How Cars and Hygiene Killed the Middle-Class Hat

Don’t blame JFK

Hanna Brooks Olsen
Sep 12, 2017 · 11 min read
A crowd photo taken by the Bain News Service shows a whole lot of people in hats crowded around to hear opera singer Geraldine Farrar in 1918. Source: Library of Congress

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This 1910 ad for Wick Fancy Hat Bands shows what people used to wear to the ballpark. Source: Library of Congress

The Primary Purpose of a Cover

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Hats were also often used as a way to signify dressiness, as seen in this image of the first female jury in Los Angeles in 1911. Source: Library of Congress
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Hats on hats on hats in Atlantic City, sometime between 1910 and 1915. Source: Library of Congress
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A family heads into town on a Saturday afternoon in Georgia in 1941. Source: Library of Congress
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Which President to Blame: JFK or Ike?

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Kennedy photographed in Ireland in June 1963. He is not wearing a hat, but then neither is almost anyone else. Source: White House
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The Struggle to Save the Hat

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The Hat Research Foundation lobbied to make hats cool again. Source: Pinterest
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Even teaming up with cigarette companies couldn’t save the hat. Source: Ger Appleton
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Hats Off to Future Millinery Situations

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Fedoras for everyone! Maybe!

Hanna Brooks Olsen

Written by

I wrote that one thing you didn’t really agree with. Interests include progressive policy, minor league baseball, and Oxford commas. Curious to a fault.

Hanna Brooks Olsen

Written by

I wrote that one thing you didn’t really agree with. Interests include progressive policy, minor league baseball, and Oxford commas. Curious to a fault.

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