How to Wear a Hat – Newsboy Cap Edition

Photo: Jack Huston in “Boardwalk Empire.” Credit: Macall Polay HBO via the Los Angeles Times.

I was watching “Emperor of the North” and thought a post on newsboy caps might be a good follow-up on How to Wear a Hat – Noir Edition. Because you should never have to see something as unfortunate as the costume of Jack Huston in “Boardwalk Empire,” where the suit doesn’t match the shirt, doesn’t match the tie, doesn’t match the hat – oh that hat. Dressed from the Salvation Army.

Here’s a lesson on wearing a newsboy cap from Lee Marvin in the 1973 film “Emperor of the North,” set in 1933, with costume design by Ed Wynigear, who also worked on period films such as “Tora! Tora! Tora!” “1941,” “Under the Rainbow” and “The Sand Pebbles.”

It’s much more difficult to find a leading man who wears a newsboy cap. The characters are usually a little more rakish or a little tougher and it’s significant that Marvin wears one to play a hobo. Of course it’s only part of his wardrobe of seedy presentability, in which everything he wears is ripped or frayed – and finished off with heavy shoes.

"Emperor of the North Pole"

And while I’m on the subject: People who do hair in period films … take a look at Lee Marvin’s 1930s hobo haircut.

"Emperor of the North Pole"

He’s been scalped. It’s right on the money.

Maurice Chevalier, "Monkey Business"

The Marx Bros.’ 1931 film “Monkey Business” is full of examples on different ways to wear a newsboy cap. Here’s a lesson in elegance from Maurice Chevalier, whose photo appears in the passport sequence.

'Monkey Business"

Rockliffe Fellowes, left, demonstrates how a wealthy gangster wears a newsboy cap, in a scene with Groucho.

"Monkey Business"

Here’s how reporters wear newsboy caps in “Monkey Business.”  Just add notebooks, a cigarette, bowtie or newspaper folded in the pocket.

"Monkey Business"

Or add a neatly trimmed beard and three-piece suit for a dignified look.

"Monkey Business"

And don’t forget to wear your spectator shoes!

About lmharnisch

I am retired from the Los Angeles Times
This entry was posted in 1933, 1973, Fashion, Film, Hollywood and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to How to Wear a Hat – Newsboy Cap Edition

  1. Mary Mallory says:

    And have your kerchief in your pocket!


  2. Sam Flowers says:

    Thanks for the lesson, I have been wearing mine all wrong. Lee Marvin is a natural for a “newsboy” hat. When I was a kid I called them “Burglar’s Hats” as I associated them with thugs seen in old b&w movies.


  3. chapmannews says:

    I prefer Harpo’s classic top hat.


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