Lately the sidewalks of New York are abloom in colorful Trilby hats ornamenting the uncoiffed heads of young white indie boys affecting a style derived from blues and jazz men.
It’s a look that could be called nouvelle beatnik.
The look says, “I don’t wear this hat because I need to cover my head like some old bald guy (although in truth my hair is a fresh-out-of-bed mess). This hat radiates insouciance and cool. It advertises that I am in the know and am self-confident enough to be sartorially ironic.
“If I wear a Trilby, it’s not a smart gray one with white hatband like Sinatra’s. Mine is purple corduroy. Get it? I like this style because it’s the farthest from handsome I can possibly imagine. (My grandfather wore one, but his was black rabbit fur.) For me this hat is bohemian and beat, ironic and flip, camp and cool.
“I channel Robert Johnson, greatest of blues legends. I channel Frank Sinatra, greatest of vocal stylists. I would never sport Buster Keaton’s comical porkpie hat, even if Lester Young wore one. [And nobody ever had a cooler sound than Lester Young.] Dude, comedy is not irony. And who listens to Lester Young these days anyhow?”