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Why James Bay has ruined hats for men

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Jamie Carson
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“You look like James Bay in that hat.”

It's a shiver-inducing line every man to have ever worn a wide brimmed hat in a social setting has heard at some point in their lives. But what if I told you…*leans in, looks shiftily around the room and whispers*…that hats were invented before Hold Back The River was released?

Yes, it's true, and as I strolled into the ShortList office this week, wrongly assuming a few colleagues would be tipping their own metaphorical hats to my real one, the damning comparison was made. Stood there, literally brimming with anger, I was defeated. I’ve worn hats for years now. Having been working at ShortList for just a couple of weeks now, and not wanting to be known as the ‘hat guy’, I'd decided to hold out until now before rocking up in an abnormally sized fedora. But of course now I'm done. All headwear is now banished, or more dramatically thrown atop a voodoo fire from which I try to put some sort of curse on Bay that makes all hats too small of a fit for his head.

Monstrous? Perhaps. But what choice do I have?

There was a similar situation prior to this at my last job, where I had to put my hats to rest when James Bay first appeared on the scene. The pain was almost too much to bare; watching him strut around the stage at the BRIT Awards in his brilliant fedora, while I sat at home watching it live with my caps shoved into a dark corner of the wardrobe collecting more dust than Newcastle United's trophy cabinet. I'd thought my new job could be a fresh start for hats to make a reappearance in my life.How naive I was...

That’s the problem when someone famous has a signature style; it’s automatically assumed that you’re inspired by them and are copying their look. Maybe if the hat were more complex that’d be true, like if he wore a feather up there or tied a scarf around it, but a plain fedora cannot be attributed to back to him; it’s too simple of an item. I wear socks and breathe just like him, do you want to take that away from me as well?!

  • Why James Bay has ruined hats for men

    What are you hiding under that hat, James

    It's not as if he's just occasionally papped sporting one? It's as if it's glued to his head, hiding some long dark secret scroll holding the secrets of the Pyramids.

    Or is it a love note to Justin Bieber? A decent ending to Lost? Or simply a bald patch?

    No man needs to wear a hat that much anyway. Turn on Jools Holland, he's there, wearing it. Turn on BBC news, there he is again, wearing it down the red carpet of some swanky awards show, as if to signify his arrival. We know it's James Bay because there's his bloody hat. 

    We're starting to think it might contain something controlling him - a Pixar-like Ratatouille style situation going on under there, with a germ-infested rodent controlling his guitar playing abilities.

  • Why James Bay has ruined hats for men 1

    Use your head

    But this is not the only time smart headwear has been spoiled by a musician, as Pete Doherty has forever ruined the trilby (well, he’s also had some help from guys like this), and Maximo Park’s Paul Smith must now own all rights to the bowler hat. Apparently the only acceptable form of headwear now is the baseball cap, which ironically makes you like everyone.

    So how do we solve this dilemma, so us normal guys can walk around in what we want? It’s simple: all celebrities must now wear potato sacks and nothing else, so that way they can’t own a specific look and we’ll be able to separate actual celebrities from the man on the street who happens to be wearing decent clobber.

    And I can finally give my ostracised headwear the love it deserves. 

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Jamie Carson

When he’s not pretending to be on the front of an album cover, Online Style Writer Jamie Carson can probably be found criticising your fashion credentials. Follow Jamie on Twitter @_jamie89

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