It’s a cold, cold world out there and it’s about to get colder. Yes, winter is upon us.
Scarves have been out since early September. The holdout gauzy, summery numbers have finally faded away like the sunsets and blue skies they mimic. It’s now time to put away those flimsy childhood things and take out classic wool scarves in herringbone tweed, chunky loose-knit neckwear you found on Etsy but pretend you made yourself, or perhaps thos heather American Apparel circle scarves. (The circle scarf, by the way, may be called a snood, which I highly recommend because there are few words in current circulation with such verve and robustness).
For several weeks now, down coats have also been popping up—or rather poofing up—on the backs of students from south of the Mason-Dixon Line and California. But as temperatures drop, even hearty New Englanders will start to bundle themselves in goose feathers and synthetic fabrics.
If you find yourself wearing the once ubiquitous North Face fleece, please return it to your seventh grade self.
Now that it is getting really frigid, we get to see that winter accessory that really tells all: the hat. If you opt for fuzzy earmuffs, the 1940s called and want them back.
If you’re wearing an ironic fedora, observe my eye roll. And if you’re wearing a plaid and faux fur trapper hat, don’t. Just don’t.
Lest you think that I disapprove of all hats, there are some looks I’ve seen so far this hat season that left me with that warm and fuzzy feeling. There was the sumptuous and oh-so-fluffy cap bursting with pom-poms and fluorescent colors that recalled what Los Angeles might look like if it had a winter.
One President Mills was spotted strolling home on a recent chilly evening looking very much like Cary Grant and vaguely recalling Winston Churchill in his dapper homburg, the hat of choice for those two stylish gents. You might think Mills’s elegant topper has nothing in common with that trippy neon beanie, but you would be wrong.
Yes, they are hats as different as the svelte Mr. Grant and the rather zaftig Mr. Churchill, but they share something important: they make a statement by being unexpected.
Because we are not in the brightly-tinted urban sprawl of Los Angeles, nor in a psychedelic chalet with Peter Sellers, nor (unfortunately) fumbling through the cigar smoke and fog of London in the forties, those hats caught me by surprise. That they seem out of place makes them exciting and noteworthy.
I realize that many Bowdoin students—especially those young ladies with “naturally” blond, pin-straight locks they cannot resist showing off—do not wear hats. Although this gaggle of gals likes to think of themselves as our campus trendsetters, they’re more than a little delusional. Hats are not passé.
I can’t say that hats are due for a comeback because they never really went away. But they have gotten boring and awfully predictable.
This winter, let’s bring back bold hats. Black fleece beanies aren’t just inherently ugly—they’re tired and lackluster too.
Think of Diane Keaton and her menagerie of bowler hats, or Brad Pitt in his oversized slouchy beanies, or even Aretha Franklin’s indomitable inauguration crown.
Make inspired hat choices. Be incongruous.
But remember, no matter how cold your ears may get, no trapper hats. Leave those to the Canadians.