Straw Hat Day


For decades, every May would see men’s clothing stores advertising their line
of new straw hats. Here, for example, is a vintage ad for Huntington’s
George H. Wright and Co. Note that the long-time men’s
 store was then located at the Adelphia Hotel.


Back in the day when no well-dressed gentleman would venture out
of the house without a hat on his head, May 15 wasn’t just another
date on the calendar. It was Straw Hat Day — the long-
awaited day when it was time to trade one’s felt or
 wool hat for one fashioned from straw.

The beginnings of this special day are obscure.

In truth, the preference for wearing straw hats in warm weather
began as long ago as the Middle Ages. In this country
 Panama hats rose to fame when photographers
 snapped a picture of President Theodore
Roosevelt in a light-hued suit
and a crisp Panama hat.

A 1908 New York Times editorial fulminated
against those wearingth of May do not
justify the appearance of straw hats.”

The newspaper article suggested a rather folksy way for determining
when to wear a straw hat. “The straw hat properly comes in
with the strawberry. All our strawberries as yet come
 from the South, and it would be reasonable for
 the rushers of the Northern season to go
South to wear their straw hats.”

It would follow that, if there is a proper day to get out one’s
straw hats for the season, there would be another day to
 put them back in the closet. Thus, Sept. 15 has been
deemed Felt Hat Day, an appropriate time
to brush off your black or gray fedora
for another long winter of service.


Note:  This Article and picture appeared in the Herald-Dispatch Newspaper on May 03, 2022..


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