Today’s Best Thing

07 February 2011 | 0 comments

Today we’re all being intrigued by the Straw Hat Riots of 1922. There are details in this New York Times article, but in essence: in the early twentieth century, the straw hat season officially ended on 15 September. And on that night, in 1922, mobs of fashion-forward youths stormed through the streets of New York, smashing the unseasonable hats of any passers-by who hadn’t yet switched to felt. Particularly diligent hat-grabbers even used the hats to start bonfires.

Seven of the rioters were brought to court, and defended themselves on the grounds that “Sept. 15 is the last day of the straw hat season [and] they had the right to declare open season on straw hats on other persons’ heads”.  Magistrate Hatting, who oversaw the case, disagreed: “it is against the law to smash a man’s hat, and he has the right to wear it in a January snowstorm if he wishes”.

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