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It is absolutely typical of the modern British that they should spend so much time shopping for clothes and yet dress so badly. If you walk down any British street, not one in 100 persons passing you has any elegance about him or her — quite the reverse. A lot of fashions, indeed, seem more like satires on the idea of elegance than are themselves elegant.

The increasing prevalence of one particular item of apparel in Britain puzzles me: baseball caps. It is not as if they are native to our traditions and a question naturally arises about them, namely: is it possible for a person ever to look intelligent or dignified while wearing one?

No doubt my method of arriving at an answer to this question is deeply unscientific. I look at all the people wearing such caps in the street and ask myself whether they look dignified and intelligent. The answer is invariably, "No, they don't." I suppose one day there might be a black swan among them, but it hasn't happened yet.

It is possible to look other things than undignified and stupid in a baseball cap, however, for example menacing and aggressive. No doubt that is why an increasing number of our police forces have adopted them. Indeed, it is difficult to see why else they should wear them, since they cannot afford much protection against blows on the head, or even against draughts. Of course, the police are ineffectual in exact proportion to their menacing and aggressive appearance, until they reach the point at which they are feared mainly by the law-abiding.

Why does anybody, other than thugs, policemen and employees of fast-food establishments that insist upon them as part of a uniform, wear a baseball cap? Even old people in increasing numbers now sport them. Is it some kind of perverse desire to look stupid, a form of auto-humiliation? Is it an attempt to persuade other people that they are humble folk who think that they are no better than anyone else? 

Could this explain why even Princes of the Blood now wear them?

 
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