The Hat Theory

Gotta hat it up

Gotta hat it up

I remember as an awkward 15 year old with braces and bad hair-my dad (talking from beneath a furry Eskimo hat) declaring that if you want to wear attention-seeking headwear, you need to have the personality to carry it off: “If you lack the character, then rather leave your head bare” he instructed knowingly.

I took this to heart and never wore anything else other than the odd nylon hood on wintery school mornings until my fashion-epiphany when I discovered a love of clothes and what they say about the wearer.  Part of this realisation has included an appreciation for hats: animal print, floppy denim, Eastern…have all captured my heart.

I now disagree with my father, anyone can wear a hat. Whether you’re a toddler frolicking in the sea wearing nothing but a protective sunhat, a pensioner with a talent for bowls in a crown of tweed or a delinquent teen in a neon ‘Monster’ cap; you have every right to wear a hat. In fact, I would say (gently) that you should wear a hat.

Why? Well recently, on one of my regular web procrastination sessions, I came across an interesting piece on Dr Seuss and his fondness for all things hatty. Most of Seuss’s characters wore hats or at had something noticeable shooting from their heads.

And this is by no means a random coincidence either. Apparently Dr Seuss, (real name Theodor Seuss Geisel) had quite the hat collection, including a state band number very similar to a lampshade. According to the chief editor of Seuss’s publishing house, whenever he was suffering from writer’s block, the writer would pull out a wide sombrero or pointed hat and sit pondering a name for one his peculiar beasts.

So influential is Seuss’s assembly of hats, that they have been placed in an exhibition of his work, (timed to the 75th anniversary of his book ‘the 500 Hats of Bartholemew Cubbins’) where about a dozen of them will be on public display.

Seuss, who also worked as a copywriter, even incorporated hats into the ads he wrote, including the well-known insecticide ad where a mosquito is seen surging through a woman’s floral hat. The advert boosted his career and: “…became part of one of the longest-running campaigns in advertising history.”*

This makes me think that hats have the ability to add an air of possibility, creativity even. As someone studying advertising I’m familiar with the ‘stuck in a brain-fart of despair’ feeling. In these times I’m instructed to: ‘Do something else’ ‘take a break’ or ‘move to a different environment.’ My fellow creatives all have different ways of dealing with the intellectual head-jam. The skater blasts trance through her giant headphones, the freckled jock casually swings a cricket bat while the bearded-hipster cycles anxiously around on his bike, interrogating others on their ideas.

But perhaps there’s a better way of unsticking the sticky thought process. Maybe if we all brought a hat to college, one which makes us feel unrestrained and, (as my mother would say) groovy, then we’d have a whole new look to think in. So when feeling uninspired, you don a bonny bonnet or a tapered trilby and borrow someone else’s brain for a while. Because sometimes that’s all you need to get the creative juices flowing; a different perspective or approach to the subject.

And why stop at using the hat-theory for just the work you’re doing? The next time you get yelled at for swigging milk out the bottle or drunkenly eating your room-mate’s lasagne, just blame it on the hat you were wearing: “Sorry boet, but you know I get the munchies when I’m in my stoner beanie.” Personally, I think I’ve stumbled across something life-changing here peeps.

Considering the amount of time we spend deliberating what shade of turquoise our toenails should be, it seems almost criminal to ignore our heads. Surely our vital grey matter should be roofed by something eye-catching? Definitely it should be something feathered, felted, and draped in velvet. (Brownie points if the chosen piece blocks someone’s view of a movie screen.)

Headwear supporters unite! Together we can forge a way through the tunnel of artistic darkness when wearing the bejewelled headlamps.

*Reference: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/02/04/books/dr-seuss-himself-was-a-cat-in-the-hat.html?_r=0

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