05 March 2011

Internationalism

Consider all the tiny city/states that Europe was once comprised of...a vast array of tiny nations, with distinct cultures and myriad variations of language. There's something incredible in the fact that despite current boundaries and governments, places like Flanders, Alsace, Walonia, the Basque country and Tyrol still exist..sort of. I'm glad of it, because I can relate to whatever it is that makes people continue to preserve a heritage that the rest of the world tries hard to erase. Maybe that's what draws me to this hat:
Recently purchased from Orvis, made in Germany, it's a style of hat native to the Alps, popular in Tyrol. Tyrol is cool, being kind of Italian, kind of Austrian, and kind of neither. They drink beer, but they also drink Italian style red wine. They eat Speck, which is like prosciutto, only smoked, and Bresaola, beef seasoned with salt, bay leaf and juniper berries, then air-cured...both delicious if you can find them. They even manage to preserve a particularly Tyrolean language known as Ladino, an amazing feat in modern times. And they wear these hats, which are just plain cool, if you're so inclined to attempt to pull it off. I dig it, and I'm going to go ahead and use my Northern Italian heritage as an excuse to wear what a friend dubbed my "Pinocchio hat".
The final touch is achieved with this vintage Austrian hat pin, the generous gift of none other than Charlie Davidson of the Andover Shop. Back in the early sixties, when the Harvard Square Oktoberfest actually saw men in liederhosen dining on knock wurst and sauerkraut and girls dressed as serving wenches serving Wurzburger and Paulaner in lidded steins, he used to sell these.  If you need further convincing to purchase one of these hats, Charlie has consigned his entire collection of vintage hat pins with An Affordable Wardrobe , soon to be available in the shop. How can you resist?
If you think it will be difficult to actually go out and about in the USA wearing such a thing, not being an old Alpine gent with a formidable moustache, I completely understand. But consider how well it works with a Brooks Brothers shirts and repp tie from long gone men's clothiers Judd of Swampscott, Massachusetts, both quintessentially American, a Scottish Shetland sweater, and an English Barbour jacket, punctuated with an Italian Tri-Color enamel pin. If we consider the Chinese provenance of my socks and belt, then I've successfully spanned the globe with this one.

20 comments:

Sheik of Araby said...

Hoo boy. I think the anonymice are going to eat you alive for this one. I like it, however, and fully condone the wearing of such hats as long as it leads to lusty consumption of German beer, the wearing of Imperial moustaches, and the playing of Alpenhorns.

Giuseppe said...

Reee-co-laaaa!

Bring it on!

Sandra said...

These tiny cultures have kept themselves mostly in-tact by remaining wary or trends, skeptical of outsiders (and their offers), and they keep resources local. Even Switzerland was blasted by the EU for one of their Ambassadors suggesting that by importing "visitors" (tourists) more often than "settlers", they were able to preserve their culture. By modern sensibilities, this was a wildly unpopular suggestion. It all takes a certainty of self and a lack of preoccupation for what others may think.

As for the hat, I bought one in an overpriced hunting shop in the heart of Stockholm years ago, and I wear it flyfishing with my father. The adornments are all trout-flies and the occasional found feather. I think of it as a nod to the German "settlers" of my ancestors.

Anonymous said...

I wear a beret all the time. This is a bit classier.

mistermidwester said...

I found one of these last year and I saw them referred to a lot as "Trenker" hats (after the film star Luis Trenker).

When I put mine on, my wife will make a Von Trapp family reference without hesitation, or just break into, "My Favorite Things."

Jho78 said...

I like it. Or, if you prefer, auf Deutsch: Jawohl, mein Herr!

Sean said...

My wife's old landlord wore one of those Tyrolean hats- he was a creep, so they are tainted in my eyes.

In other news, here in Seattle I saw a guy on Friday who looked like he was taking all his style notes from your blog. He looked sharp, too.

Mick said...

Giuseppe,

Given the origins of the Barbour coat, that "Italian" tricolour is almost certainly the Irish tricolour of green white and gold.

Cheers,

Mick.

Giuseppe said...

Don't be silly, MIck. That's my own old pin from before. This is the third coat I've worn it on.

I'm an Italian kid...I know the difference, trust me.

Roger said...

These turn up quite regularly on the flea markets here (South Netherlands) and sell well too. I've seen them in brown as well as green, but the green looks more authentic.

My next-door neighbour is from Munchen and he has one of these hats and,just like your friend mentioned, people have shouted Pinocchio!

Mr. Sidetable said...

Nice hat! In the Midwest, where I grew up, there are a lot of people of German extraction, and such hats aren't so uncommon.

But I hope that people in Harvard Square back in theday were wearing lederhosen (traditional Bavarian leather pants), not liederhosen (songs pants).

Young Fogey said...

Holy. Freaking. Cow.

I love proper men's hats. I wear a hat nearly every day, and would love to expand my collection. I've seen vintage illustrations (perhaps from Esquire and/or Apparel Arts--I don't know) showing men wearing Alpine hats casually (i.e., with a tie and a sport coat, at the track or someplace like that). I've even considered getting one in gray.

But I'm not sure I would ever wear it outside of Oktoberfest. Which is a shame; they're nice hats.

You knocked it out of the park.

And you've got a pair as big as ADG's. But I expect nothing less from people who wear pants that stun small animals at 50 paces.

Unclelooney said...

Like Mr. Side table, I too remember when such hats weren't uncommon.


Also; watch or read THE CROSS AND THE SWITCHBLADE. One of the street gangs all wear Alpine hats and Italian shoes.

Mike said...

G: I recommend my last year's post:

http://inner-city-style.blogspot.com/search/label/Gottfried%20Sch%C3%A4tz

Cheers
Mike of Inner-City-Style

T said...

the whole kit strikes me as somewhat...moddish in a way. I mean, it's not a porkpie hat, but the lines are blurred.

KnitXcorE said...

the greatest hat i have ever seen.

Keohane said...

I'm going to have to be the lone dissenting vote. Hats are a bit of a minefield because while they can look sharp as hell, they can come across as affected or costume-y. The trick is to avoid wearing ones that prompt the initial impression, "There's a man wearing a hat," as opposed to, "There's a goddamn well-dressed man." I think this particular lid sucks all the oxygen out of the rest of your rig.

Giuseppe said...

Keohane,

Next time you talk to Pasquale, ask him about his "sexy gnome" theory.

Anonymous said...

Reading your blog I've always thought the same thing. Either the color settings on the camera are off (which would make all the colors look off) or you are wearing the Irish green white and orange. Not that I blame you ;)

Anonymous said...

The tie is also in the colours of the University of Wales - another country, or rather Principality - known for its strong cultural pride.