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作者:Melvyn B…    文章来源:英语学习    更新时间:2018/6/26

 Britain is a nation of hat wearers, of that there is no doubt. From the Artful Dodger’s battered top hat to Winston Churchill’s homburg, the history of the country can be told through the hats that have graced the heads of some of our most famous luminaries.1 Traditionally hats are a very loaded item and have almost totemic power in their ability to signify class, gender, occupation and a myriad of other stations.2 Even the protocol has symbolic value; from doffing your hat to launching mortar boards in the air,3 hats have long been associated with rituals and practices stretching back into the mists of time. With the Royal Wedding throwing British millinery back into the spotlight the time is to take a tour of Britain’s heritage through its headwear.4
  The humble flat cap can be traced back to medieval England and was even the subject of Tudor sumptuary laws.5 In an attempt to spur on the wool trade an Act of Parliament was instituted in 1571 decreeing that all males over six years old (except for the nobility) had to wear a wool cap on Sundays and holidays, with a penalty of a fine if they refused. The non-aristocratic association stuck and the flat cap became an icon of working class culture in the 19th and 20th centuries.
  The hat was a trademark of a number of characters, but no one has truly made the bowler their own quite like Charlie Chaplin. The Little Tramp, icon of silent-era comedy, certainly had a penchant for accessories,6 so much so that one of his famous bowlers and a cane was sold last November for$62,500!
  Archaeologist and heritage interpreter7 Sally Pointer specialises in reconstructing and creating historical hats. When asked about her favourite she comes down in favour of yet another classic: the deerstalker. It may be crystalised in the popular imagination as the hat of choice of Sherlock Holmes, but it’s interesting to note that there is not a single mention of him donning a deerstalker in any works by Arthur Conan Doyle.8 The deerstalker was a vital aspect of the Victorian gentleman’s hunting ensemble9, worn on country estates but not in the city, and as such it certainly would not have featured in Holmes day to day life around Baker Street. The association came about when illustrator (and contemporary of Doyle) Sidney Paget gave Holmes both a deerstalker and Inverness cape10 for out of town adventures such as “The Boscombe Valley Mystery”. The connection stuck and an icon was born, albeit an inaccurate one. But for Sally Pointer this is all part of its charm: “the willingness on our part to accept a little eccentricity in an overall look fits the way the British approach hats perfectly.” The Edwardian era was a golden age of millinery. Ornamentation became ever more elaborate, with a cornucopia of flowers, birds, lace, ribbons, bows, feathers and artificial fruit regularly gracing heads in an opulent display of conspicuous consumption.11 Hatpins were essential to secure these creations to the head. The lengthy pins were useful for discouraging dangerous advances12 on the street, so much so that laws were proposed to ban this secret weapon in many cities around the world. Hats were still a necessity in public in Edwardian Britain, the Suffragettes13 even remained beautifully behatted when chained to railings and campaigning for the right to vote.
  But the hat hasn’t always been a symbol of propriety. Britain’s rich street style and subcultural heritage has often seen the hat become somewhat subversive. Anthropologist Ted Polhemus cites the pork pie hat and the Mod14 subculture as the perfect example. Originating in the mid-19th century, the pork pie hat (named for its resemblance to the dish) was the hat of choice for many well-dressed Victorian city dwellers, but morphed into a key element of London street style a century later. Equally, not wearing a hat was seen as an act of rebellion. Polhemus recounts BBC footage of bare-headed Teddy Boys stealing a man’s hat on the street which visualised the moral panic that the Teds inspired.15
  During the 1940s the headscarf turban was popular for women working in factories, to stop long Veronica Lake-style hair from getting caught in machinery.16 The turban of the “Land Girl”17 symbolised the war effort, patriotism and utility, while throughout the 50s hats became an essential aspect of French couture houses, keen to reestablish their pre-eminence on the fashion stage. By the 1960s, though, the rise of car ownership and the burgeoning Youthquake ensured that hats were no longer needed either as protection from the weather or as a demarcation of class.18
  There has been a renaissance in hat wearing in the 21st century, thanks to a welcome boost in 2011 when the Royal Wedding coincided with the 300th anniversary of the races at Ascot19, ensuring a vintage year for hats. Meanwhile, Stockport Hat Works Museum—the only museum in the country dedicated to hats and hat making—is more popular than ever, and staff have noticed a distinct increase in headgear on their visitors.
 With hats undoubtedly in the ascendent, what marks Britain out on the world stage is the sheer number of hats we can call our own. When France has the beret, Spain has the Cordobés and Mexico has the sombrero as defining features, why do we have so many? Historian Matthew Ward professes an obsession with hats ranging from medieval liripipes to Georgian cocked hats, and believes that the variety of headgear in Britain reflects our multicultural background, with the legacy of such diversity ensuring Britain doesn’t have a single national form of dress, let alone a national hat, with our headgear reflecting this rich cultural heritage.

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