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In Paris, hats are back on top

Suddenly, young Parisians are wearing old-fashioned hats, from fedoras to berets.

PARIS, France — It’s funny how sometimes we think we are being original, but we’re really not. This often happens with fasion, where suddenly everyone is wearing the same thing at the same time.

Here is a classic example:

I had to buy an accessory for a party, something fun or quirky.

And as I wasn’t willing to burn a lot of cash, I took a walk in my trendy, bourgeois-bohemian neighborhood, Republique, to see if something caught my eye. I came across a traditional hat shop ("Magic Urban," 25 Blvd Saint-Martin, Paris, 75003.)

Rather shy at first, I looked at the chapeaux, timidly took a gray one with gray stripes, and put in on, smirking out of embarrassment.

“Forget it,” I thought, “I’m not going to wear a hat, it’s so old-fashioned!”

But as I was about to leave without the hat, the shopkeeper convinced me to try another.

The second one fit perfectly, and I must confess, actually looked cool. There was something charming and deliciously old school about wearing the kind of hat that my grandfather’s generation held as a fashion staple.

Mocher Cherguim, the shopkeeper, was clearly disappointed when I told him that the hat would just be a gimmick for a party.

"You know," he said enthusiastically, "you can still wear it after the party!"

"Maybe," I said, "why not, after all."

"Welcome to the club then!" said the shopkeeper with a wink.

And that’s how it began.

When I left the shop, I was at first self-conscious about wearing a fedora.

But I quickly realized that I was anything but original.