Just finished reading The Talented Mr. Ripley and came across this:
He had a sudden whim for a cap and bought one in the haberdashery, a conservative bluish-grey cap of soft English wool. He could pull its visor down over nearly his whole face when he wanted to nap in his deck-chair, or wanted to look as if he were napping. A cap was the most versatile of head-gears, he thought, and he wondered why he had never thought of wearing one before? He could look like a country gentleman, a thug, an Englishman, a Frenchman, or a plain American eccentric, depending on how he wore it.
While I’m sure a cultured person could have divined Ripley’s nationality and socioeconomic status by the cut of his suit, the observation is still pretty astute. Most European countries have some kind of national head wear (just find a bunch of old men and see what they’ve got on), but the cap is pretty universal.
I wish men still wore hats, and not just in an ironic way. Sigh.