Helpful hint: Rehab a damaged men’s hat with fly-fishing flies

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As hats (especially the broader-brimmed versions) become increasingly common among today’s menfolk, so too will what I like to call ‘hatcidents’ -- the unintentional mistreatment of headgear that stems from the fact that today’s guys aren’t used to thinking about the care and safety of their chapeaux when they’re located anywhere but atop the head. (And just try to find a hat check in a restaurant these days.)

I suffered a cruel reminder of this when I was on a whirlwind trip to Vermont over the weekend (for the wedding of a niece), and the Scala straw hat I’d purchased from the Carmel Hat Co. had its brim severely creased in the overhead bin during my flight, and then had its crown summarily flattened in the back seat of a rental car by my wife’s carry-on bag.


Despite my attempts to restore the hat to its former glory so it could be worn to an outdoor wedding, the end result still looked so battered and dented it felt appropriate to wear only if I was planning to arrive on a John Deere tractor with a wheat stalk clenched between my teeth.

But my wife hit on a quick -- and inexpensive -- fix while we were poking around the Orvis Outlet Store in Manchester, Vt., and she discovered a selection of colorful $1 and $2 fly-fishing flies. We bought a handful and sat on a bench outside the outlet store where she deftly hooked three of the feathered hooks through the hat band, instantly transforming ‘battered formal’ into ‘rakish rustic.’

And, come to think of it, she did it on the fly.

-- Adam Tschorn