October’s coming up on us soon, the costume shops are open, and you can buy a deerstalker cap in most of them. But what about the faithful Watsonian? Where’s our hat? What’s our hat?
A hat is perhaps the simplest cosplay available and with the costume shops selling hats of all varieties, it seems like a great time to start picking out a Watson hat for your Zoom calls and the like. But what was Watson’s hat of choice?
Let’s take a little poll in the comment section below and start thinking about a little Watsonian cosplay from the top down, even if we never get past the moustache. (Oh, no, once the hat’s discussion is down, we have to start with moustache talk. But don’t rush it. Don’t rush it.)
Also, it’s a new episode of The Watsonian Weekly!
3 Replies to “Hats on for John?”
Bowler seems right
“And the seal, and symbol, and secret of Watson is, of course, his bowler. It is not like other bowlers; it is a priestly vestment, an insigne of office. Holmes may wear a squash hat, but Watson cleaves to his bowler, even at midnight in the silence of Dartmoor, or on the solitary slopes of the Reichenbach. He wears it constantly, even as the archimandrite or the rabbi wears his hat: to remove it would be akin to the shearing of Samson’s locks by Delilah. ‘Watson and his bowler’ says M. Piff-Pouff, ‘they are separable only in thought.’ It is his apex of wool, his petasus of invisibility, his mitra pretiosa, his triple tiara, his halo. The bowler stand for all that is immutable and irrrefragable, for law and justice, for the established order of things, for the rights of humanity, for the triumph of the man over the brute. It towers colossal over sordidness and misery and crime: it shames and heals and hallows. The curve of its brim is the curve of perfect symmetry; the rotundity of its crown is the rotundity of the world. ‘From the hats of Holmes’s clients,’ writes Professor Sabaglione, ‘deduce themselves the trains, the habits, the idiosyncrasies: from the hat of Watson deduces itself his character.’ Watson is everything to Holmes – his medical adviser, his foil, his philosopher, his confidant, his sympathizer, his biographer, his domestic chaplain, but above all things else he stands exalted in history as the wearer of the unconquerable bowler hat.”
(Ronald Knox, Studies in the Literature of Sherlock Holmes, 1911)
I think it depends on where Watson is going. Much as Holmes would not actually wear his “ear-flapped travelling cap” while about the city, Watson would wear a hat appropriate to the occasion. He wears a bowler in the SILV illustration. But we know for sure that he wore a top hat, since that’s where he “secreted his stethoscope”.
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