Hats used to be fairly standard fashion accessories, so people didn’t…
If you’re planning on attending a hat-themed trivia dinner party in the near future, you have struck gold with this article! If, perchance, you were not invited to such a niche event but are still interested in learning some fascinating facts about headwear, you are also in the right place. Today you will leave with your head full to the brim with hat facts, so let’s move ahead already.
- Beret: The beret began its journey as a military cap back in the 1880s when French mountain regiment donned them for both warmth and functionality. All the men in the regiment wore blue berets for uniformity, but they were also nice because they hid sweat stains really well and didn’t have height or corners that could snag on things or get in the way.
- Chef: One bite of tasty trivia revolves around that beloved, billowy chef’s hat. Traditionally, chef hat manufacturers worked in 100 little pleats to make such a poofy piece of headwear. This particular number of pleats was supposed to symbolize the number of ways you can cook an egg. Scrambled, over-easy, egg benedict, hard-boiled, soft-boiled, fried, poached – seven down, only 93 more to go!
- Cowboy hat: Hopefully this next bit of trivia won’t shake you too much, but the cowboy hat as we know it was not always the hat of choice among cowboys. (Gasp!) Wide-brimmed hats have been worn by field laborers and ranchmen across the globe for hundreds of years, but the preference of American cowboys was the bowler hat for a long time. The bowler hat had reinforced felt on the crown that made it both snug on the head and provided extra protection against low-hanging branches. These two factors were particularly desirable when searching for lost livestock out on the blustery plains.
- Felt Hats: For whatever reason, a trend took the United States by storm in the 1920s. This guideline outlawed straw hats from being worn after September 15 of each year. After the 15th, you could only wear felt hats, and should you be caught in public with a straw hat after that date (heaven forbid!), you could be beaten up for the offense.
Miscellaneous and Extraordinary
- Top hat: The top hat is an undeniable status symbol because it represents mystery, class, and prominence, but it is also hot in warm weather. To combat this particular flaw, one inventor proposed a plan for a top hat with a removable lid that would allow for added ventilation. Seems like a brilliant idea until you remember a hat’s main purpose of keeping the sun off the top of your head. Understandably, that trend never really took off. The other problem with top hats is that they are often too tall for standard transportation. Some taxi companies thought they’d correct that problem by making the inside space of their carriages and cars taller to allow for the added height. Hats off to their ingenuity!
- Stetson Cowboy Hat: The Stetson hat company is well-known for its high-quality felt cowboy hats. In fact, for the premier white Stetson, you should be prepared to lay down over a thousand dollars. Most of their other felt cowboy hats range from $200-$600. High-dollar hats have been part of the Stetson business model from their start in the 1800s. Stetson believed that a hard-working cowboy who was serious about success would save up enough money to purchase a high-quality hat. And high quality they were! One example of their durability was manifest when a Stetson went down with a ship in the early 1900s and lay submerged in saltwater and muck for 14 years. At that point, it was discovered, hosed off, and remained as good as new.
- Panama: You probably already know that the Panama hat didn’t get its name from where it originated (Ecuador vs. Panama) and that the name actually came from the primary mode of shipment (via ship through the Panama Canal). I bet that you didn’t know, however, that the finest quality Panama hats can have up to 3,000 pieces of straw handwoven into a single inch of cap. Not only that, but when rolled up, the hat can allegedly fit through the hole of a wedding ring.
- Dunce Cap: Thankfully, dunce caps aren’t used in schools to single out underachieving students anymore, but they originated with somewhat good intent. Having a tall, cone-shaped hat was supposed to help the wearer receive inspiration and intelligence from the heavens. Later on, they were thought of more as “thinking caps” because, supposedly, wise people wore similar hats (think Merlin). In the end, it was just a way to point out and humiliate inappropriate behavior in a school setting.
Now, you’re just a little bit more savvy and prepared to impress others the next time hats comes up in a conversation. And if you’re looking for even more hat trivia, check out this article from our site.