Pike Place Market fishmongers

RUBBER BOOTS by Xtratuf, $65 at Seattle Marine and Fishing Supply Co. (2121 W Commodore Way, 800-426-2783).

These fishmongers are dressed, head to toe, in space-age polymers; their boots are made of neoprene. The synthetic rubbers and plastics are made of long molecules that are, ironically, linked with hormonal malfunctions in fish, like eggs appearing in the testes of river roach in the UK.

BIB PANTS by Grundéns Foulweather Gear, $65, also available at Seattle Marine.

The fish boys' orange pants—which are coated in PVC—are as iconic as the Hooters girls' tight T-shirts. "Girls will say we look cute in our orange pants. Well, there's room for two in there!" Hall goes through about three pairs of pants a year. Does he have to buy them? "No."

SWEATSHIRT, $35, and T-SHIRT, $15 at Pike Place Fish Market (86 Pike Place, 800-542-7732) and made of cotton/polyester blends.

Employees receive two per year and must purchase subsequent pairs.

SEAHAWKS CAP, $20 outside Qwest Field (800 Occidental Ave S) on the Saturday before Seattle's NFC championship game.

Baseball's greatest achievement has been its cap, which is now worn by golfers, truckers, and Michael Moore. The first baseball team, the Knickerbockers, wore hats made of straw, but modern cap technology emerged in the 1940s, when latex (synthetically made by polymerizing a "monomer" or small molecule) replaced cotton as the stiffening material inside the visor, allowing the brims to be longer to block the glare of bright sunshine. During that same decade, football helmets had become mandatory for college and professional teams, but they were still made of flimsy leather and were sometimes mistaken for aviator caps. Some contemporary football players, inspired by the excellent design of the baseball hat, use visors on their helmets—made of polycarbonate, another polymer.