The internet’s endless knowledge never fails to surprise us with its ability to provide answers to obscure questions and reveal new information. Recently, a Twitter user sparked a discussion on why men stopped wearing headgear and turbans in the West and in India, respectively, despite their once-common use. The Twitter community quickly jumped in with a range of explanations, shedding light on this historical and cultural phenomenon.
Gabbar, a Twitter user, shared a video showcasing men wearing headgear, commonly hats, on the streets of New York City 100 years ago, prompting him to ask what caused the change in men’s fashion. He also pointed out the disappearance of turbans in India and questioned the reason behind it. He further explained that the rise of cars in the West eliminated the need to cover one’s head for protection from the elements, and the low roofs of cars made it difficult to wear headgear. Additionally, the trauma of war associated with uniforms also contributed to the decline of hats. Thus, his observations led to a discussion on the evolution of headwear over time.
New York City 100 years ago. Almost everyone used wear a head gear. Wasn’t just fashion but also a utility. What changed? pic.twitter.com/l6m7EbtgHN— Gabbar (@GabbbarSingh) March 19, 2023
The trend vanished in India too. All old pics have men wearing turbans across castes & religions.Some say it’s inversely correlated to popularity of Cars in the west. Low roofs made it difficult to wear one.
For others it changed post 2nd World war. Head gear was a war… https://t.co/PB8Oc2jzg2 pic.twitter.com/bxdF0tga0i
— Gabbar (@GabbbarSingh) March 19, 2023
Many users agreed with Gabbar’s explanation that the rise of tall buildings and greenery has led to an increase in shaded areas, making hats less necessary. “Mostly utility reasons. When you mostly walk, you need some head gear to keep your head not get hot. With vehicles, we are spending less time exposed to sun,” opined a user.
Mostly utility reasons. When you mostly walk, you need some head gear to keep your head not get hot.With vehicles, we are spending less time exposed to sun.
— Rabi Agrawal (@RabiAgrawal) March 20, 2023
The number of sheltered or shaded areas in NYC and most countries has gone up. Taller buildings and more greenery added to provide more areas of shade. You can now walk through most developed cities with only rare flashes of sun. Hence, no hat needed!— Prazzo (@Prazzo84) March 20, 2023
Others added that the shift toward casual fashion and indoor jobs has also contributed to the decline of hats and turbans. “As fashion trends shifted toward more casual and relaxed styles, hats fell out of favor. Today, people are less likely to wear formal clothing on a regular basis. In the past, people often worked outdoors or in jobs that required them to spend a lot of time outside,hence hats”, explained another while the third one wrote, “Not just the USA, in India too my grandpa used to wear turban, the officers used to wear hats. It fell out of fashion when people hardly walked for work.”
Evolution and increase in informal clothing. I won’t be surprised if I’m a few years in summers most people are wearing shorts — sidharth (@Sidharthap) March 20, 2023
As fashion trends shifted toward more casual and relaxed styles, hats fell out of favor. Today, people are less likely to wear formal clothing on a regular basis .In the past, people often worked outdoors or in jobs that required them to spend a lot of time outside,hence hats— ganpat (@BhagGanpat) March 20, 2023
Some even made humourous comments, suggesting that the availability of low-cost shampoo and the desire to show off good hairstyles has also played a role.
Availability of low cost shampoos.— Sudhir (@suddoo) March 19, 2023
Now we have good hairstyles to flaunt. Covering with Hat isn’t fashion anymore.— Dr. Shrey Bhatia (@Drshreybhatia) March 20, 2023
The discussion, thus, brings to light the dynamic shifts in societal trends and how there has been a decisive change over time. Previously men wore hats to ‘fit in’ while today, they wear them to make a statement and ‘stand out’.
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