Author's Note: I almost put this as a new chapter in From One Prison to Another, but I felt that it needed a series of its own, and it also refers to scenes throughout the entire first season instead of just the first episode. This is almost like a list of what makes Neal, Neal. As the first part of the series, it is called "His Fedora Hat," an item that has become a signature Neal Caffrey accessory during the first season.

Disclaimer: I do not own White Collar, nor am I making any profit off of this.

~oOoOoOo~

As a conman, appearance is everything. Your clothes, hair style, body language, the way you walk, everything about how you look can make or break a deal within mere seconds. If you wanted a certain five hundred million famous Goya painting owned by a presitgious private collector, were you just going to walk in from the street wearing overalls and a Budweiser cap and attempt to convince him you're an art dealer, or were you going to saunter up wearing a Devore suit, black fedora hat, expensive cuff links and tie clip, looking like you owned the world? Yes, you would choose the Devore. If a conman was smart he'd choose the Devore. And Neal Caffrey's a smart man.

Widely known as one of the most intelligent conmen in the world, Neal Caffrey didn't simply make it that far on just his big brain. A conman could be the smartest guy in the world, smarter than Albert Einstein and Stephen Hawking put together, but if he didn't look smart then how would other people know it?

There's a certain reason why nerds and geeks look like nerds and geeks.

The thing about being a conman, though, and weasling his way into a situation that may require him to change his personality, appearance or entire identity within the span of a few years, months or even minutes is that he needs the right outfit for the job. If you needed to convince a murdering ancient Chinese art thief that you could help here out, you'd wear the Devore suit to make her believe that you knew what you were talking about; if you needed to get a travel agent with a son to give you confidential, personal information on another criminal, you'd ruffle up your hair and mess up your shirt to make her believe you were in a real hurry.

But other than the ever constant need to turn into someone in the blink of an eye, Neal chose the Devore suit mainly because it was fashion. Clothes could make a self-conscious man a confident one, a less intelligent man more intelligent than anyone else in the room. And a Devore suit, something that could never truly go out of style in his opinion, was a piece of fashion that boosted his ego. It helped to make him the charming, intelligent ex-con that he was.

If one ever walked up to the ex-con, and asked him curiously why he wore a fedora hat with his suits every day, Neal would just smile his charming smile, give a tilt of said head accessory and appropriately walk off, leaving them to wonder. His fedora hat wasn't an accessory used to make Neal into another person. It was an accessory used to make Neal, Neal.

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My information on the cases in the middle of the chapter may be a little off. I haven't re-watched the shows yet to know everything by heart, and this came out a little shorter than I intended, but I felt it was a good start to a new story line. To see the other chapters I plan to post in this story, you can look on my profile.