My blue hat

In 2011, I found this blue hat in a thrift store in Raleigh, North Carolina. Looks good! I thought to myself while trying it out in front of a mirror—I bought it for seven dollars.

Even though I remember owning (and wearing) hats when I was young, I was not a big fan of hats during my teenage years, probably because I had short hair and I don't like to wear hats when my hair is too short. It wasn't until I started letting my curls grow—and found this blue hat—that I started wearing them.

"Tri State Tank West, Inc. Sacramento, CA," reads the cap. It's a Calhead style #92 made out of cotton and polyester in Taiwan by California Headwear (Calhead), 661 Rio St. Los Angeles, California, 90023.1

I searched the internet for references to California Headwear and their style 92 and found similar hats, also from Calhead, sold as vintage hats on sites like eBay. Air Space America 88, Jack Daniels, Iowa Rose Bowl 1991, Ross for Boss 1992, Chip, Dole Hawaii. Then, googling Tri-State Tank West, I found two hats of the same exact design but different colors—red and white—on eBay, listed as Vintage Tri State Tank West Sacramento California Baseball Hat Red Snapback Cap. Their price? $41.41 and $51.97.

Ever since I bought it, this has been my hat. I've worn it on sunny and cloudy days, not only while living in Raleigh but on trips around the world, including Australia, London, Spain, Greece, Cambridge, and many, many other places. (I also wore it in this short film recorded in the desert of Almería.)

Now, I have it here with me in San Francisco, California. After eight years, it's getting old. So it might be about time to get a new one.

  1. Tri-State Tank West, Inc. seems to be a truck tank company created back in the 1980s. You can buy some of their swag online—including keyrings. California Headwear is the manufacturer that made the hats for them. 

October 1, 2019
Nono Martínez Alonso

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Pencil sketch of Nono Martínez Alonso.