Billionaire Jeff Bezos has once again found himself at the center of controversy, this time for his choice of headwear. The Amazon founder has been slammed by critics for his recent Vogue photoshoot, in which he donned a cowboy hat alongside his fiancée, Lauren Sánchez.
Bezos, who is currently the third-wealthiest man in the world, has faced backlash for his attempts at assimilating into the working class by wearing Western clothing. This isn’t the first time Bezos has been caught sporting a cowboy hat. In fact, he first donned the accessory during his trip to space in a Blue Origin rocket earlier this year.
However, Bezos’ latest stunt has not gone over well with the public. Many have taken to social media to mock the billionaire’s fashion choices. One user even went as far as to accuse Bezos of stealing Kenny Chesney’s stylist.
Western clothing has long been used by the ultra-rich in an attempt to blend in with the common folk. Former Mexican president Vicente Fox famously called out then-president George W Bush for being a “windshield cowboy,” referring to his ability to drive a pickup truck but not ride a horse.
Bezos isn’t the only billionaire to jump on the cowboy hat bandwagon. His fellow space cowboy, Elon Musk, recently sported a Stetson at the US-Mexico border, causing a similar backlash.
Experts and real-life cowboys have weighed in on Bezos’ hat of choice, with many asserting that it comes across as a costume rather than a legitimate fashion statement. Michael Grauer, a curator at the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum, has lectured extensively on the subject and believes that wearing Western attire is a way to “appropriate the symbol” of the American cowboy, an idealistic figure associated with freedom and integrity.
Bill Reynolds, co-author of The Cowboy Hat Book, has a similar sentiment. He points out that when a person puts on a cowboy hat, it changes their perspective on themselves, giving them a sense of individualism and strength. However, he argues that this symbol is incongruent with Bezos’ image as the face of a second Gilded Age.
Some have suggested that the issue lies in proportion, as big brim hats can “look like a sprinkler head” on shorter individuals like Bezos, who stands at 5ft 7in.
Despite the criticism, Bezos seems to be having fun with his fashion choices. Some have even speculated that his cowboy photoshoot was an attempt to soften his image, as he faces increasing scrutiny over his immense wealth and power.
In conclusion, whether Bezos was simply having fun or trying to appeal to a different demographic, his cowboy hat choice has sparked controversy and criticism. It remains to be seen if this will affect the billionaire’s public image in the long run.