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Ibex Coppola Cap : Warm, Cool, Classic

My chief contribution to the interior decor at home is the famed “hat wall” – about two dozen nails in a rough brick wall on which hang an assortment of baseball caps I've collected over the years.  There were more until my wife intervened; after a painful selection process I removed ten or so, which now reside in a bag in the closet, nursing fading hopes of a final outdoor jaunt. It hurts me to think of them like that, but there it is.

So, when I spied the Ibex wool Coppola, a cabbie-style cap with a sleek ibex stitched on the back, my eyes grew wide. I knew instantly it was a winner, worthy of a place on my wall.

The days that followed proved me right. Unlike any of my baseball caps, this hat was a conversation starter, especially with fellow lid enthusiast. They wanted to know: Was it itchy? (No.) Warm? (Very.) Does it stretch? (Yup.)  For a hat freak, coffee shop chat doesn’t get any better than this. I heard the following remarks, ranging from “nice hat, cool hat, love the hat” to “Yo, Joe, you look like Sketch Paree!” (Paree, you may recall, was the deranged dress designer from the Dick Tracy cartoon who rubbed elbows with nogoodniks like Go-Go Gomez, Mumbles, and Itchy.) And then there was the back-handed compliment from my nine-year-old daughter, who took her first look at my sorrel-colored dome and said, “You look like a mushroom! No really, it looks great!”

After weeks of wearing my Coppola around town--frontwards and backwards, depending on my mood or angle of the sun -- two things are obvious: for a guy who wears glasses and hates the feeling of a knit hat pressing against the arms of his specs, and who spends a lot of time walking around town, this jaunty cap is the perfect marriage of form and function. Remember, many of the world’s greatest explorers of cold places, from Ernest Shackleton to Edmund Hillary, did their thing wearing wool. To a guy who swears by Gore Tex and other tech fabrics, this was quite the revelation of the mind, or of the head.

Bottom Line: With style (“nice lid,”) and substance (“warm as Hillary in Katmandu”), this classic design is the perfect cool-weather, out-around-town hat.--J.G. (April ’06)

Price: $45 (on sale for $25)

Manufacturer's Site: www.ibexwear.com

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