With ‘Mad Men’ coming to a close Sunday May 17th, we are finally going to unearth a big mystery here at ‘Life is But a Theme’…
What’s with the fedora?
Always with the fedora.
The first public appearance of the fedora came following the opening of the Disney-MGM Studios in 1989. The front of park theming of a 1940’s Hollywood Boulevard struck a different nostalgia chord than the one intended when you stepped onto the turn of the 20th century Main Street USA in the Magic Kingdom. This also opened up a gateway to the films of Bogart & Cagney, and I also think this was (unfortunately) further enhanced by the Phil Collins music video, ‘I Wish It Would Rain Down’…
Attempts were made to wear a fedora in public amongst my friends. Being nicknamed ‘Darkman’ (as in the Liam Neeson cult favorite) quickly put an end to that. Wearing the mafia trench coat probably didn’t help.
Talk amongst yourselves about the mullet.
My 20’s came and went, with my supplemental hat of choice being a newsboy cap. When I turned 30, it suddenly felt awkward to wear a baseball cap (my preferred hat of choice) out in public… And definitely not backwards. Yes, there may be preconceived assumptions cast at those still wearing a baseball cap backwards in their mid-to late 20’s (and sometimes older), but it wasn’t that judgement that had me seeking an option. If I wasn’t at a game or involved in an outdoor activity, wearing a baseball hat in a bar or a grocery store or a bank no longer felt right.
Right before the summer following my 30th birthday, I used an H&M gift card to buy a straw fedora hat. ‘Twas as if I had entered a renaissance. Coupled with being given the hat that practically defines Lenny Burrows that June, a new brim had firmly been established.
That straw fedora practically disintegrated by the time its 5th summer rolled around. Others have tried to match its wonder and failed. My wardrobe has become over populated with variations of fedoras. My engagement and wedding photos feature them. People ask me if everything is okay when I’m not wearing one (they ask the same things if I’m wearing jeans, to be fair). Those who barely know me have called my headpiece ‘iconic’.
Now, I’m wondering if it’s a bad thing or a good thing that my identity is based on this…