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.”