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When All Men Wore Hats

Submitted by on February 9, 2013 – 8:42 pm
Men wearing hats in a Works Progress Administration poster from the 1930s or '40s

Men of all occupations and backgrounds wore hats back in the day. See how commonplace hats were for men in these old WPA posters.

Poking around the Library of Congress archives, it isn’t too hard to stumble upon those remarkable Works Progress Administration posters. In addition to the exciting Bauhaus and art-deco stylings, it is incredible how ubiquitous men’s hats were.

First-aid poster for farmers…hats. Coal miners…hats. Factory workers…hats.

Almost all men seemed to wear hats back then, regardless of social class or occupation. More than just a fashion accessory, your hat helped define you. It also served a practical purpose. Imagine working the fields 6 days a week without a brim on your hat to keep the sun off you. Imagine how cold, dirty or at risk your hair might be at getting snagged in machinery or catching fire. Those factories and mines didn’t have any OSHA standards to protect the workers. And while that might make some folks nostalgic, don’t forget how many people died or were maimed on the job back then.

Hats and caps still help present a distinct definition of yourself to the people who see you out and about. It is just a shame more people don’t wear them. We all look better in the right hat or cap.

As for the hats in these posters, you can still get them today. The blue hat worn in the farmer poster looks similar to the Bigalli Quickstep in navy blue (also inexpensive, durable, all-weather) and the tan hat looks like the Guerra Falbatravel in tan. In the “Goggles” poster, the guy is wearing a black spitfire. The Pennsylvania miner appears to be wearing what we call a “Fiddler.” See all of these hats and more at Hats Plus today.





















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