The Many Hats of Dr. Seuss

iStock.com/traveler1116
iStock.com/traveler1116

Children’s author and illustrator Theodor Geisel has educated generations of children with silly stories and a fanciful way with words. Before the later popularity of his nonsensical rhymes, Dr. Seuss penned a prose work called The 500 Hats of Bartholomew Cubbins, featuring the eponymous Bartholomew and his enviable collection of headwear—a collection based on Dr. Seuss’s own menagerie of fantastic hats. In honor of the 75th anniversary of the book’s publication, Geisel’s widow has opened her late husband’s hat collection to the public in a traveling exhibit called “Hats Off to Dr. Seuss!

Geisel’s hat collection remained something of an open secret: Though his penchant for silly hats was well noted by his friends and family, the general public remained unaware that the author maintained a fully stocked hat closet in his San Diego residence. In a 1937 newspaper interview, his sister Marnie outed the inside joke, informing the reporter, “Ted has another peculiar hobby—that of collecting hats of every description. Why, he must have several hundred, and he is using them as the foundation of his next book. I have seen him put on an impromptu show for guests, using the hats as costumes. He has kept a whole party in stitches just by making up a play with kitchen knives and spoons for the actors."

With Dr. Seuss, it seems that every dinner party was a hat party. No matter how elegant the occasion, he would insist that his guests don an additional whimsical accessory from his collection. In the picture above, Geisel, with his wife (now widow), Audrey, wears a nonchalant expression that belies his white, faux-fur head accessory. According to Audrey, it was a conscious hosting choice that worked to their advantage: “Believe me, when you get a dozen people seated at a fairly formal dinner party and they’ve all got on perfectly ridiculous chapeaus, the evening takes care of itself.” 

Which came first, the cat or the hat? No one’s sure, but either way, Geisel strongly identified with one of his most morally ambiguous characters, drawing himself into the character. 

With its ribbons and frills and furbelows, the straw hat could be a character in a Seuss story all on its own, and is characteristic of the diverse array of millinery in which Geisel delighted.

Vans Is Launching a Harry Potter-Themed Collection of Sneakers and Apparel

© 2011 Warner Bros. Harry Potter Publishing Rights (c) J.K. Rowling
© 2011 Warner Bros. Harry Potter Publishing Rights (c) J.K. Rowling

If we’ve learned anything from the recent releases of Van Gogh-, David Bowie-, and NASA-themed collections of Vans shoes, it’s that you have to act fast—really fast—if you want to snag a limited edition sneaker. As CNN reports, customers are already begging Vans to take their money after the brand announced an upcoming Harry Potter collection, and the designs haven’t even been unveiled yet.

To the delight of self-proclaimed Gryffindors and Ravenclaws around the world, Vans just dropped this bombshell on its website: “Vans and Harry Potter collaborated to conjure up a magical collection of footwear, apparel, and accessories for witches, wizards, and muggles alike.”

As for the specific details and release date for the designs, Vans appears to be as good as Snape at keeping a secret. But if the background image on the website is any indication, the shoes will likely be modeled after the four Hogwarts houses.

We can also likely expect to see a variety of classic shoe styles. Past pop culture-inspired Vans collections have been based on Old Skool, slip-on, platform, and high-top models.

To receive updates on the Harry Potter collection, submit your email address here.

[h/t CNN]

Out of Print's Retro Star Wars T-Shirts Pay Homage to an '80s Reading Campaign

Out of Print
Out of Print

If only Luke had known that he could use a book to channel The Force, it might have saved him a whole lot of hassle. Online retailer Out of Print has united two nerdy camps—readers and Star Wars lovers—with its latest collection of retro-inspired T-shirts.

One shirt features Yoda with the text, “Read and The Force is with you.” A Princess Leia tee says, “Read: It’s our only hope,” while one of Darth Vader says, “Read: Use the power of The Force.”

A Star Wars t-shirt
Out of Print

If the graphics look familiar, it’s because they’re from the American Library Association’s Star Wars-themed READ campaign, which first emerged in 1983 with a poster of Yoda holding a book.

“Star Wars is a vehicle to help support and excite young readers,” Todd Lawton, Out of Print’s co-founder, told StarWars.com. “That’s perfectly in line with our mission and we feel that the world’s a better place if people are reading more books. So when you see a character like Yoda or Darth Vader presented in a way that’s supporting this love of reading and the importance of reading, we want to show that and celebrate that as well.”

An Out of Print T-shirt featuring Darth Vader
Out of Print

The shirts are priced at $28 or $30 apiece, depending on whether it’s a classic unisex T-shirt or relaxed fit tee. Kids’ shirts are also available for $20 each.

Out of Print is also selling a Little Golden Books collection of Star Wars hardcovers, including A New Hope, The Empire Strikes Back, Return of the Jedi, and an anthology with seven books in one. For more literary-inspired apparel, totes, accessories, and more, check out the company's website.

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