WSJ Helps Hipsters With Hat Etiquette

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America's recently-crowned largest circulation newspaper, The Wall Street Journal, has largely succeeded at rebranding itself as more than just the business-minded alternative to The New York Times. Under Rupert Murdoch, the Journal has bulked up the arts section, added an accessible and colorful design layout, hired sports-beat writers and is going toe-to-toe with the Times on New York area news coverage.

But despite the paper's face lift, it still maintains a reputation as the businessman's first read. A reputation that it continually grapples with as it tries to appeal to a wider, and more youthful, audience.

A wonderful illustration of this intersection of interests comes in a culture article by Ray Smith. The subject? Contemporary hat etiquette. In a valiant effort to bridge the generational gap, Smith highlights hipsters who "grew up without learning hat-wearing etiquette from their fathers":

In the 1930s, '40s, and parts of the '50s, a man wasn't considered fully dressed unless he had a hat on. But by the 1960s, hat wearing fell off, partly as a result of longer hairstyles, cars with lower roofs and resistance from some World War II vets who didn't want to wear things on their heads after wearing helmets for so long.

And explains how today's aspiring hipsters entered into hat culture without proper guideposts:

Today, confusion over the rules of hat wearing is leading to some awkward situations. Eric Soler of Hackensack, N.J., took offense when he tried to enter a bar in Hoboken recently with a fedora atop his head, only to be told there was a no-hat policy. "It just floored me," says the 38-year-old. "I said 'I'm not wearing a baseball cap or a ski hat, I'm wearing an $80 fedora!' He grudgingly obliged and held the hat in his hand all night.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.