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Charlie Miggins’ hat reminds him of his Texan heritage. Collegian | Jillian Parks
Charlie Miggins’ hat reminds him of his Texan her­itage. Col­legian | Jillian Parks

Hillsdale stu­dents wear many hats, boasting involvement in sports, academia, arts, and many other areas of excel­lence. But also lit­erally, Hillsdale campus serves as a runway for a lot of dif­ferent hat choices. Finding your niche as a freshman can be hard, but it seems some stu­dents have already cracked the code their very first year. As it turns out, standing out while fitting in simply requires the right hat. 

“It actually has helped me help people remember my name, because they just kind of seem like tall guys with a hat, and if you have mostly the same fea­tures as everyone else, you kind of blend into the crowd,” Colin Joyce said. “But a hat does help. That’s what people have told me. It left an impression.” 

Some stu­dents use hats to reflect an element of family history or fashion back home. As a native Texan, freshman Charlie Miggins wears his grandpa’s old cowboy hat to do just that. 

“It’s purely like a rep­re­sen­tation of showing off where I’m from, and why, like where I’m from,” Miggins said. “But I’ll def­i­nitely save it, maybe pass it on to my kid.” 

Some hats are less about history and more about necessity. Joyce bought his green wool cowboy hat from Tractor Supply Company for a mission trip to Tan­zania this past summer, and it simply became a part of his everyday look. 

“The green, it was really just what was there at the store.” Joyce said. “I lit­erally just bought it so I wouldn’t die in the sun. I didn’t even know if I would bring it home. Someone might wear a leopard print Fedora to be dif­ferent, but I don’t wear it to make a statement. I just wear it because it feels com­fortable on my head.”

The term ‘cowboy hat’ has been debated, however. 

“It gives me Indiana Jones vibes,” freshman Ruthie Chinery said. “It’s too small to be a cowboy hat, but too big to be a fedora. It’s just a mystery.”

Seeming less cowboy and more magician, freshman Ciaran Smith owns a $110 purple top hat from a hat shop in northern California. 

“The general reaction is a mixture of sur­prise and excitement.” Smith said. “People are always like, ‘you own a purple top hat? That’s really cool!’ And then some people are like, ‘Dude, you own a purple top hat? What is wrong with you?’” 

Willy Wonka is Smith’s main inspi­ration when wearing his top hat.

“In fact, I’ve used this top hat many times in costume for him,” Smith said.

Smith said if someone tried to buy the hat from him, he would accept an offer of no less than $500.

“It’s such a fun and unique thing, espe­cially because it was handmade and I bought it in a small family-owned hat shop,” Smith said. “I probably wouldn’t part with it.”

More com­monly, many freshmen use hats as a last resort to avoid the time it takes to do one’s hair. Freshman Brennan Slade believes it’s a lifestyle everyone should look into. 

“It’s such a smart investment.” Slade says. “Just think about all of the money you spend on hair products. It saves you time in the morning because instead you could get 15 minutes of extra sleep. Plus, I mean, the back­wards hat is just the college style.”