My Tilley Hat

While it was fashion and its evident quality that prompted me to buy the hat, I especially like that “Canada” is written all over the product.  We Canadians haven’t often that kind of renown to proclaim.  Being a Canadian company does not of course guarantee that the product is in fact made in Canada, but in the case of the Raffia 11 hat which I purchased today it was apparently manufactured by an experienced and respected 3rd-generation hatter “right here in Canada”.

This medium brim fedora has a lower crown profile, and is trimmed with a brown leather hatband. Made from our Madagascar raffia, this hat has been ‘tea-stained’ to a rich tone that highlights the texture of the raffia.

I have owned about three hats in my entire life.  Two of them were for Fall or Winter wear.  The third was a baseball hat which I bought more for the colour (canary yellow) and hardly ever sport. My Tilley hat is for summer wear; and considering the current rage to avoid direct sunlight, combined with the fact that we hope to winter on Hilton Head Island for the remainder of our days, I expect to get some use of it.

Hats, perhaps more than any other article of apparel, are decidedly geared to a particular age group and often a particular niche within that group.  The fedora is a traditional look best suited for the “mature” gentleman.  The fedora, successor to the similar-looking “homburg” style, was for example associated with gangsters in the Prohibition but it fell out of favour due to a shift towards more informal clothing styles. It was however later popularized by Harrison Ford as the film character Indiana Jones in the Steven Spielberg thrillers.  My personal association with the straw hat is that of someone like the French impressionist painter Claude Monet:

It would normally be too grand to wear a hat like that of Monet but the straw or raffia (a long-leaf plant from Madagascar) lends itself to more modest employment and almost certainly its utilitarian feature will trump any social context. It is undeniable that as I age  and ferment the attraction of once quaint accessories is on the rise. If nothing else, protuberant bellies and sagging muscles require accommodation if one’s appearance is to survive the transition of time.  I am determined to do what I can under the circumstances and not to be defeated in that goal!  Barring exercise and plastic surgery, sartorial dalliance seems the least disturbing of the alternatives.  It may have promoted my interest in this particular hat that we lunched at Gad’s Hill Pub in the Village of Merrickville today.  We enjoyed a very satisfactory lunch of tea, soup and sandwich. These small details matter!