Wearing A New Hat At JP Research

JP ResearchI am now a member of JP Research. What does this mean to you, my loyal readers? Little, except that my contact information for consulting has changed. New telephone and email: 650-559-5999, william@jpresearch.com. These are also listed on my Hire Me and Contact pages.

Story tips, personal correspondence, missives that begin “Briggs, you fool…”, and so forth still come to matt@wmbriggs.com.

At JP I’ll be doing the same kind of work, traveling to the same places and then some, and meeting new people. My locus in quo is unchanged. My teaching gig at Cornell remains. This blog will continue unmodified. I’ll almost certainly, however, be buying a new light grey Borcalino snap-brim fedora (teardrop crease). My collection of brown headgear is just-the-thing, except these chapeaux don’t always “go” with certain shades of blue, a major concern.

Rest assured that I have given this change serious consideration. Never, indeed, have I pondered longer or harder. There was even, at one point, actual hand wringing. But I came to the conclusion that the addition of a new hat to my stable is a necessity.

I know what you’re thinking: why grey and not blue? Well, blue hats are limiting. You can’t wear a blue hat with a brown, white, or tan suit. And you can’t even wear it with all shades of blue, especially darker ones. A blue hat is too jaunty: it is not a serious hat. Whereas a grey can be sombre or gay with the simple switch of the band. Borsalino

Not the stingy brim, either. These are Borsalino’s attempt to cash in on the hipster hat fad. And since all fads are doomed by definition, it is best to avoid them and save your money. Hipster hats are, I suppose, a gentle introduction to the world of adulthood, and so in this sense they can be encouraged. They are orders of magnitude better than a golf or baseball cap. And I believe that wearing a hipster hat might even increase the probability of wearing better clothes.

But if you’re going to spend the money, don’t blow it on a head covering that will look dated after one season. Which brings us to the well known men’s fashion rule: never skimp on shoes or hats. Nothing, but nothing, ruins the look of an outfit, no matter how carefully chosen or expensive, than to see it topped by a cheap hat or bottomed by rubber soles.

Incidentally a good, but expensive, pair of shoes, properly cared for will last forever, especially if they are a member of a rotation (try not to wear the same pair every day). Hats too can be Methuselan, as long as you don’t make a habit of doffing one by pinching the peak.

Speaking of homburgs: yes, but not for me. I am yet too young and anyway too long-faced. I want a derby, but I also want a moustache. The Powers That Be deny me both, sadly.

All these things and more will be on my mind as I begin my new life at JP.


  1. DAV

    A man of many hats used to be called a JOAT.

    Congrats BTW.

  2. JH

    C o n g r a t u l a t i o n s!

    May the handsome grey hat adorn your life magnificently.

  3. Speed


    Where do you park your chapeau while travelling by air? Certainly not crushed into the overhead stowage? Does it remain cranially ensconced?

    Congrats on the gig.

  4. revGDright

    Speaking of hats, did anybody catch a glimpse of Cheney in the Luca Brasi attire on Drudge this morning?

  5. Ray

    Congradulations on your new job. That looks like very interesting work. I have long been interested in transportation fatality statistics. Most people know that motorcycles are one of the most dangerous means of transportation but they don’t know that walking and bicycleing are also very dangerous. That’s why I am always amused when the health fanatics recommend walking and bicycleing for your health.

  6. RSharp

    May I recommend a book for you? Or rather, a single page in the book? That would be “‘Mid-Century Ads: Advertising From the “Mad Men” Era’ (Taschen, 720 pages, $59.99). Then thumb through to the page that portrays the ad from The Hat Corporation of America. You can find a referenced to the appropriate image here:
    The text of the ad is provided here:
    There are some men a hat won’t help
    If you look anything like the fellow in the picture, you can stop reading right now. Wearing a hat won’t do a thing for you.
    No miracles happen when you put on a hat, but it can make the rough, competitive road between you and the top a little easier to travel.
    You look more of a man with a hat on, and the men who run things have a deeply ingrained executive habit of reserving responsible jobs for those young men who look mature enough to handle them.
    They may be right, or they may be wrong, but there’s no denying that they’re in charge. So it pays to humor them. Most business executives we’ve talked to prefer to hire men who wear hats.
    We don’t imply that going bareheaded marks you for failure. In the long run, it’s what’s under the hat that counts. Wearing a hat is just one of those little things that make it easier for a young man to get to where he wants to go.
    You say you’re in a hurry? Where’s your hat?
    A little friendly advice to young men in a hurry, published in the selfish interests of the hat industry by the Hat Corporation of America, 530 Fifth Avenue, New York 36, New York.

  7. Big Mike

    Dr. Briggs: Congratulations on the new hat AND the new job.

    Ray: Excellent point. I used to ride my bicycle about 15 miles to work, some of which was through traffic, and it did cause me to wonder whether the theoretical lengthening of my life through exercise was not actually offset by the risk of being mowed down by a granny in a Camry.

  8. Will

    Congratulations Mr. Briggs. It makes me smile to know that your biggest worries in life involve hat choices. 🙂

  9. I am sure you are aware that when the Santa Ana winds roar through Pasedina you will need a chin strap or your precious Fidora will end up in Long Beach . Congradualtions!

  10. Briggs


    Thanks everybody!


    I tried, once, to put one in the overhead bin, but it was crushed (steam recovered it). So if I have leg room, under the seat in front of me, or if not, right on my noggin.


    Right. Now Cheney is a man who cries out for a homburg. But a homburg also cries out for a jacket. And a jacket cries out for a tie, for balance. And so on.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *