A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

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Entry from June 19, 2014
“If you want to get ahead, get a hat”

Wearing a hat used to be proper attire in business. “If you want to get ahead, get a hat” was a slogan by the British Hat Council. The slogan supposedly began in 1934, but newspapers in 1949 recorded the slogan used in a new ad campaign.

“Not even the swellest hatters get ahead of us—but the swellest wearers can get a hat of us” was an American slogan used in newspaper advertisements in the early 1900s.


Wikipedia: Denton, Greater Manchester
Denton is a town within the Metropolitan Borough of Tameside, in Greater Manchester, England. Historically part of Lancashire Denton grew as a significant centre of hat manufacture, though today it is a predominantly residential town.

It is five miles (eight km) to the east of Manchester city centre, and has a population of 34,286.
(...)
In the 1930s the ‘Attaboy’ trilby hat was introduced by the Denton Hat Company. This brand quickly became famous and it was in production for many years. Ladies’ hats were not forgotten either and at least one works specialised in making these and the hat master’s wife designed them at home. Hats were made for home consumption and for export. The well-known slogan “If you want to get ahead, get a hat” arose in Denton and, needless to say, anyone attending for a job interview not wearing a hat was quickly shown the door.

5 May 1904, The Repository (Canton, OH), pg. 3, col. 4 ad:
Not even the swellest hatters get ahead of us—but the swellest wearers can get a hat of us.
(Chas. N. Vicory, fine clothing.—ed.)

Adslogans
If you want to get ahead, get a hat.
Print ad courtesy of The Advertising Archives
Advertiser: Hat Council
Ad agency:
Year: 1934

Google News Archive
29 January 1949, Glasgow (Scotland) Herald, “London Correspondence,” pg. 4, col. 6:
This state of affairs is at present the object of an extensive advertising campaign which, as already recorded here, takes the slogan “If you want to get ahead, get a hat.” Some of its posters imply that girls smile only on those with hats.

28 February 1949, State-Times (Baton Rouge, LA), pg. 14-A, col. 3:
“If you want to get ahead, get a hat” is the British hatters’ new slogan.

Google News Archive
19 May 1953, Sydney (Australia) Morning Herald, pg. 1, col. 10:
“Men’s Wear,” the Australian equivalent of the much-quoted English “Taylor and Cutter,” says English hatters have the slogan: “If you want to get ahead get a hat.”

OCLC WorldCat record
Get ahead, get a hat : sun protection supplementary grants scheme, level two grant : final report, “Real cool school” project
Author: Nicole Maher; South Eastern Sydney Area Health Service (N.S.W.); et al
Publisher: [Zetalnd, NSW?] : South Eastern Sydney Area Health Service, [1998]
Edition/Format: Book : English

The Guardian (UK)
If you want to get ahead, get a hat
In pictures: Marvellous millinery at the Metroplitan Ball

Simon Chilvers
The Guardian, Wednesday 6 May 2009
Imagine the pressure of choosing the right dress for the Metropolitan Ball - this week’s social happening in New York, and the new place to make a fashion statement now that Oscar dressing is so dull. As fashion designers posed with celebrities, it became clear that you needed more than a thigh-high hemline to raise an eyebrow this year. To stand out required plonking something marvellous upon your head.

OCLC WorldCat record
Get ahead, get a hat? Didn’t that go out with the ark?
Author: M Radcliffe
Edition/Format: Article Article : English
Publication: Nursing times, 2010 Jun 1-7; 106(21): 24
Database: From MEDLINE®/PubMed®, a database of the U.S. National Library of Medicine.
Other Databases: ArticleFirst

Google Books
Oxford Treasury of Sayings and Quotations
Edited by Susan Ratcliffe
New York, NY: Oxford University Press
2011
Pg. 129:
If you want to get ahead, get a hat.
advertising slogan for the British Hat Council, 1965 .

The Telegraph (UK)
Alan Titchmarsh: if you want to get ahead, get a decent hat
Woolly hats and baseball caps are poor substitutes for a gleaming topper, a smart trilby or a Panama. It’s high time stylish hats made a comeback

By Alan Titchmarsh7:00AM GMT 22 Feb 2014
Whatever became of men’s hats? Time was when no self-respecting businessman or tradesman would venture out bare headed, but now the only titfer that most men seem to sport is the ubiquitous baseball cap or, in severe winter weather, a semi-spherical woolly skullcap pulled down over the eyes.
(...)
If you want to get ahead, get a hat, they used to say. I wonder if they’ll ever say it again.

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityWork/Businesses • Thursday, June 19, 2014 • Permalink