NATIONAL HAT DAY
Hang on to your hats and celebrate in style on National Hat Day. Celebrated each year on January 15th, don your favorite fedora, cap, cloche, derby, or sunhat. Dig out your ceremonial best and tell the story behind it. Wear your warmest tuque, stocking cap, beanie, and share the name you give it. There are so many hats, fashions, and names we give them. Certainly, we could wear a hat a day and never get through them all.
We wear hats for numerous reasons. Many hats protect us from elements or harm. Others were worn for ceremonial or religious reasons. Some hats just make us look good or cover up what we think doesn’t. Through the centuries, we’ve given our hats a lot of meaning.
- In the Middle Ages, hats indicated social status.
- In the military, hats may denote one’s nationality, branch of service, rank, and/or regiment.
- A Thebes tomb painting depicts one of the first pictorials of a hat. The painting shows a man wearing a conical straw hat.
- Structured hats for women began to be worn in the late 16th century.
- Millinery is the designing and manufacture of hats.
- The term “milliner” is derived from the city of Milan, Italy. The best quality hats were made in Milan in the 18th century.
- Millinery traditionally began as a woman’s occupation, as the milliner created hats and bonnets and chose lace, trim, and accessories to complete any outfit.
- In the mid-1920s, to replace the bonnets and wide-brimmed hats, women began to wear smaller hats that hugged their heads.
Depending on where you live, if you are outside in the middle of a cold January, you may definitely want to wear a hat on National Hat Day!
HOW TO OBSERVE NATIONAL HAT DAY
Wear your favorite hat on National Hat Day. Celebrate an era or an occupation. Learn the history of a particular hat or try making a paper hat.
Be sure to wear a hat and use #NationalHatDay to post on social media.
Educators, visit the National Day Calendar® Classroom for lessons designed around National Hat Day.
If you’d like to learn more about hats, read 10 Iconic Hats From Pop Culture.
NATIONAL HAT DAY HISTORY
Since at least 1983, schools, libraries, and museums have observed National Hat Day has been observed in libraries, schools, and museums. They invited students and patrons to wear their favorite hats or hats of their occupation. People of all ages show up in pirate hats and football helmets. Patrol officers, postal workers, restaurant servicers also wear their hats to various events. That date also commemorates the day in 1797 when the first top hat made its appearance in court. Created by haberdasher John Hetherington, the judge claimed the tall hat, rather prominent hat disturbed the public.
Q. When did hats become less fashionable?
A. Before the 1950s, men and women wore hats as much for a fashion statement as for protection and warmth. However, several possible reasons that faded the hat fad include:
- Improved technology – Heating buildings became more efficient and effective reducing the need for a hat indoors.
- Freedom – During World War II, hats were part of many uniforms including the military. When service members returned home, they ditched the hat with the uniform.
- Transportation – Before affordable transportation and smooth roads crossed the country, most people rode public transportation or walked. With the increased popularity of the automobile came decreased headroom for hats.
- Hairstyles – Especially for women, hats covered big, fancy hairstyles.
- Hatless public figures – One notable figure who may have started a lasting trend was President John F. Kennedy.