Audrey Hepburn, Madonna, Sarah Jessica Parker, Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen, Gandalf the Grey: One of these is not like the rest.
Or so you may think.
If you possess even the most basic knowledge of the fashion industry, you’ll be well-versed in the contributions the first five people on the list made (and are still making) to the cyclical world of style. But I’m here to make a case for the sixth person – good old Gandalf.
No, seriously. I want to take a minute to acknowledge the common bridge that links J.R.R. Tolkien’s beloved character from The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings trilogy with one of today’s most poignant looks in trendy headwear. While many fashion influencers are crediting the emergence in floppy hats on the streets to the bohemian free spirits occupying the lawns of summer music festivals, I think we need to give credit where credit is due.
Since 1937 Gandalf has been working this wizard uniform, long before even the original music fest goers of 1969’s Woodstock were getting groovy to the beat of the music.
Recently, I found myself wading through the floppy-hat waters of a Brooklyn Urban Outfitters. There were several different styles of the oversized, wide-brimmed hat perched oh-so-effortlessly upon different outfit grouping displays. As I ducked beneath each, I found myself in awe.
While the wide brim surely shaded my neck and face from any unwanted sun exposure, I also felt like this hat gave me a sense of confidence, self-assurance, if you will.
I felt I had been instilled with the kind of leadership skills expected from someone commanding four hobbits, two men, a dwarf and an elf on an epic journey.
The floppy hat, or the “Gandalf” hat, as we should all come to call it, is seriously the perfect summer accessory that will elevate your look to the sky-high levels of soaring dragons (the fire-breathing kinds).
If you’re cool enough to command a fellowship of your own, try out this $62 Gandalf hat from Urban Outfitters. Refined and polished, Gandalf probably would’ve given up his staff for a bow-fastened hat like that! If the price is a little high, try this $56 number from Topshop. And for $17.95, this simple but classic H&M version is pretty flawless.
So though Gandalf may be most remembered today for bellowing the revered “You shall not pass!” line from the first film, you can bet you’ll be passing the stylish headwear test – with flying colors!
"Gandalf" by Nathan Rupert, used under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0