Political and fashion lore has it that by not wearing a hat on inauguration day, John F. Kennedy killed the haberdashery industry. From then on, American men stopped wearing hats. While JFK and his fashion-conscious wife certainly influenced American style, I suspect the growing dominance of the automobile in our culture did more to hasten the end of the hat than Jack and Jackie.
As we approach Inauguration Day 2009, there’s renewed hope for us hat fanciers. President-elect Obama has been wearing his Chicago White Sox cap regularly since the Nov. 4 election, and he wore it while campaigning. That’s commitment. It’s not reasonable to expect that he’ll be sworn in wearing a baseball cap, but one can always hope.