It’s Time to Take Back the Fedora

Ladies and gentlemen,

I’m here today to talk about an important problem. A problem that we, as a society, have ignored for too long. A problem that ranks among the greatest our nation has ever faced. I’m talking, of course, about the plight of the fedora.

The fedora was once a proud accessory. It was the hat of choice for fashionable ladies and cultured men. Hardboiled detectives and powerful gangsters wouldn’t be caught dead without one. Hollywood stars wore them on the silver screen with a cool indifference that oozed sex appeal. The fedora was an icon of culture and sophistication with hints of seductive danger. It was an icon of America.

But it fell out of fashion, as all styles do. While many were sad to see it go, it was best that it retired with a quiet dignity. If all had gone as intended we would be looking back at it today as a symbol of a sexy, tough and intriguing era.

Then something terrible happened. The fedora returned. Like a slumbering corpse disturbed by a malevolent necromancer, it rose from the grave as a twisted mockery of what it once was. Nobody thought much of it at first. “So what if a few frat bros are wearing fedoras? It’ll pass when they realise how stupid they look,” we told ourselves. Oh, how naïve we were.

Today we see fedoras worn by reality TV “stars” and sleazy musicians, by douchebags in their clubs and poseur wannabes in their coffee shops. The fedora has been taken over by a social class that thinks wearing a fedora will make them classy, instead of realising that classy people once wore fedoras.

If only that were all. The poor fedora, already suffering enough, has also been adopted by the polar opposite of the bros—the nerds. Once common enemies in teen comedies, these long-time foes have bonded over their shared love of headwear that makes them look creepy. The fedora can be found on the man-child trying and failing to appear sophisticated in a blurry dating profile picture that can’t disguise his bad facial hair and naked desperation. It can be found on the man whose primary passion in life is a cartoon for little girls. It can be found on the misogynist who swears he’s just “telling it like it is,” the man who thinks the fedora is the accessory of choice for the clever wit, the poor fellow who believes the fedora is a substitute for a personality. The fedora is worn by nerds who risk erasing the social acceptability nerd-kind has so recently gained.

And is that all? No! Gone are the simple black or grey fedoras of yesteryear. Today’s fedoras are plaid or checkered, are decorated with skulls or, God help us all, sequins. Some of today’s fedoras are made of straw. I can think of no greater blasphemy.

Well I say enough is enough. The modern fedora is not the brief fad we hoped it would be—it’s here to stay. But must we simply accept that? No! Must we let it destroy the legacy of a once proud and stylish accessory? No! Must we let it destroy our images, the images of us nerds and artists and party rockers who are proud of who we are, who have a basic sense of fashion and elementary social skills, yet who are unfairly grouped in with those who don’t? No! Today we take a stand, ladies and gentlemen! Today we fight back!

We are taught from an early age that we should treat others how we wish to be treated. We are taught that it is wrong to judge people. And this is true—woe to the small-minded man who judges another based on their gender or race, their religion or their politics. But we can judge people who wear fedoras. We can and we must.

If you know a friend or family member that wears a fedora, you must intervene. Don’t be afraid to be blunt—it’s the only kind of communication they understand. Explain to them that their hat is ruining both their life and yours. Show them example after example of the terrible human beings who wear fedoras until they get the message. Physically restrain them and burn their fedora in front of them if you must. It’s for the greater good. It may ruin your relationship, but one day they’ll understand. One day they’ll thank you.

It’s with strangers where the true war lies. A direct confrontation would only scare them, would drive them to affix their accursed headpieces upon their thick skulls with an even greater misguided aplomb. No, this front requires subtlety. Make jokes about fedoras when you know their owners can hear you. Shun them at social events. Don’t hold doors for them, don’t laugh at their jokes, don’t acknowledge their existence. Do anything and everything you can within the laws of society and reality to ostracise them. We must send the message that there is a problem, and that problem is their hat.

Brothers and sisters, this will not be an easy fight. We are dealing with a thick-headed foe that excels at blaming anyone but themselves for their ills and that lacks the ability to pick up on even the most basic social cues. You will suffer setbacks. You will be discouraged. You will, in your darkest hours, consider that maybe the state of the fedora isn’t that bad. You will want to surrender.

I won’t judge you. I’ve had those same thoughts myself. All I ask is that you consider one question. Do you want to live in a world where the fedora stops being associated with Humphrey Bogart and starts being associated with scrawny men sporting sex offender moustaches and the misguided belief that white males are being oppressed by a feminist dominated society? I thought not.

This will not be an easy fight, but it will be a fight worth fighting. Like many warriors, we may not live to see the fruits of our labours. But I believe that one day, if we work hard, our grandchildren will think of the fedora the way it should be thought of. They will think of Humphrey Bogart.

Thank you, and good luck.