Unnecessary Accesories: Animal Hats



As spring makes its clunky, graceless exit from winter, stuttering and stalling like an old diesel truck, we can say finally goodbye to those cumbersome woolen gloves, the tragic puffy coats, the pale skin and runny noses. Yes, it’s time to pack away the 10-degree memories of seasonal depression, and shutter the thoughts of moving somewhere else–preferably tropical and remote–with a beach made of white sand and a bar where the goblets of Mai Tais runneth over. And, if I have anything to do with it, there will be a mass bonfire to incinerate the most hideous trend of last season: animal hats… for adults.

You know what I’m talking about: the knit giraffe caps, the panda bears with paws at the end of long “arms” dangling from the wearer’s head, tigers that look like the victims of illicit stuffed animal poachings. These are items that, when described, sound perfectly well suited for, you know, an adorable little kid. Once past the age of ten, however, you start veering into dangerous territory with cutesy sartorial choices such as these.

Don’t get me wrong. It’s all well and good to have a treasure trove of porcelain dolls, superhero figurines and other childlike paraphernalia lying around your house as an adult (I’m being extremely generous here), but to wear your strange little fetish in public, voluntarily infantilizing yourself and removing all potential to be taken seriously by your peers, seems like social suicide. When passing a 29-year old woman on her way to work wearing a hat that looks as though Hello Kitty is vomiting her forth into the universe, I don’t think “powerhouse”; I think “single forever.” And trust me, as a single girl in New York City, you need to be stacking chips in your favor, not carelessly dropping them off the table.

I recall a trend in the late ‘90s – or at least something I had a teenage affinity for. When first learning how to snowboard, it was of the utmost importance that we buy boards, boots, and the requisite ridiculous accoutrement – felt dinosaur hats, in particular. Yes, we took to those mountains looking like awesome little gremlins, lame spikes protruding from our heads as we navigated blue diamonds, zoomed our way through fresh powder, and posed for the photos of our future embarrassment. But eventually there came a time when we outgrew our childish ways, choosing instead the “grownup” beanies of our boarding elders. With a funereal air, the dinosaur hats were placed in a bag, doomed to a thrift store fate. And as the years rolled on, we plowed forward into adulthood, the shame blotting out even the slightest hint of nostalgia.

And so I implore you, Adult Animal Hat Wearers, take your similarly silly bonnets and bury them deep. Not within your cupboards where you can find them a year from now and relive that winter of 2012, but nestled between the flames of the fire. And burn, baby burn. –Jenny Bahn

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