Monday, 14 November 2011

F, You're Fedorable

This is a guest post from Mr Robot. He's not a blogger – if he had one of his own he'd manage three posts in a day and then nothing for ten months – so I've decided to make Mr Robot's Gentlemen's Corner on my blog for him. And he's asked me to tell you to excuse his facial hair, it's for Movember. (I like it.)

’Evening everybody, Robot here. Crinoline has asked me to tap out a few thoughts on my experience as an amateur hat wearer, or Gentleman Hattist.

From whence came impulse for a hat is unclear. Probably it started with the long and flappy raincoat that has a certain noir-ish feel to it, and the healthy collection of Bogart films no doubt played a role (not that I’ll ever be a Bogart you understand and, if she’ll forgive me saying it, Crinoline is rather more Katherine Hepburn than Lauren Bacall). It always felt – especially on dark winter evenings – that there was something more to be had. Something slightly edgy. Glamorous, even. Something Hatty.

They’re not that easy to come by (at least not cheaply), and whenever I found something I fancied, there’d be a voice in the back of my head saying 'Go ahead, but you’ll look a right pillock'.

So I dithered and muttered and prevaricated and ultimately did nothing, which Crinoline took to be a signal that she must buy one for me. Which it wasn’t at all. And when I opened the big box on my birthday to find a genuine fedora inside, well I fear I probably wasn’t as effusive as she might have hoped. [Too bloody right!] Do you really expect me to go out in that?

It took a while. I wore it around the house a bit (especially if uninhibited with ale) for a good month or so but I was still uneasy. People will stare. They will laugh. I will wish to be a tiny dead hedgehog.

It must have been the middle of summer (because it was tipping down) when I finally took the plunge; what I could really do with in this is, ah – a hat!

There were a few double-takes I’ll admit, and friends would adopt a distinct look on first meeting the behatted me. The eyes would drift upwards and pause. The mouth dropped open but clearly words failed. Perhaps a little choke. Being well-disposed, they’d opt for a completely un-headwear-related topic of conversation, solildly lock eye contact and NOT LOOK ANYWHERE ELSE AT ALL - much as a civilised fellow must do when faced with an distressingly appealing expanse of bosom.

The first couple of weeks “out” were a tad uncomfortable – but really that was just self-consciousness: it felt like a costume. But as I became more comfortable wearing the thing, the oddest thing happened. I started to get compliments. Two favourites were “only you and X could get away with that” (X being terrifically and naturally dapper), and “you know, you don’t look completely stupid.” This last, coming from a man who bears a startling resemblance to Uncle Fester, I considered quite a coup.

The ladies seem to like it too, or at least those who work with Crinoline and therefore (see above) probably wouldn’t dare say anything else. Still, a favourable glance from crumpet – no matter how imaginary – is never to be sniffed at.

I’m still learning about this hattery business but we’re making progress. I now beware unseasonal sunshine, for a sweaty head is unpleasant and can lead to unattractive tufting. I can’t tip it yet, but on occasion have found myself touching the brim in greeting (and how did that feel the first time? Suave isn’t the word).

And I have started experimenting with tilts – nothing too rakish, too Sinatra, but I have at last found a use for the word “jaunty”. It still feels a touch affected but I’m sure we’ll find the sweet spot soon.

Pip pip!

In case you're wondering, I bought the hat from Laird London. Highly recommended for fast service, and they replaced the hat when the one I ordered was the wrong size without charging me extra P&P.

2 comments :

  1. Mr Robot, you like spiffing! it does suit you, particularly with the facial hair :D Andy is quite a fan of hattage, and not just for steampunk. He has a nice trilby and a panama for summer.

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  2. Hats ftw.

    A very funny read. Moar guest posts from Mr R!1

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