The world is made up of approximately 71 percent water, and this water is in constant motion when it evaporates and condenses into a rain shower. Unless you are a hermit, chances are you will be caught out in one of these sprinkles, and waxed cotton hats are a fantastic accessory to have that will be as timeless as your adventurous spirit.
What is Waxed Cotton?
Waxed cotton, or otherwise referred to as waxed canvas, is a durable tightly woven cotton permeated with paraffin or natural beeswax based wax. This waxing process can make the fabric rain resistant or even waterproof.
The Origination Story
A long, long time ago, like the 15th century, English and Scotish mariners found that sails worked best when they were wetted with fish oils and grease. Being the frugal and ingenious men that they were, the seamen would use the remnants of worn sails as waterproof capes and soon gave birth to the sailor's slicker.
British Millerain (the company that provides Bridge & Burn its premium waxed cotton) is the original UK manufacturer of waxed cotton for outerwear and exporter of this specialty textile across the globe.
During World War II waxed cotton became the choice for waterproof clothing needed for the armed forces. In the late 1940s and 1950s use of waxed cotton expanded as extra material, and army-surplus sold off cheaply.
Waxed cotton hats and waxed cotton jackets became mainstream outerwear for English and Irish farmers, gamekeepers, and motorcyclists. The tight woven waxed cotton created a three season jacket that protects from the elements, cuts the wind, is durable, and is more comfortable than some other options.
This style of clothing became stylistically known as country clothing in England. Country clothing grew in popularity with the wealthy who either owned a country estate or would visit a country estate for leisure to participate in outdoor activities such as horse riding, hunting, and fishing.
Waxed Cotton Jackets
The classic waxed cotton jacket was hip-length with a tartan lining, and a corduroy or leather collar. Often the jacket was paired with a cap such as a bucket hat/Irish walking hat, or a trapper hat/deerstalker. These classic items are popular in England to this day despite the invention of rubber raincoats.
Waxed Cotton Hats
Much like their jacket counterparts, waxed cotton hats possess the same positive attributes. Durability, heat retention, and waterproofing make waxed cotton hats an obvious choice for outdoor enthusiasts.
Is Waxed Cotton Relevant?
After learning a brief history of waxed cotton, it may sound like country fashion is a great but antiquated idea. On the contrary, during the Spring 2018 Ready-To-Wear runway, Sarah Burton's Alexander McQueen collection has a serious nod to the history of an English country house and the infamous tradition of British aristocrats wearing their country clothes until they fall apart. You may not be into the bourgeoisie of the runway, but the sheer fact is that country style, including waxed cotton hats and jackets, is still relevant in the minds of fashion designers.
Should I Add a Waxed Cotton item to My Wardrobe?
Lauren Yates writes for VOGUE, "To me, your wardrobe doesn't transform with each short-lived fashion trend, but it should be ultra versatile, condensed, and to the point." The take away is that tried and true "classic" basics are the building blocks of your wardrobe.
As we try to maneuver in an ever-changing society, the economy of lifestyle will continue to grow more popular and necessary. Editing your wardrobe will mean investing in fewer, but long-lasting staples that have versatility within your live more, not have more lifestyle.
Pictured in her article, Lauren Yates wares a waxed cotton bucket hat and vintage military snow parka creating a contrast between the pieces and airing on the side of practicality.
Adding waxed cotton hats is an easy and affordable way for you to introduce a bit of traditional country style to your wardrobe. Purchasing a quality waxed cotton hat is an investment well made as it, if cared for, will last you a lifetime.
Whether you enjoy tomboy style or a nod to outdoorsmen activewear, a waxed cotton hat will make you look grounded and earthy with a bit of whimsy--and the unexpected. It will become a favorite item in your wardrobe you will reach for again and again.
As you use waxed cotton hats, they will patina over time much like leather would. Each bump and scuff will add to the story that is your life. Over time your waxed cotton hat will become a precious heirloom.
Best of all, this patina quality makes waxed cotton an excellent alternative to leather. You can achieve a similar look and feel without constructing from an animal hide and waterproof with wax from natural and sustainable sources. And an added bonus is that waxed cotton is more flexible and comfortable than leather which you will enjoy when you go to purchase a jacket to match your awesome hat. Educate and impress your friends with this environmentally friendly alternative product.
Waxed cotton hats are the perfect way to add a time-tried classic piece to your wardrobe. The versatility of complimenting or juxtaposing your outfits with sophisticated, earthy style will have you using this accessory daily.
What are you waiting for? If you're lucky enough to live in Portland, check out our handcrafted waxed cotton hat collection by fashion designer Tsuyumi. Your new favorite hat is waiting at the Bridge & Burn flagship store on SW Morrison St. or shop online with us and find out why we're a dynamic company that is never looking back.