Tuesday, 29 September 2009

Hats off to headgear

Hats. I must have about 10,000 of them, baseball caps, woolly hats, hats for snowboarding, cycling, for pretending I'm a member of the special forces. I even bought one of those full face balaclavas once, for a fancy dress party. Went down like a bearskin at a Peta conference.

Headwear is the affordable accessory when there's nothing else to find. As well as ties, but I have a thing about ties, you could call it a fear. I am most unconfident in selecting a tie. So hats it is.

Thing is these days the time never seems right to be wearing a hat. Maybe on a Saturday morning when going to the end of the road for a paper. Or at a fancy dress party. Or a hat party. I've always thought it might be fun to get a pith helmet for a party. That and a blunderbuster and tropical fatigues. Any other time during everyday life, they just seem too, well, young.

Which is why I was relieved when I discovered Rapha and its selection of caps for cycling. Here was an excuse to wear a hat. Rapha produces racing caps, which are short-peaked cotton numbers; winter caps, which are warm and have fold-downable ear warmers; and last year the cycling brand released a line of tweed caps intended for nothing more than swanning down the road on one's cycle in a dandy manner.

Before I got the chance to really get any wear out of my tweed cap, I crashed the bike and under intense pressure from loved ones, invested in a helmet. So that's the excuse for wearing caps while cycling out the window. Granted, they do fit under a helmet, but at the expense of dignity.

But yet again I am tempted by Rapha's new range of Gentleman's caps. These are truly dandy. More dandy even than last year's tweed affairs. There's one in Barbour-style waxed cotton, a grey felt piece with an embroidered feather on one side, and even one in black with white polka dots, although that to me looks like something one might wear to compete in the 3pm at Aintree.

It's really only a matter of time before one of these is sitting on my swede, such is the lure of a new hat.

It will make me look younger, after all.

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