Summer Hats for Summer Sounds


The link between hats and popular music is inextricable if not well-documented. Frank Sinatra had the trilby he left beside his Jack Daniels with ice. Swinging Brian Jones wore big, fancy hats before the inevitable happened in 1969.
Bendy Ben
In the 1980s, bendy Ben Volpeliere-Pierrot of Curiosity Killed the Cat stunned audiences with his back-to-front fisherman's cap, which is a good place to begin our exploration into  summer sounds and the hats that might complement them.

English sophisticated popular music
Age has not withered Curiosity's debut album Keep Your Distance nor custom staled its infinite variety. Julian Godfrey Brookhouse, Michael Drummond, Ben Volpeliere-Pierrot and Nicholas Bernard Thorp created a timeless album of jazzy English sophisti-pop. Music that would fit into many a summer yacht rock compilation. (I heartily recommend AOR Disco for excellent yacht rock compilations.)


Keep Your Distance has good music tightly produced by Stewart Levine. Keep Your Distance has lasted the distance. Red Lights might be the standout track and the most summery. Here we see a very relaxed live performance in high summer tempo:



Ben was perspicacious enough to adopt a timeless piece of headgear in choosing the fisherman's cap. Lock and Co. do a decent fisherman's cap — or Breton cap or barge cap, name it what you will — with their navy cotton Summer Skipper cap (below).


The Skipper is a triumph for a coast-bound summer. The cap has the braiding and buttons across the peak that we should expect of a cap of this style.


Do you know something else? I don't want to break taboos here, but sports socks with sensible Northampton shoes and rolled up white jeans: I like. Add a Guards Belt from Equus and navy button-down shirt and everything is almost well with the world.


Jeanette - L'amour Joue au Violon

L'Amour Joue au Violon by Spanish singer Jeanette was released in 1977 — the same year as The Spy Who Loved Me. One can easily imagine the Bond girls from the film, Caroline Munro and Barbara Bach, enjoying this music at a beach party thrown by dear Roger Moore — daiquiris in hand, their bikini-clad hips gently swaying to the rhythm in poised contrapposto.



Poised contrapposto
If you are hoping to join a similarly smashing beach party this summer, the Colonial - Fine Weave llano - Rollable from Pachacuti becomes our preferred choice of hat to sway in.


Recognisable from its center crease, the colonial (or optimo) is the original roll-up Panama hat style beloved of our better dignitaries.

The hat is made in Ecuador with a tight herringbone llano (flat) weave.





Bridget St. John - Ask Me No Questions

English folk singer Bridget St John's Ask Me No Questions has the background sounds of church bells and birdsong we have come to expect from our mellower summer songs. Schedule this song next to the very English sounds of Virginia Astley and the Elysian airs of Pink Floyd's Grantchester Meadows.



As you will have guessed, the song calls for a Saturno hat. I promised I would look into Saturno hats after we featured Lawrence of Felt.

The Saturno hat — also known as cappelo romano or Roman hat — is a hat traditionally worn by the Catholic clergy. The Saturno is made from fur felt, beaver or straw. The Pope may wear a red one, the lower clergy might wear black or white.

I seem to remember a red one being worn in Borowczyk's infamous Contes Immoraux. Jude Law wears a white one in Sorrentino's superb The Young Pope.


I suppose you could wear whatever colour you please in your civvies, but we wouldn't want to tread on the toes of tradition — probably best to avoid red.

A Saturno may be ordered in the UK through North East Church Supplies who also supply cords and tassels for the hats.

Most, if not all, Saturno makers are in Italy. One of the best Saturnos is made by Gammarelli of Rome. You might know Gammarelli, makers of Christian vestments since 1798,  for their wonderful socks.

Gammarelli make Saturno hats in white and black, but they can make them in other colours on request. Here we see the white verison with that unmistakable wide brim to protect from the summer sun.






Tennis - Mean Streets

Patrick Riley and Alaina Moore are a musically-gifted married couple from Denver, US, who formed the band Tennis in 2010. I believe they enjoy sailing in their spare time. Wholesome types we can get behind.

Means Streets is a lovely song to add to any summer playlist:



I have listened to the song on loop several times now, and time and again I am seeing the pith helmet. Perhaps you're the same? It could be the guitar melodies. For an excellent pith helmet we return to Lock & Co. (top photo and below).
Bring back the pith helmet!
Made from plant tissue (pith) or cork, a pith helmet is light and excellent at sun protection because of the shape and the materials used. I don't know why these extremely practical hats aren't more popular in summer.

Based on a traditional pith helmet style, the Lock pith helmet is made from cork covered with cotton. The helmet has some handsome details. We can see a traditional puggarree and leather chinstrap, and to the side of the crown we see welcome air vents.


The pith helmet looks excellent with a summer suit, but it's worth experimenting with casual dress. A friend of mine swears by his when he visits the wilds of Italy.

My friend is a rarefied creature, so he won't be happy, but dear hipsters: bring back the pith helmet! (Rhino whip optional.)

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