The 'hat' at it's simplest is, in the words of the Merriam Webster Dictionary, "1. a covering for the head usually having a shaped crown and brim 2. a distinctive head covering worn as a symbol of office". In the broadest sense of the word, it can also be a headress, a hood, a scarf or almost any kind of head covering, that may serve any of a wide variety of purposes: making a fashion statement, a symbol of distinction or status, a sign that the wearer performs a specific job or religious function, a protection from head injuries, or simply for the purpose of keeping the head warm and dry. In my archives, I have found instances of people wearing all kinds of hats for all sorts of reasons. So I've decided to gather a collection of these images and use them to try and identify some common themes around this most common human accessory, and what they may reveal about the wearers. This is the first of a series of blogs addressing 'The Hat'.
Runway model - fashion show Chicago ca. 1978. Making an artistic statement at the Long Beach CA monthly art walk.
A cigar store Indian in Chicago is about the closest I've come to encountering a traditional Indian headress;
The hat of a Buddhist monk begging in Tokyo conceals his face.
Traditionally dressed bridal couple (below) at the Japanese Imperial Palace in Tokyo;
Formal procession at Tokyo's Imperial Palace.
A rabbi studies wearing the traditional Jewish yarmulke (skullcap) - Chicago, ca. 1979;
Catholic nun working in the Vatican souvenier shop, 1973.
Tokyo subway passenger (below) makes sure he doesn't lose his hat;
Chimney sweep in Chicago, ca. 1978 doesn't seem to be worried about losing his hat.
Early morning shift in a local Chicago bakery, ca. 1977; Cook on a floating restaurant near Bangkok.
Tokyo Red Light District:
Though it appears the women pictured (below) are nurses, this is definitely not an emergency room;
Down the street, this devil is checking his voicemail?!?
My old friend Betty Thomas takes a break from a photo shoot. She went on to play the Emmy Award winning role of Officer Lucy Bates on Hill Street Blues.
Chicago, ca. 1975
Performers are often identified by their head gear: Chicago, ca. 1977-79
That's it for today. Tune in next week for more of 'The Hat'!