Dieselpunks

Dieselpunk + Steampunk Culture

Throughout all of the pulps I have read, and the movies I have seen it seems that the character of any male individual can be summed up by the hat on his head.  A friend of mine postulated that if a character is wearing a straw hat that they could never be the villain.  I tested the hypothesis by looking through my scrap books of heroes and villains and determined the postulate had merit.

 I would like to invite others to help me research the relations between hats and character.  It does require that you have some knowledge of hats. i.e. can you distinguish a Homburg, from a Fedora or a Trilby?

 This is by no means definitive but is a general guide based on stereotypes in literature and film.

 Here is my summary:

 Homburgs:  are worn by villains or rich/powerful characters like Winston Churchill

 Fedoras:  can be worn by heroes or villains

 Trilby:  usually worn by shady characters and used car salesmen (James Bon is an exception)

 Flat Cap:  worn by henchmen and innocent bystanders

 Bowlers:  often worn by government officials, bankers and bureaucrats

 Straw hat:  worn by tradesmen, country folk and adolescent prep schoolers

 Coachman’s hat:  sometimes villains but mostly the good guy’s allies

 Pork Pie hat:  definitely nere-do-wells or unimportant characters

 Top hat:  possibly a villain, if he has a monocle, definitely a villain

 Skull cap:  high villain potential

 Fez:  possible villainy but more often a lieutenant or henchman

 Turban:  another high villain potential

 Stetson:   American or Australian interloper but low possibility of villainy

 Any military hat:  Peak cap,  Campaign  hat,  Garrison hat,  or even a Pith Helmet.  These are mostly neutral.

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The original postulate has wilted after being informed that a Panama hat, a hat frequently worn by South American villains, is by their construction method technically a straw hat.

For those more visual gents, like myself. 



Yes, that's right. The term Panama had refers rather to the material and making than to the shape of the hat. The Panama hat in Captain's picture is the traditional shape worn by South Americans. However, there are also Fedora-style Panama hats, which were popular in North America and Europe. Actually, Panama Fedoras are just re-gaining popularity in Europe. The picture shows me trying on a new hat for the summer season. It was taken yesterday in a fashion store in Germany. 

Joern

With the dark cheaters and the black band you do sort of look like a pulp villain.

Thanks :-) Normally, I wear clear glasses. Just put on the dark cheaters since my wife would like to check the look. However, this will be my daily street outfit. I will just replace the winter coat by a light jacket.

Interesting.  While my hat collection is almost embarrassingly varied -- enough to get dirty looks from the lady of the house when additional hooks need to get drilled to the wall -- in personal life I wear more flat caps and "Newsboys"  because it seems to more accurately fit my day to day station in life.  In spite of my position as more of a "foreman",  my gig is seen as largely a blue collar one.  So more often a flat cap and chore coat is more "characteristic" of my day than a three piece suit or fedora.  "That's for Sundays and date nights,"  I usually say.  And so would a guy in my job during the diesel era.

I love this disucssion. One thing I always associate with the era is the hats people wore. I have to admit, I never quite gave it much thought, but I always figured that the flat cap/newsboy hat (I know they're different hats) would fit the working class hero/thug stereotype down to a T.

For me, personally, coming from the Middle East, I want to see the fez be used a little more positively. I know that Sallah from Indiana Jones had a fez on, and he while he was played by a white guy I think he was one of the very few positively portrayed Middle Eastern's characters around.

That being said, I own only one fedora, and it's too hot to really wear it, but I love that hat. It's an expensive one, but I got it from the oldest hat shop in Montreal and it's Made in USA by Bailey's of Hollywood. It annoys me when some people offer me 20 bucks for it think it's made in China.

While we still have summer, it's not too early to buy some stuff for the fall season. So, I just got a new black fedora in 1930s style. They are still made by Italian manufacturer Borsalino. A little expensive, however.

My dream is being able to afford the Holland Hat Co. broad brimmed beaver fur felt fedora, only $450.00.  Unfortunately I can't even afford their Panama hats.  I will have to stick with my woven wool fedora, felt admiral's bicorn, leather pickelhaub and metal Brodie helmet.  But I'll be keeping my eyes open ay the flea markets.

As I know the pork pie is not a type but a shape... because it is a modified fedora.

https://jazzatelier.files.wordpress.com/2011/07/lester.jpg

Who doesn't love Sallah?!!  IMHO, one of the most enjoyable parts of both films he was a part of  (too bad he wasn't in the first one longer!)  As far as the fez is concerned, it does tend to be pretty specific to the environment.  While I own a fez (there aren't many styles I don't have at least a cheap version of), it tends to be a style I wear only whilst in Steampunk, rather than Diesel modes (I'm Caucasian--and white Victorian gentlemen were prone to wearing a fez as more of an indoor smoking cap in the evening).  Either way, it usually evokes laughter from folx less privy to the 'punk lifestyles.

Given the heat of your environs, it would be tough to feel comfortable in any fedora made of heavier felt or beaver fur.  'Twas what the Panama Hat was pretty much designed for.  By Memorial Day (first of summer at the latest) I even have to have a twice-yearly ritual of pulling down and box-hatting the cold weather hats, and breaking out the hats made of linen and straw, and maybe the lighter cotton (if you can find a madras pattern, even better!).  It is unfortunate though that only the most stiffly / strongly made Panamas will resist having a tendency to start to "wilt" after extensive wear in the high heat, and can start to loose their "snappy" look that a fedora normally keeps.  But even fedoras can start to get "floppy" if you're sweating into them consistently, particularly given the softness vs. stiffnes of its brim.


 
Salim Farhat said:

I love this disucssion. One thing I always associate with the era is the hats people wore. I have to admit, I never quite gave it much thought, but I always figured that the flat cap/newsboy hat (I know they're different hats) would fit the working class hero/thug stereotype down to a T.

For me, personally, coming from the Middle East, I want to see the fez be used a little more positively. I know that Sallah from Indiana Jones had a fez on, and he while he was played by a white guy I think he was one of the very few positively portrayed Middle Eastern's characters around.

That being said, I own only one fedora, and it's too hot to really wear it, but I love that hat. It's an expensive one, but I got it from the oldest hat shop in Montreal and it's Made in USA by Bailey's of Hollywood. It annoys me when some people offer me 20 bucks for it think it's made in China.

My city actually has a resident miliner (whose shop's name is at the moment escaping me--Mike the Hatter?  It's been a while since I looked his offerings up). He's done work for Hollywood productions.  And his prices are also reflective of the cost prohibitions most of us would face (specifically, facing our significant others when they see the bill) as you've described.  I keep saying if there is some day I come into means far above my current station, perhaps I'd treat myself.  It's the price one would likely have to pay for legitimate artisan level craftsmanship.

While he is by no means ancient, he's no longer a young man.  That's another part of the problem.  How long do you have access to that level of work?  In interviews he's mentioned on more than one occassion he's tried to keep his eye out for a young individual interested in apprenticing themselves just as he had to some decades back.  If I were a younger man who had my current inclincations, I'd be all about it.  If just to save a fading vocation!  Too bad the guys at the right age don't see the value of the craft.
 
Stephen Vossler said:

My dream is being able to afford the Holland Hat Co. broad brimmed beaver fur felt fedora, only $450.00.  Unfortunately I can't even afford their Panama hats.  I will have to stick with my woven wool fedora, felt admiral's bicorn, leather pickelhaub and metal Brodie helmet.  But I'll be keeping my eyes open ay the flea markets.

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