'How much is that topper in the window?'
It's four shillings and six, sir. Oh dear. I suggest you had better seek an outfitters more suitable to your means.

A hat is, quite simply, a head covering device. Though it is not a crown, a cap or a helmet. Or a wig, or a veil. But most other head covering devices are hats.
Hats come in many shapes, sizes and dimensions (if you count the 12-dimensional hats postulated by today's physicists). They range from the more familiar styles such as the top hat, the fedora, and the bowler, to the more interesting tricorn and the Carmen Miranda, all the way through to the outlandish New Guinean Poop Deck and the Bavarian Musical Wurst-Horn.

Although banned for a short time during the Victorian era - condemned as base and explicitly sensual - hats have always been a popular way of expressing social status, political affiliation and mood. In republican Rome the democratic popularis politicians would often wear a trilby to indicate their political leanings. The Vikings wore helmets that bore horns, which they would sound in battle by pressing the knob on the top of the helmet (and some see in this the forerunner of the parping cacophony of the modern traffic jam). Shakespeare famously wore a fez, as he thought it made him look Bohemian.
In fact, other than the Victorian hiatus, the only other period of hat shortage was during World War Two, when the government ordered hat production to cease so that the skills of milliners could be concentrated on designing bombs that would fall at a jaunty angle.

The hat remains popular to this day, although some experts fear that the growth of online hats may finally sound the death knell for this much loved headgear.

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