They say that there’s a hat for every person.
Hats play a key role in some of the most iconic movies of our time, often playing the role of costume and prop simultaneously.
Whether it’s a broad-rimmed fedora, a tightly knitted beanie or simply a classic trilby; a piece of headgear can be crucial to intimating a particular era, theme or sense of character. Part of the reason why us everyday folk have such trouble with picking out a particular hat is that so many of them have been claimed by iconic movie characters and to pull on one of these items is almost like dressing up in their image.
Before you take the plunge and grab your first one, take a little perusal of some of my favourites and consider if you really want to align yourself with these particular characters:
Indiana Jones’ Fedora
It takes a brave person to pull on a fedora before leaving the house. For decades this hat has been inextricably linked with George Lucas’ Indiana Jones, played with rogueish charm by Harrison Ford. The character was created as a homage to the adventuring heroes of the 30s, with the events of the Indiana Jones movies taking place between 1912 and 1957, a time when a hat was an essential part of a man’s wardrobe, rather than just an accessory.
When should I wear it? Just don’t. Unless you’re going on an archaeological dig or taking a trip into the desert; a fedora has no place in your wardrobe.
Robert Angier’s Top Hat
The Prestige is one of Christopher Nolan’s less talked about movies. Made in between his sleeper hit Batman Begins and the record-breaking The Dark Knight, it tells the story of two stage musicians in the 19th century competing to create the most dazzling illusions. Their ongoing feud leads both men down dark paths in order to achieve their goals, leaving a trail of tragedy in their wake. Aristocratic magician, Robert Angier’s top hat symbolises both his class and also plays a part in revealing the dark sacrifice that his character makes for the sake of his show.
When should I wear it? Are you going to a 19th century ball or an Edwardian tea-party any time soon? Didn’t think so – leave this one in the shop.
Steve Zissou’s Red Bobble Hat
A basket of bright red winter pom pom hats sits in the corner of Steve Zissou’s ramshackle bedroom; like the Speedos and custom made Adidas Roms, these quirky items are essential pieces of uniform for the crew of the Belafonte, the eponymous character’s exploration vessel in Wes Anderson’s The Life Aquatic. These little touches are what makes Anderson’s movies so distinctive, they communicate to the audience the superfluous level of Zissou’s success, allowing us to see how far he has truly fallen from those halcyon days of merchandising deals and television shows.
When should I wear it? A cold winter’s day, a trip into town – this is a low-key piece of headgear that can be worn without drawing too much attention.
Godric Gryffindor’s Sorting Hat
It’s rare that a hat has it’s own lines in film, let alone plays a key role in the action, but such is the case for the Sorting Hat in J. K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series. Voiced with rambunctious entitlement by British veteran actor Leslie Phillips, the Sorting Hat is worn by every major student character in the film series, deciding which house that they will be aligned with for the entirety of their stay at Hogwarts. Besides this initiation ritual, the Hat comes to the aid of the students in a number of surprising ways, proving to be more than just an accessory.
When should I wear it? This would be an odd choice of headgear even if you were heading to a Potter convention. However, a replica could sit well on a plinth in your hallway…if you’re that way inclined.