Podcasts Roaring 20s

The Straw Hat Riots of 1922: The bad kind of New York fashion week

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EPISODE 313 “No man likes to have his hat snatched from his head by somebody he has not yet been introduced to.”

During the month of September 1922, as summer passed into autumn, large groups of rowdy ‘hoodlums’ swarmed the streets of New York City, grabbing straw hats off the heads of men, leaving the gutters filled with thousands of smashed lids.

Why in the world would so many people become outraged at the sight of a straw hat?

This is the story of the ultimate fashion faux pas, Jazz Age style, snd a look at the dangers of men’s wear uniformity.

NOTE: As this is our first remotely recorded episode, it’s a bit more goofy than others. Expect an extra dosage of puns.


Straw hats is full display in this photo which shows crowd waiting in New York City for the arrest of lawyer Burton W. Gibson, in 1912. Library of Congress
Courtesy Vintage Dancer
Brooklyn Times Union, September 16, 1922
Brooklyn Times Union, Sept 16, 1922
The Buffalo Times, September 17, 1922

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2 replies on “The Straw Hat Riots of 1922: The bad kind of New York fashion week”

This was a fascinating story! I wanted to comment on what appeared to be your surprise that hats have a “season”. I’m from Texas, and cowboy hats definitely have a season in Texas. I’m not sure if other states follow this rule, or if men of history followed this rule with other types of hats, before men wearing hats daily became so obscure. But in Texas, men don their straw cowboy hats anytime after Easter, and it should be closeted by Halloween. It’s quite warm here through October, so I’m sure some colder states probably substitute the Halloween rule with Labor Day. Felt hats are worn year round, but most especially from Halloween to Easter. It is acceptable to wear a felt hat year round, but NOT acceptable to wear a straw hat in winter. People who consider themselves true cowboys will shake their head at a person wearing a straw hat after Halloween. It’s kind of a sign of a “drug store cowboy”. Just wanted to share! Hope you guys are having a great New York Day!!

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