Hats Off to Hats

One of my friends has taken to wearing a hat, a Trilby no less. We laughed, but he liked his new headgear so much he went out and bought another one.

We laugh because we’re part of the generations that grew up not wearing any kind of hat at all. Then the young ‘uns brought us baseball caps, followed by beanies (men) and cute berets and gavroches (women).

Years ago, there were hats for aristos called toppers, hats for city types – bowlers – caps for working men and Trilby type hats for the ones in between. Unless it was a special occasion, most women didn’t bother with hats because they didn’t want their lacquered hair styles spoiled.

Unfortunately, my knowledge of hat history stops about there, but luckily there’s a great new millinery exhibition starting at the V&A next month and tickets are on sale now.

If you see my friend there, what he really likes is for people to flick the back brim of his hat so that the front brim falls over his eyes. Even after the 1000th time, he thinks that’s really funny.

Hats: An Anthology by Stephen Jones kicks off at the Victoria and Albert Museum on 24 February and closes on 31 May.