Top 10 Hats for Guys and What They Say About You

January 18, 2011

If you celebrated National Hat Day this past Saturday, you know that this miracle of men’s fashion can accessorize a drab outfit or bring a touch of much needed class to an uncultured slob. But sometimes the hat wears him, as evidenced by these skull-toppers.

Source: Steve Sucsy/Photographer's Choice/Getty Images

By Danny Gallagher


10. The Sombrero

This staple of Tijuana souvenir shops and Texas bachelorette parties got its start in Mexico naturally as a functional hat for workers to keep the hot sun from “refrying” their eyes, head, and neck. Of course when the tourists came and saw the oversized hat on the heads of the hard workers in the fields, they naturally turned it into the tacky souvenir momento we’ve come to know and love today. Now instead of using it to protect ourselves from the sun’s harmful UV rays, we use it to perpetuate the stereotype of the “lazy” Mexican, decorate college dorm rooms, and wear it for pictures that will inevitably be used as Facebook profile pictures.

What Does This Hat Say About Me When I Wear It?

“I just wandered out of a birthday party at Pancho’s with an open bar.”

“I went to Tijuana and didn’t bring enough money for alcohol AND a hooker.”

“I have seen ¡Three Amigos! 457 times and it keeps getting funnier.”


9. The Bowler

Source: Tom Schierlitz/The Image Bank/Getty Images

Two London hatmakers, Thomas and William Bowler, created the first model of what we now know as the “bowler hat” in 1849 for the younger brother of the 2nd Earl of Leicester. So it’s no wonder that this wardrobe regular of the British Upper Class Twit has become a hated symbol of inbred snobbery and flaunted sophistication. It’s massive body and tiny brim make it virtually useless as a protector from the wind and rain and more of an icon of status and clout since it was originally used to protect horseback riders from low hanging branches during the afternoon fox hunt.

What Does This Hat Say About Me When I Wear It?

“The insurance I pay on this hat cost more than your firstborn son.”

“Vitty well, my good chum. Fancy a drencrom at the Korova Milkbar while I bash you in the gullet?”

“Clearly, I’ve never been bowling in my life.”




8. The Fez

Source: Airedale Brothers/Riser/Getty Images

This recognizable cone cap was made to complement Turkish royalty in the early part of the 19th century but today has been turned into something of a novelty item or a sign of exclusive membership among very old white guys. This noggin-topper doesn’t really have much physical use outside of the status it once carried unless you consider having something to throw up in following the Shriners meeting “useful.”

What Does This Hat Say About Me When I Wear It?

“Which way to the VFW?”

“This is part of my initiation. There’s actually a starving iguana underneath this.”

“Tonight, we dance...the Mamushka!”



7. The Top Hat

Source: Creativ Studio Heinemann/Getty Images

The origins of this regular attendee of drunken weddings, proms, and bar-mitzvahs actually had a rather stark beginning. Its creator, John Hetherington, reportedly incited a riot the first time he wore this tall cranium cover in public in 1797 because of its astounding height. One account claimed that “women fainted at the unusual sight, children screamed, dogs yelled and the younger son of a cordwiner...was thrown by the crowd which was collected (sic) and his right arm was broken.” Why isn't this man still on the FBI’s 10 Most Wanted List?

What Does This Hat Say About Me When I Wear It?

“Ask me to sing ‘Puttin’ on the Ritz’ one more time and I’ll drop you where you stand.”

“My other hat is a bowler.”

“Outta my way! I got peanuts to manufacture!”



6. The Beret

Source: Richard Baybutt/Flickr/Getty Images

It might been seen as just another limp and lifeless skull cap for skinny wine drinkers who smoke black cigarettes and marvel at the genius of Jerry Lewis, but it actually has a very rough and rugged history. It’s beginnings date back to the Basques, a people of great fishermen and sailors. The hat moved to the hard-fighting and hard-drinking land of Scotland and soon spread throughout the region and the world as a staple of military superiority and status. So just try cracking a joke at a Green Beret who happens to be wearing one at your neighborhood bar. He’ll make sure it will be the last thing you’ll ever digest.

What Does This Hat Say About Me When I Wear It?

With military insignia on it - “I spent 10 years trapped in a Vietnamese POW camp.”

Without military insignia - “Help, I’m trapped in an invisible box! Send for help!”

“This myth about the beret being wimpy? Busted.”

 

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5. The Panama

Source: Michael Brinson/Iconica/Getty Images

This native head hanger of South American dates back to the 16th Century when Spanish conquistadors discovered it in what we now know as Ecuador. The straw hats were adopted by the Spaniards and soon spread to just about every corner of history and the globe from the 1848 Gold Rush to the construction of the Panama Canal. It was made for dredging through heavy tropical lands in search of lost Incan treasure or grabbing a quick power nap on the beach to work off the seven Mojitos your body can’t process. Plus, you had to wear it because the gift shop didn’t carry sombreros, no matter how many times you screamed for one.

What Does This Hat Say About Me When I Wear It?

“Which way to the Fiesta deck?”

“I actually have no idea where the country of Panama is.”

“I so think I could kick Ernest Hemmingway’s ass.”



4. The Homburg

Source: Dorling Kindersley/Getty Images

Accompanied with a medium brim and the occasional feather, this hat (I ran out of clever hat synonyms a couple of sentences back) came from Germany in the late 19th century but eventually emigrated to America and became a regular fixture among gangsters, even earning the infamous nickname as “The Godfather Hat.” Ironically, Marlon Brando’s status in life as a huge tub of gelatinous lard would earn super-sized stretch wasteband pants the unfortunate nickname of “The Godfather’s Pants” although I’m sure that had more to do with Godfather’s Pizza than The Godfather movies.

What Does This Hat Say About Me When I Wear It?

“Where’s my gun?”

“How hard is it for me to remember the words, ‘May your first child be a masculine child’?”

“Nyah, you’ll never take me alive, copper. Dead? Quite probably. Wounded? Maybe 5 to 1. Winded? Sure, I’m a big tub of lard, see? Nyah, nyah.”



3. The Porkpie

Source: Michael Turek/Photodisc/Getty Images

The British gave this short and snappy hat its start, but its popularity spread and soon everyone from jazz musicians to football coaches took to wearing it on the job. It’s a good, straightforward, “let’s get down to business” kind of hat, the kind that makes people get out of your way because you’ve obviously got important music to write or a hard-as-nails case to solve. It’s a hat that screams importance and attention and God help the man who gets in your way.

What Does This Hat Say About Me When I Wear It?

“She walked into my office like a sweaty stack of pancakes. I took one more pull of Jack Daniels and loaded my gun that I had hidden under the stack of unpaid bills on my desk. The smoke hung in the air like a broccoli fart in a sauna. This wasn’t gonna be an easy dame, I mean case, to crack open.”

“Help! I’ve fallen through a worm hole and need to get back to 1945!”


2. The Stetson

Source: Creative Crop/Digital Vision/Getty Images

This iconic piece of clothing has carved an important place in the history of the old west. Cowboys may have worn to keep the blazing sun out of their eyes during long cattle drives but it’s become a necessary and important tool in the development of the modern Southern tool. The only reason anyone today would wear one is because rodeos don’t allow helmets and it sort of makes you look like you could kick someone’s ass, at least more than a fez ever could.

What Does This Hat Say About Me When I Wear It?

“I think I’m a cowboy, even though I’ve never seen a cow in my life.”

“I showered in Stetson cologne this morning, too.”

“I’m not gonna hit ya, the hell I’m not, assuming there aren’t any cops around.”



1. The Fedora

Source: Sam Bloomberg-Rissman/Flickr/Getty Images

You can’t go wrong with this classic among classics. It’s become so engrained in the modern suit that all the greats from Humphrey to Indiana wore one and people still wear them because they still think they can be like them. Even though the truth is the closest they could come to smuggling the dame they once loved out of a military-occupied country is that time they got out of dinner with her the in-laws by faking food poisoning.

What Does This Hat Say About Me When I Wear It?

Indiana Jones hasn’t stopped playing in my head since I was five.”

“I believe that great advertising will make the world a better place.”

“I’d rather be chain smoking.”

 

 

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