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'Hatless Jack' Tracks the Demise of the Fedora

Neil Steinberg's book tracks a declining interest in men's formal headgear, a trend helped along by John F. Kennedy.
Neil Steinberg's book tracks a declining interest in men's formal headgear, a trend helped along by John F. Kennedy.

American men do not wear hats the way they used to, when headgear was considered as necessary as shoes. Hatless has become proper on formal and social occasions. But when did the trend begin?

One popular assumption is that American men stopped wearing hats after John F. Kennedy didn't wear a hat to his inaugural in 1961. But it's not necessarily so, as author Neil Steinberg tells NPR's Scott Simon.

Steinberg, a Chicago Sun-Times columnist, gets to the bottom of the debate over lids with his book Hatless Jack: The President, the Fedora and the History of an American Style.

Copyright 2023 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Scott Simon is one of America's most admired writers and broadcasters. He is the host of Weekend Edition Saturday and is one of the hosts of NPR's morning news podcast Up First. He has reported from all fifty states, five continents, and ten wars, from El Salvador to Sarajevo to Afghanistan and Iraq. His books have chronicled character and characters, in war and peace, sports and art, tragedy and comedy.
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