Man wearing a boater hat and bow tie

Boater Hats, Bow Ties, and Politics

Man wearing a boater hat and bow tie

Man wearing a boater hat and bow tie at Donald Trump primary rally in New Hampshire during 2016 Presidential Election. Courtesy ABC’s Jimmy Kimmel Live.

The other night I was watching Jimmy Kimmel Live on ABC when the show featured Jake Byrd, who crashed a Donald Trump New Hampshire primary rally.

Most of the time it seems these days, other than a candidate and their squad, the vast majority of people attending a political rally are wearing casual clothes. However, the show interviewed one man who was wearing a suit accompanied by a bow tie and boater hat. He dressed up to participate in the electoral process; perhaps he’s part of the bow tie caucus. Regardless, his attire suggests that he takes his civic duty seriously.

Leaving partisan politics aside while also not commenting on the fact that this gentleman supports The Donald (either you love him or hate him as a presidential candidate, and that’s out of the purview of this blog), let’s admire his decision to don the boater hat as a bow tie accessory.

Stetson Hats

Stetson Hats (Source: Vintage Dancer)

Traditionally, the boater hat is fairly formal spring and summer attire despite its casual past. I would expect to see them — along with a seersucker suit, white buck shoes, madras sport coat, khakis, or other garments that are light, bold, and bright — at a formal garden party, Kentucky Derby shindig, barbershop quartet concert, high class Ivy League pastime occasion, or gathering after church in the South. That’s why they go well with bow ties. The neckwear is popular at such events.

Thus, it was surprising to see a bloke wearing a boater hat during February in snowy and arctic New Hampshire. However, while it may seem like a bit early to sport such a hat, political events are also times when this headwear is worn by men. In fact, Wikipedia notes that they’re seen at many American political rallies — like the one our bloke attended. In fact, it’s a bipartisan fashion statement popular in politics; Wikipedia notes their appearance at the 2004 Democratic National Convention as well as the Republican National Convention in 1954 and 1988 just as examples.

Political junkies — like other types of bow tie wearers — usually have rather strong parts of their personalities. So, this gentleman’s look worked even if it was a tad bit cold for a straw hat. Besides, he probably feels the same way as Howard who has said, “This is just how I like to wear mine. It makes me feel good. It projects my personality… Wear them how you bloody well like.”