The porkpie hat, popularized by Gene Hackman when he wore...

The porkpie hat, popularized by Gene Hackman when he wore one in 1971's "The French Connection" (the chase scene alone is worth the rental), now in a classy felt version called the "Tony" from Eugenia Kim, $270; at, or try some of her cotton and woven options at Saks Fifth Avenue and Credit: Handout

Cedric the Entertainer isn't known for a surname. (It's Kyles.) But he is known for a certain accessory. So when he transformed from mere celebrity to global brand this summer, he didn't roll out sunglasses or fragrance. (Would anyone buy Eau de Ced?) He launched the "Who Ced?" hat line.

"I didn't want to do something that wasn't genuine -- I wear hats all the time," he explains.

Same goes for R&B recording artist Ne-Yo, who this fall launched the Francis Ellargo collection of Rat Pack-ish fedoras. Nice timing, guys.

Fedora sales have risen in recent years, thanks to -- do we even need to say it? -- a particular TV series about 1960s ad men.

" 'Mad Men' initiated the resurgence of men's accessories in general -- hats, briefcases, the pocket square," says Kevin Harter, Bloomingdale's vice president of fashion for men's and home. "It just keeps pushing and pushing."

New retro-'60s shows like "Pan Am" and "The Playboy Club" will fuel interest more. Meanwhile, European designers showed Amish-like, wide brims on runways this year (think "True Grit" without the dust).

That's for fashion-forward dudes, Harter admits. "For everyone else, we've got smaller- brimmed fedoras and porkpie hats."

And good ole knit caps. "Oh, yeah," Harter agrees. "They're still big business."

Hall of famers

Why should rockers and sports stars get all the fame? Or all the halls, for that matter? For the past three years, the Headwear Association (a 103-year-old industry group) has inducted hat lovers (men and women) into the Headwear Hall of Fame, including Jackie Kennedy, Sarah Jessica Parker and, this year, Ne-Yo and Carlos Santana. The just-announced inductees for 2012 include Fred Astaire, LL Cool J and Kid Rock.


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