The Great Hat Comeback

Hats became fashionable for men during the 14th century. At that time, they were used for both formal and casual occasions and were made of several kinds of material, such as velvet, silk, taffeta, beaver fur or felt. Of those options, felt is the modern fabric from which many kinds of men’s hats are made, most notably the fedora. By the time the 1920s rolled around, the fedora all but replaced Great Britain’s one-time favorite, the bowler, when Prince Edward became partial to a more elegant look. However, as wearing apparel changed from decade to decade and became increasingly casual, hats for men lost their appeal—but Hollywood came to the rescue.

Lids for Celebs

Buster Keaton wore his trademark pork pie fedora

Buster Keaton in a pork pie fedora.

Silent film star Buster Keaton wore his trademark pork pie fedoras in many of his pictures, crushing them into a shape that was perfectly flat on top. In the 1940s and ‘50s, heavyweight actors like Humphrey Bogart and Frank Sinatra were wearing fedoras both in real life and in their movies. Moving forward, Harrison Ford’s character, Indiana Jones, performed all manner of death-defying feats wearing his somewhat battered fedora. Today a younger generation of actors and musicians has helped to revive the wearing of good-looking hats, especially the Trilby fedora with its narrow brim that can be turned up all the way around in a jaunty, casual manner.

Making the Right Hat Choice

Depending on your personality and comfort level, there are many styles of men’s hats from which to choose when you decide it’s time to wear something on your head other than a baseball cap turned the wrong way:

  • Fedora: A handsome felt hat with a pinched crown, ribbon band and wide brim that is often angled down in front, giving the wearer an air of mystery and sophistication
  • Trilby Hat: A hat fashioned much like the traditional fedora but with a narrower brim, which makes it sportier and easier to wear with casual outfits
  • Pork Pie: Another form of fedora, the pork pie is so named because of the way the crown is pinched around the edge like the pastry entrée you actually bake
  • Flat Hat: Worn often in Great Britain, this cap is flatter, not as rounded as the newsboy cap, and just a bit more versatile; in leather, it can be worn with dressier attire, for example
  • Homburg: Think Al Pacino in “The Godfather”; a hat worn with suits and even more formal attire
  • Bowler or Derby: The sturdy, prim-looking hat with a rounded look worn for decades in Great Britain and European countries; looks great with a bow tie and dark suit

How to Store Your Hat

The thing to remember is that you want your hat to retain its shape, so when you take it off, set it upside down on its crown. This will keep the brim free so that it will not flatten out. You can also put your hat on a peg, but remember not to leave it there for long or gravity from hanging will cause it to change shape. A hat box is the ideal storage container. Keep it in a cool, dry place and add some cedar chips to the box. Not only do they have a nice, rather masculine scent, but cedar is very helpful in keeping moths away.

Keeping Your Hat Clean

A good hat is an investment, so you will want to keep it in great shape. This begins the moment you remove it from your head: Lift it by the brim, not by the crown. This way, you enable the crown to hold its shape. Keep in mind also, that the oils and dirt from your hands can be transferred to your hat, so handle your new chapeau with clean hands. You can remove loose dirt from your hat with gentle brushing; a horsehair brush is recommended. Dust can be wiped away using a slightly damp cloth. There are professional cleaners that are made for hats, but if your felt fedora suffers a smudge or stain, you might first try cleaning it with the help of a makeup sponge or gum eraser.

See our infographic on How to Clean a Hat.

Feeling Like New

People will definitely take notice when you appear in a good-looking hat or flat cap, and you will feel like a new person. A new fedora or homburg may emphasize your manliness and a pork pie may draw out your playful personality. There are many choices to consider, any of which will put you squarely in the midst of the great hat comeback.

Trilby vs. Fedora

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The explosion various hat-related memes over the past few years have sparked a debate has as to what constitutes a Trilby vs. a Fedora.  The fedora became an endangered species towards the end of the 1960’s, and the styles of the 1970’s signaled its death knell.  There are many conspiracies as to why its popularity declined, from President Kennedy being the first president to not wear one to the automobile being too small for a head to wear a hat. In any case, reports of its death have been greatly exaggerated.  Many people held out and wore hats regardless of the fashion of the day, and since the turn of the century, the fedora has made a reemergence – you see them on professional athletes, musicians, actors, politicians, in style magazines and more.

While the hat’s popularity has reemerged, it seems that general knowledge about hat styles, materials, and more has not yet caught up, and the fedora became universally applied to several styles.  This is unsurprising as many hat styles are very similar, with just small changes to various parts of the hat, either in size, shape, or material.

The memes

            Simply type in “fedora meme” to any search engine, and you’ll be bombarded with hundreds of images, some funny, some cringe-worthy, and some just outright mean (it’s much easier to sit behind a keyboard and make fun of someone than to have the confidence to go out and be yourself, although we recommend pairing hats with appropriate apparel, utility, occasions and grooming).  As these memes started popping up from a variety of forums and image boards commenting on people wearing hats, most were identified as a fedora.  And because one of the most popular internet sports is telling someone they’re wrong, comments began popping up correcting the authors that that the hats in question were actually Trilbys.

The Trilby Shape

featured-hatThe trilby is generally considered a specific type of fedora (much like a square is a specific type of rectangle,) but it definitely stands on its own as a specific type of hat.  A trilby generally has a much smaller brim (sometimes called a “Stingy Brim” fedora), and sometimes a taller crown than your standard fedora.  Like a fedora, the trilby has a hat band, usually a ribbon, but unlike the fedora, the trilby has emerged with many more patterns and colors. The brim of the hat is generally flipped up in the back and down in the front.  So in general, if you see a hat that looks like a fedora, but it has a very small brim, chances are it can be considered a Trilby.

The trilby gets its name from George du Maurier’s 1894 novel Trilby, and specifically from the stage production of the play which used the hat style.

At Fedoras.com, we recommend the trilby for individuals who do not have as broad of shoulders, have a skinnier face, and are tall and lengthy. Musicians of late have really embraced the Trilby such as Pharrell, Jason Mraz, and Bruno Mars.  One of the modern icons of trilby fashion is Justin Timberlake, who seems to pull it off very well about 95% of the time (we’ll just ignore the 2001 all-denim suit and denim trilby).

The Fedora

tn_images-W-321003-CHATHAM-jpg_w320_h253The fedora is more of a classic look with a much wider brim then the trilby, and made of more traditional hat materials such as beaver / rabbit / or wool fur felt or mixtures thereof.  Further confusing the landscape, The Panama (ironically of Ecuadorian origin and popularized during the construction of the Panama Canal) hat is pretty much identical in shape to a fedora, but normally made using varieties of straw.  Fedoras traditionally are more subdued and conservative, with earthy tones and colors, and match best with suits and semi-formal wear.  This is especially true due to the wider-shouldered profile suit and sports jackets create.  Fedoras are not limited to just suits, they also seem to fit archaeologists very well, especially with a leather jacket, a whip.  At least if you’re named Harrison Ford.

What Did We Learn?

That you’re probably just wasting your time trying to correct people online, so why not grow a little confidence, grab your own trilby or fedora and make an adventure offline.

James Bond Hats – Sean Connery

With Spectre rocketing out to a great start in theaters, we thought we’d take a look back at some of the hats in the James Bond movies over the years, starting with Sean Connery.  The movie series started in the early 60’s, and as such many of the styles reflect the period.  It should come as no surprise that many more hats were featured in the movies of the 60’s than in those today.

Sean Connery as James Bond

Sean Connery has sported many hats over the years in his stint in the series.  A brown fedora was present for many of the first five movies, starting immediately with the famous gun-barrel opening credits.  Bond’s fedora has a center dent crown and a fairly short brim, so it may be considered a Trilby style fedora by some.  According to The Suits of James Bond, Lock & Co. Hatters provided the fur felt hat for Dr. No., and possibly the next four movies.

View James Bond’s Hat in Dr. No

The hat itself was a dark grey-brown with a grosgrain ribbon hatband.  Some similar styles that we have are our Stetson Prof Wool Felt Fedora and our Bailey of Hollywood Blixen Litefelt Fedora (minus the feather).

View Bond’s Hat in From Russia With Love

Connery also shows up in a few straw hats throughout his stint, especially in tropical climates.  In Goldfinger, Bond shows up in a darker pinch front fedora hat with a dark grosgrain hat band with contrasting stripes.  In Thunderball, he shows up in a natural color straw pork pie or fedora with a plaid hat band.

View Bond’s Straw Hat in Goldfinger

 

View Bond’s Straw Hat in Thunderball

 

We have a few hats available that match both.  For the Goldfinger look, try our Henschel Firm Straw Gentleman’s Fedora or our Bailey of Hollywood Salem Summer Braid Fedora.  While we couldn’t find a plaid hatband, you can easily make your own and add it to our Bailey of Hollywood Wilshire Braid Fedora or our Coronado Straw Fedora.

Bond can also be seen practicing his chipping into a homburg at one point.

Oddjob

Oddjob is a particularly well known henchman due to his proclivity to throw a razor-edged high-crowned bowler hat.  While we do not have any knife-brimmed hats, we do have a number of bowler hats that will suffice.

View Oddjob’s Hat

Other Hats

A number of other characters show up in hats throughout the movies, such as Goldfinger sporting a fedora and a flat cap, Felix Leiter in a pinstripe fedora and others.

View Felix Leiter in a Fedora

View Goldfinger in a Fedora

Emilio Largo in a fedora in Thunderball

Goldfinger and a Caddy in Flat Caps

Artist Spotlight: Bruno Mars

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Bruno Mars @ Warehouse Live – by Brothers Le – https://www.flickr.com/photos/brothersle/5206858671/

You can’t turn on the radio these days without hearing the familiar bass drop and plucky guitar of “Uptown Funk” by Mark Ronson and Bruno Mars. While the song was released late in 2014, it’s upbeat, summery-feel, that sounds like it came straight from the playbook of Prince or Stevie Wonder. However, even the ubiquity of “Uptown Funk” doesn’t surpass the thing Bruno Mars has become even more known for in pop-culture: his ever present fedora.
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Artists and music icons usually have an easier time getting away with certain fashion styles, accessories, and headwear – they’re sort of expected to do and wear things outside of the norm. However, Mars effortlessly styles his hats with an array of dressed up and dressed down looks that are achievable by anyone, but it all comes down to having the right hat. Mars seems to prefer traditional fedora shapes in either a front-pinch or center dent crown, with a rather wide brim. Here are a few styles Mars has sported and some options that will get you uptown funk-ing in no time.

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For this brown, fur-felt hat Mars is seen sporting here, we like the Stetson Eagle for it’s simple style, mid-length brim, and ability to wear the brim flat, or upturned.

bruno_1This hat is another front-pinch, teardrop shaped style that sports a bound, rather than raw edge around the brim. The stingy brims on hat such as the Kangol Litefelt Player are generally worn turned up around the head.

 

bruno_4Another staple of Mars growing hat collection is this black, wool-felt hat with plain lines and a center pinch on the front. We like the Dobbs Fur Felt Dayton for its wide-brim and simple, raw-edge brim.

 

 

Jurassic Park Hats

With Jurassic World roaring out to a record box-office weekend, we thought we’d take a look back at some great Jurassic Park hats that have popped up over the years.

1. Dr. Alan Grant (played by Sam Neill).  Dr. Grant is a paleontologist who enjoys hunting for dinosaur bones before being hunted himself.  He sports a variety of hats throughout the series, mostly wider-brimmed fedoras.  Starting off in Jurassic Park, Dr. Grant is shown wearing a custom-made straw fedora, or panama fedora, with most likely a horsehair hat band with tassles.

Dr. Alan Grant’s Straw Hat in Jurassic Park

While we cannot find an exact copy, we do have two hats that are similar, the Stetson Retro Panama Straw Fedora and the Scala Grade 3 Panama C-Crown Hat.

In Jurassic Park III, Dr. Grant opts for an olive green fur felt fedora with a black ribbon hat band.

 


Dr. Grant’s Felt Fedora in Jurassic Park III

The hat is custom-made and looks to be crushable for travel, but we do have a few similar hats, the Christys’ of London Fur Felt Foldaway Fedora in Burma Green and the Stetson Runabout Travel Fur Felt Fedora in Sage Green.

2. John Hammond (played by Richard Attenborough).  Attenborough can be seen in many hats throughout his storied acting career, but as John Hammond he first appears in a stylish wide-straw hat with a wide white hat band and a telescope crown (no pinches).


John Hammond’s Straw Hat

We were able to find one hat fairly close in style to this custom hat, the Dobbs Florentine Milan Braid Bishop Pork Pie.

3. Robert Muldoon (played by Bob Peck).  Muldoon is the park’s game warden in Jurassic Park, and seems to be one of the few employees who realizes the serious danger everyone in the park could be in at a moment’s notice.  Muldoon meets a memorable fate, but is normally seen wearing an outback hat throughout the movie with one side snapped up.

We have found an almost identical hat in our Henschel Cotton Twill Aussie.

4. Others.  There are quite a few other great hats in the movies throughout the years, especially in the original Jurassic Park:

Dr. Ellie Sattler’s Cotton Bucket Hat

Donald Genarro, “The Blood Sucking Lawyer” wearing a classic Panama Fedora

Dennis Nedry’s contact Dodgson wearing a great raffia fedora trying to “blend in”

A Rant Against the “Performance Polo”

HFedhT43Xgi30cxXuHrm1QUoA4a9rQ1Bx0qBUyklM3stIbxV9obcGnbtCqfFAdgyMbC7Fj6lzmw9i63MeWpPsgLet’s face it guys, we want to look good while generally not going to great lengths to do so.  Sometimes we want to look good to impress others, but more importantly we should do it to improve ourselves.  One article of clothing that has made its way into America’s wardrobes that needs to be severely limited is the Performance Polo.

A Bit of History

A few decades ago, Polyester was dead, as dead as disco.  It still worked great in fabric blends and had its niche uses great for hiking, sports shirts and more due to being lightweight and fast drying.  Then, in the late ‘90’s, a company called Under Amour popped up on the scene aggressively pushing Polyester based fabric shirts for sports use.  They worked great, and Under Armour’s rise since, along with major sports apparel companies following suit, meant that polyester based fabrics spilled out all over the apparel market.  With fabric costs similar to cotton and other blends, the cost to make these “performance” apparel lines are similar, but because companies were able to advertise them as new and improved and as  “performance” gear, they were able to initially sell these goods at a higher price than their cotton counterparts.

Polyester Stuff Can Be Great

As an avid athlete and outdoorsman, I have to say it’s nice having a wide selection of performance apparel available nowadays.  You no longer look like a drowned rat from a long sweaty set on the court or an afternoon hike on a Sunday like you did with soaked cotton shirts.  For certain professions, performance polos are a godsend.  Electricians, roofers, plumbers, groundskeepers, and hundreds more professions that are working in hot, humid areas throughout the day can do so much more comfortably and still look composed when they chat with the customer afterwards.

Where We Went Wrong

I woke up one day to notice that about 95% of the polo shirts in my wardrobe were now Performance Polos, most all 100% Polyester.  While I hadn’t purchased most of them and had gotten many as gifts and at various jobs over the years, letting my closet get this way was certainly my doing.  When I’m at restaurants, or at bars, or out shopping, most of the polos I see nowadays are polyester.  How did that happen??  Ok, I know you’re itching for me to get to the point about why the Performance Polo is so bad, so here goes:

  1. They don’t fit well. While this can be an issue with normal cotton polos, I feel like there are many more cuts and styles of performance polos.  Companies try to create new styles every year, resulting in a wide variety of size and fit differences, even among well-known brands.
  2. They run. Within a few months, any polyester polo I get will inevitably become snagged and the thread begins to run.  It’s fairly obvious and stands out and is hard to fix.
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  3. They are thin. Have you ever seen a woman wearing a performance polo in public without a bra?  These shirts show everything underneath them, and most people don’t want to see outlines of your nipples and nipple-hair when we’re out and about.  At the very least throw on an undershirt (which basically negates the performance aspect of your polo.)
  4. The collars aren’t flattering. The collars generally flatten out wide, so make sure to find narrow collars.  Cheaper weaves can also curl, and no amount of ironing (good luck with ironing polyester) will make them straight again.
  5. They’re rough. Yes, there are some particularly soft weaves, but the vast majority of polos are rough against your skin, and don’t feel that good. Now don’t get me wrong, I embrace rough when appropriate, but I’d prefer a soft cotton polo most times, say on a 5 hour flight.
  6. They aren’t particularly dressy. Look at virtually any fashion magazine – guys wearing polos in photo shoots aren’t wearing polos from their local golf shop.  They’re wearing properly fitted cotton or mixed polos that don’t blind you when a bright light happens to shine on them.  Most performance polos have logos, sports cuts, and look like a lazy man’s idea of dressing up.

So fellas, if you’re interested in looking good in short-sleeve polos this summer, keep the polyester Performance Polos away unless you’re actually going to be sweating.

Carlos Santana’s New Memoir, “The Universal Tone”

Carlos Santana’s career has spanned nearly five decades, 100 million records sold, and 10 Grammy’s won. After moving to the United States from a small town in Mexico, Santana earned his first acclaim in the late 60’s with breakout hit “Samba Pa Ti”, a rendition of a Tito Puente song. In his memoir, “The Universal Tone”, Santana talks about his rise to international music acclaim.

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From the Latin-tinged instrumental jams of Santana’s first self-titled release, and second breakthrough album “Abraxas”, all the way to the cameo-filled, Grammy sweeping “Supernatural”, Carlos Santana’s varied, arduous career is one worth reading up on.

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Shown wearing a Carlos Santana Essential Fur Fedora

Covering everything from his experiences in Mexico with his father, also a musician, shaping his aspiration to play music, to his first brushes with being an internationally renowned musician (credit suarez), “The Universal Tone” leaves no subject about the life of Carlos Santana untouched.

We’ve selected a few of Santana’s best stage looks, including the iconic, almost-never forgotten fedora that tops his look.

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Carlos Santana’s own line of hats, Santana, has a take on this straw fedora. The Carlos Santana Fenix Straw Fedora

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The newsboy-cap styled Carlos Santana Shango 8/4 Cap

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Straw, western/Panama hybrid Carlos Santana Bora Wide Brim Straw Fedora

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Wearing a similarly styled Carlos Santana Woodstock Fedora

‘Justified’ to End It’s 6 Season Run Next Year

‘Justified’, the FX series starring and produced by Timothy Olyphant will conclude its run after next years 6th season.

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The series has followed Deputy U.S. Deputy Marshall Raylan Givens, a sort of modern day throwback to old west lawmen, relocated back to his hometown of Harlan County, Kentucky. While the series gained a huge following since it’s debut in 2010, show star and co-producer Tim Olyphant said the decision to end the show came about because he and the producers thought that the story arc throughout the series could be completely satisfied in 6 seasons, and didn’t want the show to become stale.

Iconic to Givens and rarely seen without it is his Stetson hat, seen here:

JUSTIFIED: Timothy Olyphant as Raylan Givens. CR: Frank Ockenfels III / FX

 

‘Justified’ star Raylan Givens wearing a Stetson Marshall 4X Western Hat

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Raylan Givens with season 3 character Ellstin Limehouse, wearing a take on a Scala Grade 3 Panama

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Stetson Marshall 4X Western Hat

Olyphant, no stranger to playing shows and characters with a western feel, previously acted on HBO’s Deadwood (credit edgar), as Sherriff and store owner Seth Bullock, seen here in a homburg-style hat: deadwood_the_complete_series_31

Cowboy Hats: Myths and Superstition

Historically, cowboy hats have been used for many things. Cowboy hats descended from similar wide brimmed, tall-crown hats of different varieties since as early as the 13th century. But the Cowboy hat popular in the American west is a true icon and has a lot of interesting lore that surrounds it. Did you know that it’s bad luck to lay your hat on your bed? The sport of rodeo has attributed to many of the myths, so here are some of the superstitions and myths that came to surround this great American icon.


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Stetson Marshall 4X Western Hat

1.) Laying Your Hat on Your Bed Will Bring Bad luck.

It’s hard to say where this one originated, but it’s safe to say that it has permeated Western and cowboy culture thoroughly. According to the superstition, placing your hat on your bed brings general bad luck to the owner of the hat. It’s said that rodeo cowboys will avoid doing this at all costs, because they believe they will lose their next rodeo if they receive the myths bad luck.

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Stetson Grant New Frontier Western Hat

2.) Never Change the Name of Your Horse

Once a horse’s name is set, it should never be changed. This is the saying on many ranches across the US. If the horses name is changed at any point, bad luck will come across that horse.

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Stetson Seneca Buffalo Fur Felt Western Hat

3.) Laying Your Hat Upside-Down

Having a proper hat box is essential for storing your cowboy hat. As the superstition goes, your hat should be stored with the opening facing up, so as to “catch luck” inside of it. Alternatively, laying your hat with the opening down allows all the luck to fall out. This myth has roots in rodeo culture as well, as you need all the luck you can take before competing. Stetson and Resistol provide sturdy, branded boxes that store your hat in this manner!

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Stetson Griffin 100X Premier Western Hat

4.) Wear Two Different Colored Socks in the Ring

You’ have to have a certain amount of luck every time you jump on a rodeo bull, no matter how skilled you are. This one is about pure luck. It is said that if you wear two different colored socks, you’re better off than wearing a matching pair.

 

Kingsman: The Secret Service – On Samuel L. Jackson and Hats

There is perhaps no more recognizable actor/celebrity hat pairing than Samuel L. Jackson and Kangol. Since his debut on the film scene, Jackson is one of the reasons Kangol is the household name it is today.

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Samuel L. Jackson’s new film, Kingsman: The Secret Service, co-starring Colin Firth and based off of a graphic novel of the same name, is about a secret agent veteran who takes a young protege under his wing.

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Recently, Samuel L. Jackson teamed up with Kangol and produced his own line of hats. Here’s a small selection of Jackson’s hats and Kangol’s he has worn over the years:

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KANGOL Samuel L. Jackson P2i Golf Tropic 504 Ventair

As seen in the first picture, THE quintessential Samuel L. Jackson Kangol Cap, produced in his signature style.

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KANGOL Seamless Wool 507

Similar to the previous hat, this model features a slightly tighter, sleeker body. Made out of seamless wool to keep the heat in, perfect for fall.

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KANGOL Furgora Casual

Bucket hats have blown up this year, and this KANGOL is no exception. This faux-fur blend is a fall and winter take on a bucket hat, featuring all the warmth you except from a winter hat in all the style of summer.

colinfirth As seen in the Kingsman: The Secret Service trailer, seen here is a take on this KANGOL cap:

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KANGOL Tropic Ventair Spacecap

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