I‘ll admit, I have always been interested in hats. I loved wearing bucket hats when I was little and walking around in my Osh-Kosh overalls. I love a good fitted cap and letting my inner bro shine. I love baseball hats, and beanies, but what I love more than any other hat is a large wide-brimmed hat.
I never realized I liked wide-brimmed hats so much until I attempted to wear one the other day, due partially to watching too much American Horror Story Coven. I decided to make an attempt at being like Stevie Nicks and donned a black felt wide-brim hat alongside a vintage mustard yellow button down, light wash Levi’s and brown leather Six Chelsea boots. I’ll admit, I looked somewhat like Johnny Depp mixed with John Mayer and a dash of Nick Kroll and John Mulaney on Conan—but regardless, I loved what I was wearing. I felt gypsy-esque. Free-spirited. Confident. And yet, somewhere between trying to feel all of those positive effects, I also felt extremely challenged by the hat.
Do I take it off when driving? Do I wear it indoors, and if not, where do I put it? Is the barista at Epoch judging me because of the hat? If so, why do I care? Now that I’m seated, do I wear the hat or take it off? The wide-brimmed hat, different from any other type of hat, besides maybe a cowboy hat, indicates that the wearer immediately makes a statement. Wearing a wide-brim hat is to yell that you are the type of person who knows how to pull it off and when to pull it off and that your inevitable swag is so definite that it could never come into question. That is the power of a wide-brim hat.
It takes a certain type of confidence because wearing a wide-brimmed hat immediately makes the wearer look like an asshole. You look like an asshole because you probably are one, but also because you have to pull it off so effortlessly that it appears as if everyone else has got it wrong—and you, you alone, have got it right. You are the sole patron of the wide-brimmed hat here to make everyone else feel less superior and yet aspirational to be able to wear such a topper on their heads.
In all honesty, my confidence was weakened by said barista questioning my hatting methods, so when I sat down to begin working, I took my hat off and placed it on the chair next to me. Five minutes later, I placed the hat back on my head because it provided a sense of warmth and shielded my face from the air vents strewn overhead. I decided to keep it on in protest of his haughtiness. Then, another patron walked up to the counter and was greeted in the same nonchalant way he greeted me, ‘sup dude.’ No smile. No inflection of voice. No openness. That’s when I realized, the issue was with me and not him. I was not yet worthy to wear the hat, but my intention was to one day, maybe even for the rest of my day, appear as if I had the confidence to wear it.