Check your hat style & indicate what kind of person you are – just by simply wearing the hat style !
Clothing cue. 1. A highly expressive consumer product worn as a covering for the head. 2.Distinctively styled head garb with varied markings, colors, shapes, and fit, designed to communicate a wearer’s identity, gender, occupation, mood, andfavourite sport.
Usage: Because of their prominence and proximity to the face, hats make impressive statements about social status, affiliation, and personality (seeHAIR CUE). Indeed, whatever we place atop our 15-pound head–which looms conspicuously above our upright body for all to see–will be interpreted as nonverbal signs.
Observation. In hat stores, shoppers unwittingly reflect the strange power of head wear. After an uneasy smile, hats which fit the head but not the persona, are hastily removed. A proper hat, on the other hand, stays aboard and rides out of the store atop its new owner’s head. Self-conscious thoughts that “everyone is noticing” soon fade however (i.e., become old hat), as wearers assimilate the new personality.
Cap I. For men, wearing a baseball cap says: “I belong to a team.” Although caps display emblems of professional ball clubs, in a deeper sense the group they refer to is the generic association of men. Unlike women’s hats, which are designed to show individuality, men’s hats are part of a uniform to show membership on a team (thus explaining the generally standardized design of turbans, fedoras, fezzes, and military caps).
Cap II. Wearing a baseball cap (the biggest selling U.S. hat) helps a man feel “stronger.” On the isopraxic principle of “same behavior” (see REPTILIAN BRAIN), cap wearers draw strengtha. from nonverbal bonds to fellow cap-wearers, and b. from the psychic power of male bonding in team sports. There is no better sign for judging a man’s unspoken allegiances with other men than through the messaging features of his cap.
Cap III. The startling coloration of some sports caps not only makes them more noticeable than hair alone, but also carries a hidden warning message. Blotches and bright flashes of color resemble the markings of dangerous animals such as bees, hornets, and poisonous snakes. Bold stripes and jolting patterns of black, white, yellow, red, and orange (which in the animal kingdom carry aposematic warning messages aimed at predators) are as common in sports caps as in skunks, tigers, and poison-arrow frogs. The markings say, “Don’t tread on me–I am toxic, noxious, and bad.”
Brim. A hat brim suggests masculine “fierceness” by visually enlarging a man’s bony brow ridges, which are natural signs of strength in the male skull (though less prominent now than in Neanderthal times). Drawn down on the forehead, brims mimic eyebrows lowered in anger (as caricatured, e.g., by the cartoon character, “Yosemite Sam”; see FROWN). With its turned-down brim, the fedora worn by Humphrey Bogart made him look “meaner,” while its vertically ascending crown increased his standing height. (N.B.: Because a baseball cap lacks the fedora’s vertical stature,
some men reshape the rounded crown to produce a jaunty vertical riser in front; see HIGH-STAND DISPLAY. Young American men are self-conscious about the appearance of their cap’s brim shape, and strive for an insouciant curvilinear, rather than a senior’s flattened [i.e., unmodified], “stock” appearance.)
Media. Hats have become a form of mass media. “‘In the last seven years or so, licensed [sports] products as a whole started taking off and baseball caps became a fashion statement,’ explains Ron Meshil, chief operating officer of Manny’s Baseball Land, a sports merchandise store in Palm City, Fla” (Oldenburg 1995:D5).
Style. A woman’s hat, which shows style, individuality, and presence, can also suggest power and strength.
Cowboy hats and fedoras, among the best selling headware for women in the U.S., reflect allegiance to predominantly male “teams.” Alternatively, Floppy berets and Garbo slouch hats frame the face like soft-falling tresses of hair, to seem more appealing, approachable, and feminine.