Today we have the great pleasure to publish on PG a piece from Valet Magazine.
Valet may well be one of the "Last of the Mohicans" when it comes to high level independent men's style magazines. The overall tonality, the quality of the layout, the originality of the photography, the investment on high level material (cover and paper) and, last but not least, the outstanding quality of the writing is pretty rare in 2022 where glossy print magazines have only one solution to survive: being the slaves of big luxury groups who literally have the right of a life or death sentence on them if they decide, one morning, to remove their advertisement perfusion.
In these mediocre times for print (and for quality writing in general), Valet stands out as one of the last "analogical" magazines in an ocean of "digital" ones. And as a digital publisher myself, I have to express to them my utmost respect for their ambitious (some would say suicidal) endeavour in the 2020s: to create a beautiful "print-only" men's style magazine with outstanding quality of writing and photography. In actual fact, I cannot resist comparing Valet with a beautiful (and collectible) 180gr vinyl trying to survive in front of zillions of souless digital files on Spotify.
Of course, Valet is not equipped, in my humble opinion, to attract the attention of advertisers as its format, tonality and uncompromising (yet disputable) aesthetic are too far off from the standardised communication world in which we live and from the dictatorship of marketing services who will probably not understand what they represent. Thus, their only survival possibility will be you, the potential subscribers.
This is the reason why we ask you, PG readers, to support this wonderful magazine and to subscribe to Valet for $25 per issue (or $89 per year). We don't know if this magazine will see the next autumn, but we cannot not try to support this effort we didn't have the energy to create ourselves yet. So please gentlemen, if you're motivated, subscribe to Valet Magazine here: Valet Magazine Subscription.
Could there be a finer example of society’s wayward turn than the dearth of coatrooms and hat stands, in comparison to decades past? Is it any wonder that so few men nowadays bother with hats at all, given the paucity of places to stow them properly and securely away? It is in the decline of details such as tablecloths and hat stands that the flower of civilisation withers.
Championing as we do the whole tribe of men whose tastes incline to the classical, we never miss an opportunity to celebrate that particularly obdurate representative of the brood—the lid wearer, the headpiece exponent, he who ambles about hatted and stiff-necked, eternally seeking a refuge for his helmet where no such recourse exists. To this end, Valet here proposes a litany of locations where the gentleman can doff his pride and leave it awhile, as he pursues those tasks that mandate hatlessness.
If the only choice is a chair or table, then placing one’s hat on one’s coat is an obvious, if far from ideal solution. It might keep your hat clean and protect its fragile dignity, but your coat will not be so lucky, and the whole arrangement is liable to drift to the floor at the passing of a mild breeze.
In the almost certain absence of a wall fixture designed to carry a hat such as a dedicated hook, one could do worse than a suitably proportioned wall lamp. This solution will be particularly pleasing to those of artistic temperament.
Not a happy ending, but needs must, when seated at a table. While such a decision leaves you at the mercy of spills and slippage, it at least precludes your having to hang your hat on a long-ignored curtain rail, or some such dusty protuberance.
Overcome despair and give reign to your creative impulses. If the plants are real, people will keep their mitts afar for fear of being spiked, pronged, or otherwise adulterated, and if they are fake, even better: It reduces the chance of your hat being accidentally watered, and improves the likelihood that other habitués will regard it as an integral part of a modern art installation.
A decision best exhibited when visiting a private home, perhaps one that is spared the affliction of many or frequent visitors. Indeed, in the case of a quick popping-by, it is an almost ideal solution, encouraging as it does a swift and graceful entry and exit gesture, with minimal fuss and fanfare. Your hosts will thank you, and think you a gentleman.
The umbrella stand has been hunted to the point of near-extinction in recent decades—a comparable, yet slower and crueller pestilence than the disappearance of the hat stand, and perhaps a subject for another treatise—but they are sometimes spotted in the wild, and should you encounter one on your travels, make quick use of it, while they are still among us.
Print is dead.
Rare. Usually, such surfaces in public places will be ornamented with any number of objectionable objects. Such things as tip jars, Bluetooth speakers, and even—though it pains me—cutlery come to impinge on your hat’s once-inviolable right to solid and comely repose.
An unorthodox, though not indefensible hat-keep. Your first difficulty will be finding a place furnished with a curtain rail at all, let alone a sturdy one, to say nothing of one that has been within arm’s-length of a feather duster in recent memory. What’s more, verifying any of the above is likely to cause you undue exertion, and any contortions or efforts deployed in this respect risk making you look like an ass.
This is generally sound practice during the day, when traffic is at a low ebb, but once the throng starts to swell and askance, covetous, and outright aggressive glances begin to descend upon its throne, it may be best to peremptorily vacate—but take your time about it. After all, the lack of public hat stands is not directly the fault of your fellow citizens, but the absence of a clamorous and universal uproar does reflect on them poorly. If you feel like imparting terse, indeed biting comments over your shoulder to the claimant to the stool, chance it.
Imagine, if you will, a secure stowaway place that is below the eyeline—and therefore protected against theft or malice—yet above the floor, so as not to risk the dirt and grubbiness that defines the dives we know, signor, that you frequent. Such Platonic stools can occasionally be found, and you might well encounter one should the gods decree it. Remember not to leave your hat behind when you vacate your spot—even to respond to a call of nature; the risk is too great, and consider the respect you will derive from the queue, when you emerge hatted and dignified from the lavatory.
The old cliché about desperate times still holds some currency for the hat wearer. Any port in a storm; any flat surface for the man casting a wild eye around for a temp. rest for his lid. Wherever it is, whatever you find, if it will support a hat, consider how best you might make use of it.
A man can dream! A holy grail, a vision, a veritable godsend. How did it come to be here? In the olden days, of course, the days of splendour.
Will they ever return?