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Milwaukee's Daily Magazine for Saturday, April 19, 2014

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Back in the day, hats were part of the dress code at ball games.
Back in the day, hats were part of the dress code at ball games.
The author sports his Father's Day gift.
The author sports his Father's Day gift.

Hats off to a modern world

Do a Google search for "1920s baseball crowd" and you'll find some wonderful things: The innocence of a bygone era, a haunting reminder of our mortality and a lot of guys wearing hats. Hats, for crying out loud.

I'm kind of pissed off at John F. Kennedy.

After all, he is blamed for killing the hat within American culture. We used to wear some hats until the election of 1960 came along and Kennedy wanted to show off his chock of thick, Irish hair and, BOOM, no one else wanted a hat either. I mean, it's not like it got less sunny or we suddenly suffered less from bad hair days – it simply lost favor.

Years ago on an elevator – I remember it like it was yesterday – a gentleman got on and was wearing a nice suit ... and a beautiful hat. A black suit with a black fedora with a feather. I found myself having an instant man-crush on this guy and even managed to stammer out a complement, "Great hat." I was smitten and vowed to become a hat wearer.

And no, baseball caps are not "hats."

But it's tough wearing a hat. You feel like some geeky fashionista the first time you try it on. This is new territory. It's not like your father taught you how. My father was 17 in 1960 and much preferred the hatless Kennedy style. So, you're left to figure it out for yourself.

I have been bolstered as of late, though, seeing the hat's popularity make a small return. I got a hat for Father's Day this year and each time I wear it, I get complements. I'm becoming more comfortable and am feeling my way through the hat world.

I invite you to join me. Maybe as a celebratory gesture for the Brewers postseason, we can all buys hats and go to the ballpark. At least the hat will be a hell of a lot cheaper than the seat. Go Brewers!

Talkbacks

Dusty_Bottoms | Sept. 29, 2011 at 12:36 p.m. (report)

Can we get the word out to all who attend a playoff game at Miller Park that they should dress up? Suit and a hat for the menfolk, dresses for the ladies.

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eboogie13 | Sept. 27, 2011 at 5:27 p.m. (report)

I agree on the hat front but the other wardrobe selection that I miss at the ballpark is the suit. Not only were the fans wearing fedoras and bowlers but they were also wearing suits. I can only imagine that there was more decorum and civility amongst the fans at those games in the 20's. Contrast that with the crowds of today where a night out at the game wouldn't be complete without tying one on for many of the "fans" at the park. Call me old fashioned but I would prefer a crowd where the focus of the night at the game was THE GAME and not looking silly, holding a sign in an effort to get on the jumbotron or getting blasted with your buddies.

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crackerbat | Sept. 27, 2011 at 4:53 p.m. (report)

sounds like quite the shove to get the only obvious hat store in milwaukee some business.

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