If you live in the US you've probably heard of the Hair Club for Men. Well, I give you the "Hat Club For Men" from long ago.

Poor little Howard longed for when he was old enough to wear a hat. Alas there were many tough years ahead (so to speak) before his pate would be covered with a masculine chapeau.

Click on image to see it larger.

The rites of passage of this particular Scandinavian group were written into their family history. Beanies after age 7, but seriously, no kid wanted to wear a beanie for too long so most went hatless. Upon their 14th birthday they were taken shopping by an elder uncle who would make hat suggestions, mostly through grunts and nods, until the boy, almost a man, had made a decent choice.

Caps were frowned upon, but after much gossip amongst family members, the cap wearer was usually given a reluctant "okie dokie" and left alone.

Howard did not want a cap. He had his eye on a light beige felt hat with a deep blue ribbon band. His mother warned him not to get his heart set on it because fashion was fickle and the hat might be gone before he reached the Age of Chapeau.

Secretly Howard would ride his bike past Burford's Hat Shop each day on his way home from school. He would stop and stare at the hat, dreaming of the day he became a hat wearing man.

Alas, by the time Howard was of age he shocked everyone by choosing a cowboy hat. The family began regretting their immigration.

The truth is that these are indeed Scandinavian fellas, but I think their gathering had nothing to do with hats. The fella on the far right is Alfred Kallman who has been the subject of many past posts (here, here, and here).


  1. Wonderful micro-story! I have a hat label for photographs like this in my blog. It fascinates me that men could have such a variety of fashions in headgear. Were there "rules" for when to put away wool and break out the straw? In Britain I know that caps, bowlers, top hats, etc. had strong class and regional distinctions. I'm sure they were similar in the US too. Recently I noticed that hats of the kind my grandfather wore c1940-50 have become the hat of choice for the truly hip young men.

  2. I still have a hat that belonged to my grandfather. An old felt hat from the 1940s. I took the inner band out of it a long time ago and stuck it in a drawer. For years I kept the hat at the family cabin to wear when I was hiking. Now I use it the winter when I walk down the road for the mail. I have photos of my grandfather wearing it. On the other hand the only hats my father wore were ones part of his Naval uniform. Those are packed away somewhere in the attic. My friends grandson now loves to wear his grandpa's baseball caps when he comes to visit. There's just something about hats.