Mariner’s Hatter

A mariner’s cap also called a skipper’s cap, sailor’s cap or fiddler’s cap, is a peaked cap, usually made from black or navy blue wool felt, but also from corduroy or blue denim. Originally popular with seafarers, it is often associated with sailing and maritime settings, especially fishing, yachting and recreational sailing. It has sometimes become a fashion item in the West, for example being worn by John Lennon in the mid-1960s.

Other principal components are the crown, band, and insignia, typically a cap badge and embroidery in proportion to rank. Piping is also often found, typically in contrast to the crown colour, which is usually white for navy, blue for air force, and green for army. The band is typically a dark, contrasting colour, often black, but may be patterned or striped.

In the Canadian Forces, the peaked cap (French: casquette de service) is the primary headgear for men’s Royal Canadian Navy service dress. Royal Navy Officers were first issued peaked caps in 1825 as a less formal alternative to the bicorne hat.

It was I suppose but a skip from brooches to peaked caps with badges and embroidery. But here I am, childishly awaiting the arrival of Santa Claus with my new bicycle. The paramount feature of today’s retail expedition is that, given my increasing immobility, the days of shopping in the customary manner are over. Shopping centres are right out.  I cannot fathom the necessity to stand upright for more than 3 minutes; and prolonged investigation from one store to the other would be positively retarding for any whom I accompanied. Even beyond the arcade or galleria paradigm going in and out of a select store nonetheless entails similar exhaustion from the parking lot and back.

As a result of this unenviable limitation the modern process of on-line shopping is now ideal. I can sit at my desk, sipping my chilled coffee, listening to my favourite music, perambulating about the internet with my credit card in hand. Here however is where one’s acquaintance with the electronic task is enlisted. While I cannot say that I have extraordinary experience with electronic shopping, I can at least claim some history with the internet in general. In fact I am so antique and historic that I vividly recall the first time I heard the word “internet” (which I am guessing was about 1984). It was of course explained to me by my then “techie” who introduced me to  many (though not the first) of my office and home computers; but I confess until I started to use the internet, his explanation was arcane.

To my knowledge I was the first lawyer in Lanark County to use a computer.  I used it first for WorkPerfect document production; then electronic bookkeeping; and finally most illustratively for electronic title searching and on-line title insurance (for which latter initiatives I was one of the first lawyers in the entire Province of Ontario and thereby entitled gratuitously to the expense of two in-house experts from Toronto for three days to figure out why it wasn’t working as it should).

But none of this legal engagement did anything to advance my familiarity with on-line shopping except by virtue of its universal directives.  It was not until I discovered to my unending delight that through on-line shopping I could overcome the retail embarrassment and restraint of being overweight that I focussed upon the electronic shopping model. Previously whenever I had shopped at the usual men’s clothing stores it was standard retort to my enquiry of the clerk to be told, “I’ll see if we have it in the back!” which was code for, “I’ll see if we have some fat sizes.” By contrast on-line shopping enabled me to access availability merely by searching for my size and dimensions. Granted it was not uncommon first to have to signal “BIg & Tall” as a so-called “filter” but this turned out to be yet an added benefit because that dimension of clothing was purposively made for other than skinny Italian men.  The inseams were appropriate; the waists were customarily treated with an invisible expansion facility; and, you could always specify exactly what length or colour was desired.  Never again had I to accommodate my sartorial precision!

Yet in spite of this mounting intelligence it remained introductory to characterize what were trustworthy and qualified resources.  The internet is foremost littered with typical advertisements which suffer the erstwhile accusations of fanciful production and immeasurable claims. Nonetheless it remains equally true – as it always has – that one should rely upon one’s instincts.  To this instruction I would add that, with the application of often minimal distillation, it is readily apparent whether the retailer is legitimate. The indicia of authenticity are frequently the same on the ground as in the cloud. Foremost, you get what you pay for.  Second, if you can’t get an immediate and open explanation of the product, something’s missing! Third, the proliferation of “review” articles can be helpful if for no other reason than to slow the process for digestion before taking the leap. And finally if one has had a prior favourable transaction with a similar vendor, there may be an aniticipated recurrence. For example, often dealing with British, American, German or Swedish companies can be of encouragement. By comparison, searching for the cheapest product is as often a signpost to an uncertain destination.

I shall conclude this monologue by complimenting the Hat Store.  While my path with them has only recently been trod I am instinctively requited of my trade with them. I thought too I should address the nomenclature of the industry by adding the quote below.

Hat making—for men, done by “hatters”—and millinery—for women, done by “milliners”—were, for the most part, different professions that used different materials and production techniques, although at times they overlapped.

The Hat Store