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A Brief Journey Through Hat History

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A Brief Journey Through Hat History

Post  roertbrookes on Sat Jun 25, 2011 5:20 pm

A Brief History of Hats

At its simplest, a hat is any garment worn on the head, whether for practical purposes or for protection from sun, weather, or cold. Hats have been used in many ways throughout history. They have been ornamental, used to denote a specific social status, used for practical purposes, and worn for artistic reasons. The forms and kinds of hats have had almost as much variance.

One of the oldest kinds of hats is the wide-brimmed straw hat. Probably worn to protect against the sun, these can easily be constructed by weaving straw, or by sewing straw braid in concentric circles. Because straw is readily available in agricultural areas, the straw hat probably followed almost as soon as humans started growing grain. It also has the advantage of being relatively easy to replace.

Most of the earliest hats were probably worn for protective reasons. However, it also probably didn't take long before they became decorative or symbolic. In ancient Greece and Rome, the Phrygian cap, a kind of pointed, curled skullcap, was awarded to freed slaves. Crowns, of course, signified royalty, and certain kinds of hats have often been used to denote priests and other clergy.


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