearing hats how and where old men do. It's admittedly pretty hard to make a hat look like part of your wardrobe instead of an affectation.
posted by DoctorFedora at 1:10 AM on September 30, 2013 [7 favorites]


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