2008 Comeback Stories: Hats off to men's hats back on

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This post is part of our series on people, places and things that have found new life in 2008.

Finally. Just when you've lost faith in everything stylish and genteel, men's hats are making a comeback. Not a moment too soon, if you ask me.

Time was every man wore a hat in public. Everyone, from the businessman down to the worker. You were undressed without one. But somewhere along the line the norm loosened. They say that once Jack Kennedy was sworn into the presidency, hatless, in 1961, men's head gear soon went the way of the clean, close shave.

But times have changed once again. Oh, for the stylishly daring, the hat never went away. Willie Brown, the dapper former mayor of San Francisco, was never without his fedora. The more dashing of hip-hoppers were already wearing the older style gentleman's hats, perhaps following the lead of the always elegant Sean Combs. But the tide turned for men's hats back in 2005, say fashion wonks, when Brad Pitt donned several deeply natty straw fedoras in a 2005 cover shoot for W Magazine. With Angelina, of course.


The hat is home for good now, taking up its rightful place as necessary gear for the well-dressed gentleman about town and the lad in the street. Most of the major men's 2008 collections feature hats as a matter of course: Giorgio Armani,Michael Kors,Dolce & Gabbana, and others.

Women's hats are also in, or are due to be this fall, say the fashion wags.

You want a hat? They're everywhere now, and lots of hip, young hatters are popping up in every region. (For the record, a milliner designs lady's hats. A hatter makes hats you buy off the rack). But you want to pay homage to the art of the men's hat-making. The first place to go, then, is Worth & Worth, which is still selling hats in New York City, but at a smaller, lower-profiler shop than its longtime digs on Madison Ave. Fortunately, this is one old world charm that has made good use of new world technology. it has a booming internet business.

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