Where it all went wrong for the fedora


Gentlemen! Never let children wear your hats. Jamie Peck explores the history of the fedora, an excellent garment born in female empowerment that became "a widely recognized symbol of douchebaggery" thanks to horrid young men.

As the hat grew more prevalent among both men and women, its status as a women's rights symbol faded. As Robert Rath writes in the gaming magazine The Escapist, "the hat went from being a symbol of co-opted masculinity, to one simply considered masculine." Journalists, mobsters, hardboiled detectives, and politicians alike wore them as they went about their business… It's widely accepted that President John F. Kennedy singlehandedly killed the hat industry by declining to wear one during his 1961 inauguration.

The event horizon, though, was it becoming a signifier of failed or inappropriate masculine affectation in the last decade or so: think "pickup artists" and Hot Topic. Many, Peck warns, now "are walking around in fedoras unwittingly." To which one might well add that many of those who think they are wearing fedoras are, in fact, not.

Previously: Why the fedora grosses out geekdom