Monday, September 15, 2014

A Brief Study Of Painter's Hats

Seeing that Public Enemy Catalog the other day got me thinking about Painter's Caps. I haven't really thought about that fad in years. Dudes where crazy mad into Painter Hats at my school for awhile. It kind of coincided with the super brief Breaking craze. There might have been a month or so where dudes brought cardboard to school and busted moves at first recess. 

Nobody really had any great pops or locks. A couple of kids did The Caterpillar and one of the Mills Brothers, I forget which on had an ill backspin but that was about it. They all wore painters hats though. I remember one fool even had one of those with the flaps in the back but that seemed more like a New Wave, or Waver kid gimmick.
I haven't seen anyone wearing a painters hat in years. Even out on the flea market/thrift store circuit I don't run across them like ever. I mean that, ever. I think that's why they never crossed my mind until I saw that one in a P.E merch Catalog. Why is that? Where are all the painter hats? I know that they were meant to be disposable in nature but still, you'd think that there would be some of them floating around somewhere. 

Maybe it's just a regional thing. Are you guys finding them out there? I wonder if they are being snatched up by someone looking to corner the market on the eventual painter hat comeback. That's not the worst idea in the world. Everything eventually comes back right? It's even a little hard to find decent quality pictures of painter hats.  I remember a Copenhagen one that hickish Rocker dudes wore. That was one of the most popular ones. I think that you got it when you bought a bunch of dip. It was made up like a can of snuff though.
This is about the biggest picture I can find. Ya, all the rocker hicks (that's a dude who is into metal but also might wear cowboy boots or even sometimes a cowboy hat. Even though I don't live in farm country there were a lot of guys like that around.) had hats like that. They never wore them all on the same day which would have been awesome but they all seemed to have one. Maybe it was the same one and they traded it off. That is actually possible. 

The painter hat fad didn't have the legs that a lot of the fads of the time had. I think that Stomper Trucks had a longer run that PHs had. Maybe that's the secret behind their rarity. No, that can't be true. There was such a variety of caps. There have to be some left today. I guess that most painters hats were like cheap advertising giveaways. That's cool though because it seems like the advertisers won the battle for our hearts and deserve some respect for that. All of the things that we look back on with fondness or want to reacquire are commercial products, toys or gizmos from back in the day.

While poking around on the net looking for pictures of Painter Caps I did see some New NFL Throwback style caps. That's cool I guess The sports Painters Hat was a pretty popular one. I think that also goes along with the idea of it being a cheap advertising gimmick. As a stadium giveaway the PH is way more affordable than even a snap back trucker style hat. 

So, I think that I'm going to call it a day. What else is there to say? Did you guys wear PHs? I actually never did. I just wasn't cool enough. They were pretty cutting edge. I think though if I remember correctly what stopped me from ever actually wearing one was that I was totally terrified of getting sucked into to the break dancing circle. What I mean is that dudes would form a circle right? and the kid breaking would be in the center and after he popped or locked for awhile he'd tag out of the center by pointing at someone else to come in and bust some steps. I had no steps. I think that by wearing the hat I'd make myself more of a target for inclusion.

That was literally like the last thing that I wanted. To be included in something.  There were a lot of things that I did want to be involved in dont' get me wrong, I wasn't a total weirdo. GI Joe trading, Stomper Races, Grass Ball Fights, you know that sort of thing was my bag but getting into the middle of a ring and pop-locking in front of my 5th grade teacher who was really supportive of kids right to dance. (He prolly saw Footloose or something and didn't want to be the John Lithgow) was just way too stressful and the PH was sort of the key to that door.