A Man, A Plan, A Canal

I’m picky. Really picky. I have a fedora I love, adore beyond belief, and it’s dark brown and perfect. And it’s also too damn hot to wear half the year. I also have a black driving cap we got in Paris, it is also perfect, and it is also too hot to wear in spring and summer. So come May, I’m back to baseball caps. Normally I wear my Princess hat to be ironic. For this week’s events, though, I wanted a nice hat. Either a neat driving cap, or a brimmed one.

We started out looking at Old Navy type places, for Trilby and Porkpie hats that were summer and light and casual. I don’t like a huge brim because I have a prow of a nose and that comes first. I can get away with baseball caps because of the shape, but only because I carefully curve that brim. By the way, what the hell is up with the ‘style’ of people who have never set foot in New York wearing a Yankees cap with a totally straight brim and the stickers still on it?! Oh god, am I that old creep now? Get off my lawn!


What I wanted was the following:

The problem with that is my head is small. I generally wear a 7 – 7 3/8ths hat. Yes, my head is that small around. And most of it is hair. You can find everything on my list if you look at mens’ hats, but rarely if you look at womens’ right now. In addition, the ‘style’ of hats is apparently the distressed look, this season. I don’t want distressed, also, it’s a little early since we’re in the bright ’80s colors resurgence. Folks, distressed is for grunge! The only distressed clothes that were okay in the ’80s was acid washed jeans or that weird glam thing that Madonna and Boy George pulled off.

Sorry for the joke.

Anyway, we walked around the mall for three hours trying on hats.I felt like Goldilocks. Too big, wrong shape, wrong color, too floppy, too tall, too short… Basically we determined I need a smallish brimmed fedora type hat. Now there was a lot of arguing with the shoppers, but the two people with veto power were me and my girlfriend. If I said no, she knew I would never wear the hat. If she said no, I knew one day the hat would go mysteriously missing. No one else got a veto, but they did have opinions. The people at Nordies, Macy’s, Lord & Taylor, and Bloomies were pretty useless. They all wanted me to get a girl hat, with bright colors and flowers, or they didn’t help at all. All the GAP stores (Old Navy, GAP, and Banana Republic) understood it right away when I said “I want a hat, I don’t care if it’s a man style or not, but it must be simple, clean lines, crisp, not distressed, and fit my head.”

Alas, all their hats were too big. One size fits none in my case, and I finally announced, “Fuckit! I give up!” As we walked back to the car, my eyes touched on J.Crew’s storefront. There was a dummy with a hat that looked… right. I ducked in, ditching my family, and grabbed it. It was a hair too big, so I walked around looking for the same hat in different sizes. After all, they had everything else in multiple sizes right? Not that hat.

Finally I asked an employee, who said they were up front. But as soon as we went up front we realized this hat was similar to the ones there, it said it was the same, but it wasn’t. This one had a smaller brim, was stiff and solid, and the others were all floppy or really big. They looked in back and couldn’t find out, and then looked around the computer, checking the item number and SKU. This hat was, apparently, a one-off for the entire Panama Hat line! It was the only one in existance in their entire system. And it was just too big.

I could have cried.

But then I remembered Tintin. “Can I have a sheet of the wrapping paper you guys use?” They handed it over and three employees watched me tear a sheet, fold it, stick in the hatband, and plunk the hat on my head. It fit perfectly. I added a little extra, as I knew a haircut was going to happen soon, and turned to my family. “This,” I announced, “is the hat. I’m buying it.”

And so we did, making sure to personally thank the woman who spent 20 minutes looking it up online, and making sure she got the sale.

Of course this left me with a minor problem of permanently adjusting the hat. When I got home, a little double sided sticky and some fabric made a nice pad, which even post haircut, keeps the hat in place snugly. Perfection.

Pictures en masse.