Mad Hatters

Boys at Eton’s ‘4th June’ in with their decorated boaters prepare for the 2011 Procession of Boats.

Tim Koch writes:

Yesterday, the 15 May, was ‘Straw Hat Day’, the date when men traditionally put away their felt hats (which they had donned on 15 September, ‘Felt Hat Day’) and put on their straw hat(s) for the warmer weather. This ‘rule’ was only recognised in North American, I do not think it was known in Britain where men made their own judgements. Indeed, so seriously was it once taken in the United States that non-observance caused a three day riot in New York in 1922 and in 1925 The New York Times ran a headline “Discard Date for Straw Hats Ignored by President Coolidge” when he wore ‘straw’ four days into ‘felt’ time. I suppose the modern equivalents would be ‘Baseball Cap Day’ for the summer and ‘Knitted Cap Day’ for the winter. Current etiquette seems to be that, while the baseball cap is never actually removed, it should be turned the correct way around for all formal occasions.*

Henley 2013. Straw Hat Day marks 47 days until Henley 2014.

*(Including indoors in fancy restaurants – editor’s remark.)

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