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Why I So Infrequently Wear a Bowler Hat

Because I’m about 30 years too old to pull off the “adorable street urchin” look, that’s why.

Photo by my friend Doselle, who I suspect the bowler hat would have looked much better on. Bowler hat via my pal Brian, who in fact it did look better on. It takes a special sort of man to work a bowler hat, basically, and I am clearly not he.

By John Scalzi

I enjoy pie.

56 replies on “Why I So Infrequently Wear a Bowler Hat”

It does take a special man. Little Alex was just such a man, and I am proud that he wore the hat so much better than you!

Trey – who is partial to a panama.

I don’t wear mine because it fits too tight. I wanted a hat that didn’t blow off in the wind, and I got it by gum.

Don’t think street urchin, a bowler hat is a working man’s hat. It’s the old time answer to our current hard hat in origin, designed to offer some protection from falling branches while tending to the master’s stand of trees.

eviljwinter: really? my wife forbid me to wear mine the first time she saw it on me. Said I looked like a school shooter. I suspect it’s something about beard+younger+hat. hrmpf.

Hunh. I get away with a fedora-style just fine with a goatee. Then again, I’m a redhead, and my wife doesn’t like me getting sunburned. My new ones are also too tight. Anyone know how to loosen leather hats?

John, I think you can probably pull off a bowler with the right attitude, but a fedora would probably work better.

Goof. Straighten that thing, have a shave and put on a suit and tie. Then you’ll look awesome.

Think John Steed, or George Banks, or Jeeves. Classic.

I had a bowler derby long time ago. It got destroyed somewhere along the line; I’ve been thinking recently about getting another one. I’m convinced it’s the only style that suits the shape of my head.

Would that be Doselle Young (the only Doselle I can think of)?? Enquiring rocks want to know.

I loves me a good hat, but I think of Ben Vereen in “Pippin” and Sammy Davis Jr.

Then I put my ball cap back on, like a good middle-aged engineer.
(Here at Lockheed, the lunchtime stroll is mostly engineers in button-down shirts and ball caps.)

@ #17, Jeremiah G: I, too, read that as BrainPal. Three times.

Personally, I’m partial to the cloche hat, and a beret does wonders to accommodate long hair. It does tend to make one a bit identifiable as “the one in the hat.”

Perhaps a “comrade” style hat for John?

Try not to look like someone’s giving you a toe job under the tablecloth while explaining the meaning of life, the universe and everything. The bowler is a hat that requires a certain degree of gravitas. (I’ve no idea what ‘gravitas’ is, except Morgan Freeman has it all.)

Try a fedora. Wear a brown one and you’re Indiana Jones (front and back brims down.) Wear a gray one, and you’re Sam Spade (back brim up).

Maroon, and you’re Carmen Sandiego (where have you been, by the way?).

Here’s a link to a photo of someone wearing a bowler properly. Properly fitted and straight on the head.

Also, as others have noted, a certain gravitas* is needed. Face stubble and a shit-eating grin does not cut the mustard. Go for clean shaven (or a tightly trimmed beard/moustache), straight posture, and — at most — a slight, cynical smirk.

*”gravitas” is not that stuff that holds you onto those planety-type thingies.

The Fashion Police know your name, Scalzi….

Scalzi, you’re not thinking ahead. Remember Bacon Cat Chick? If you let it be known ahead of time that you are wearing a bowler hat to a con, eventually a hot babe will get it into her head to do Mrs. Peel cosplay. Just, you know, saying.

And hell, if it works for Phil Foglio it should work for you. I think you just need a smaller hat.

C’mon, people … I *can’t* be the only person who immediately thought of Badger. Surely not. The resemblance is uncanny.

Thaaaat’s what I’m remembering. My brain recognized him immediately, but (being about halfway through my second glass of wine) it kept going to “one of those vaguely pimp-like creatures from a Jeremy Brett/Sherlock Holmes movie.”

But yes, Badger. That’s who I was thinking about. Badger.

Stupid brain.

You look more like a straw boater type of guy.

And in the name of all that is holy, DO NOT wear a beret. Please. It’s like crossing the streams, only worse.

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