Every Gnome wears a hat. At birth, baby Gnomelings are fitted with special yellow hats that they wear and annually have resized until they come of age. A Gnome’s coming of age is generally around forty years old, when a male sprouts a full grown beard overnight, and a female Gnome suddenly grows her hair all the way down to her ankles. At this time, the Gnome must choose the hat that they will wear daily for the rest of their lives, and remove only to bathe.
The Gnome hat is much more significant than a mere item of clothing. The hat is thought to be a reflection of the Gnome’s being and personality. Gnomish scholars have compiled incredibly detailed tomes, enumerating upon the the significance of each color, hue, tint, tone, shade and its corresponding meaning. For instance, a brick red hat is thought to be worn by Gnomes who value tradition and honor above all else; they thrive on order, and live to serve others by performing good works.
While other creatures have come to believe that Gnomes draw magical power from their hats, this is not so. However, Gnomes do gain a remarkable sense of security and confidence from their hats, and without it, the effect is noticeable.
If a Gnome is to ever lose his hat, it is like losing a loved one. The Gnome will try his hardest to find or retrieve the hat wherever it was lost. In some rare cases, Gnomes are so deeply affected by the loss of a hat, that the event casts a pallor on the rest of their days. But in all cases, the loss of a hat is a sign that a Gnome must reevaluate his life, and choose another color that best represents his current standing.