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Pith Helmet

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Taking the Pith

The de rigeur head wear of colonialism that is undergoing something of a renaissance in sunnier climes. The pith helmet - so called because of the cork (or pith) used in its manufacture - was the chosen attire of the men who built the Empire and has become a badge of colonial rule in its own right.

Available in varying styles, the most well known being the Foreign Service Helmet - immortalised by Michael Caine in his seminal take on Victorian warfare, Zulu. The Wolsley pattern gives the wearer that 1920s retro look, and is more suitable for mixing with the locals than the aggressive-looking Caine pattern lid.

Both are available in either khaki or white - the latter being more suitable for evening wear. Top it off with a pugaree in regimental colours (an ARRSE tie fits the bill perfectly) and cut a dash on the streets of Kabul - the locals will love it and will no doubt shed a tear of nostalgia.

Other styles emulate the French colonial period, but these make the wearer look like either a big game hunter, a Vietnamese cooly, or a total cnut and should (ideally) be avoided.

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