The Return of the Bowler Hat

So I got the sack this week. That’s right. Unemployed.

I’m OK with it. In fact, I wouldn’t bring it up at all except that it, my current joblessness, has led me to discover a new passion – local news talk shows.

I can’t get enough!

I love the  low-quality, low-rent-ness of them. There’s a lot of flubbing of lines, private jokes between the hosts, weird topics, interviews with authors of terrible books (usually books for kids that have something to do with butterflies or snow angels), fashion segments with horrendous or boring fashion (I saw two such segments during my first week of watching alone), opportunities to call in and win tickets to the Middle-Aged Dudes Sportsman Expo, etc., etc. to infinity.

Interestingly enough, one sees both a lot of cooking segments and a lot of exercise segments, which is enough to make anyone feel as if maybe they are suffering from, I don’t know, schizophrenia. Eat. Don’t eat. Eat. Don’t eat. Exercise. Eat. One minute they will be doing a segment on bacon cheeseburger meat loaf and then they’ll be talking about circuit training.

I can see where this could lead me. The hole is deep and dark and it may not end until the white, hot center of the earth.

And yet I can’t stop playing with fire. Could you? It’s a cold January afternoon, the wind is blowing, you don’t have a job but you do have lots of tea to drink and a warm blanket on the couch and then… then… you just flip on the TV, just to see, you know… You don’t even have cable, so it’s not like there are a ton of choices. And there it is again, that weird afternoon talk show hosted by a manchild with a chest shaped like a wooden barrel used in the 1600s to transport rum out of the Caribbean and a hostess with terrible dark roots showing in her faux blond hair and a blah sort of face who likes to talk about her love of hosting parties…

It takes you into its arms and suckles you. You are NOT a freak. You are not the biggest loser out there. You will find another job and go back to the world of the living but these people, these poor people and the live audience that somehow, amazingly and against all odds, wants to see the show live, wants to experience it in person… these people are stuck. You are but a visitor.

So, anyway…

On the first fashion segment I saw this week, the topic was “What’s Next In Fashion?” and the guests were two sisters who started their own retail store in the very outer suburbs or a small town that is only open one weekend a month. You know those kinds of businesses? They first cropped up, in Minneapolis anyway, as stores that sold knock-off purses. They’d be open one weekend per month and the place would be mobbed with women.

These two sisters… they seemed like good, well-meaning people. But their merch was crap. I mean, they admitted it’s cheap, trendy stuff women can buy even in a down economy. If it was New York, they might have a cart on the sidewalk. They sell gaudy necklaces, enormous, tacky purses shot through with spikes and bolts, clothes that have a lot of spandex. Not trashy stuff, necessarily. Not, like, “I’m goin’ up to da club to booty dance.” More like, “I’m having my Girls Night Out in Blaine and we’re going to Woody’s Bar and Grill and I’m going to drink six Bud Lites. Like my top?”

The sisters declared that skinny jeans are over. You can get rid of those now (the hostess suggested tucking them away because, you know, everything comes back and in ten years you’ll be itching to unfurl those babies from your closet) and get wider-leg jeans with a flare at the bottom. I don’t know if they meant boot cut or bell bottom. Also, any clothing that’s drapey, slouchy, stretchy, etc. is a safe bet. One of the sisters was wearing an enormous cowl-necked t-shirt/sweater thing in an unflattering teal.

Necklaces – the garbage-strewn, art statement necklaces are out. In? Faux pearls! And stuff that looks like lace around your neck.

But the best part was when they talked about hats. What’s in for hats? Fedoras! They had a bunch of fedoras that were covered in sequins, made of plaid, one that was white… Now, I’m not going to contradict the power and allure of a fedora. I think that if you can pull one off, more power to you. But are you sure you’re in that category? I know of a woman who is quite fond of herself in a fedora and she looks foolish.

At this point the male host, Barrel Chest, broke in to say that he can really see the influence of hip hop on clothing. He pointed to the sequined fedora and said the word “bling.” And when he said “hip hop” it was very staccato. You know what I mean? Hip. Hop. Punctuated as if it’s two words. No flow.

And here’s where I started to wonder if maybe everything they were suggesting we wear, these two sisters from the hinterlands, should perhaps be avoided. Because when a fashion trend has trickled down that far, when it’s reached the mud puddle at the bottom of the hill and become stagnant water that smells like mold and bad breathe… well, you have to really question yourself about whether or not you need to be listening.

Then the sisters announced the return, the reprisal, of the bowler hat.

Oh, really?

cabaret bowler hat
Let’s think about this one. I’m not saying… I mean, far be it from me to say that someone can’t wear a bowler hat, even if that someone is a 44-year-old office manager in Blaine who’s out for Girls Night at Woody’s Bar & Grill. But you’ve got to own it. No half measures. Don’t look like you’re trying too hard to be “on trend.” For God’s sake, don’t wear it with your seven strands of faux pearls. And if your body is a lot wider than your bowler… it’s ill advised to wear one.

Here, just take a look. This is what a bowler can do for someone, when it’s done right.


sienna_miller bowler

william harry bowler


Clockwork Orange Bowler Hat

madonna (1)

Do you have what it takes?