Loved and Loathed: The Straw Boater Hat, a history

Tragicocomedia

The following is a rather pointless essay I wrote in 2004 for an exercise on cultural artefacts during my Masters in Creative Writing. It may prove diverting if the paint is drying too slowly.

Loved and Loathed

The Straw Boater Hat

 

Introduction

The Boater hat is an item of clothing that has been both loved and hated. Throughout the hundred and fifty odd years that this style of hat has been in existence, it has been viewed at various times as a charming item of leisure wear for men and women, as an effete symbol of privilege as a compulsory article of school attire, and as jaunty accoutrement for barbershop quartets, vaudevillian performers and appreciators of haute couture. Now generally relegated to the status of a nostalgia item only sported on occasions such as the Henley Royal Regatta, the boater’s has been a curious journey which has seen the…

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