Fashion trends come and go, but how often do we attribute this to major transportation shifts?
NPR recently explored the possibility that the decline in men wearing hats in the 1950’s was due a shift from travel by train and trolley to private automobile during Eisenhower’s presidency. Sounds crazy right? Listen to the reasoning in this brief excerpt:
A person of average height standing in a bus, tram or subway car has, roughly, three feet between the top of his head and the roof.
If he chooses to wear a hat, (which depending on the hat can extend his height 3 to 18 inches), there is still lots of room above him. So he keeps his hat on.
Now imagine the same person, sitting in the drivers’ seat of his car. The Head-To-Roof distance is much narrower, so narrow that to stay comfortable, a man would feel it proper to remove his hat.
Are these men not wearing hats because they travel by car? Photo credit: spelio
The article says that before mass automobile travel, men had little reason to take off their hats throughout their day but that due to limited head room in cars, hats just increasingly became a nuisance and were removed while driving.
Are you convinced? The full article is well worth a read.