Over the years there have been hundreds of various hat styles that man has used to cover his head. From the tricorne and bicorne of the 18th century to the baseball cap of today. At the bottom of this post you will find an infographic illustrating the most popular men’s formal hat styles.
The traditional colors for felt dress hats are gray, brown, and black. In the mid to late 20th century other colors started appearing. Now you can find hats in many shades of blue, gray, green, tan and more. Brighter colors are of course available but you will never see me sporting a bright colored hat. I like to keep my headwear classic and stylish, not gaudy and boorish.
It is frequently cited online that John F. Kennedy attending his inauguration hatless, signaled the decline in hats as a common men’s accessory. This is however false as Kennedy wore the traditional top hat to his inauguration. In fact, he was the last president to do so.
During the late 1700s the top hat began replacing tricornes and bicornes. Originally made of fur felt, it eventually would be made with silk. Today a genuine silk top hat is quite rare to find in good condition. Top hats were originally reserved for the upper classes.
Bowler Hat (Derby)
The bowler hat is a hard felt hat like the top hat. However, it is much less tall and is rounded. It’s said the hat was created in 1949 for British politician Edward Coke.
The Homburg hat was invented sometime between the 1860s and 1880s. One of my favorite features of the Homburg is the ribbon around the brim of the hat. Gentleman’s Gazette has a great article on the Homburg hat.
One of the most common formal hat types worn today, the fedora got a boost in popularity when Harrison Ford wore one as Indiana Jones. Here you can find more information on the fedora. The fedora was also likely first created around the 1880s.
The trilby is similar to the fedora and is named after a 1894 novel as the hat was worn when the novel was turned into a play. The difference is in the upturned back brim and the shorter brim width. They are a good looking hat for those with narrow faces.
Pork Pie Hat
Originally worn by women during the 1930s, the pork pie hat eventually caught on with gentlemen as well. The pork pie has a narrower brim and is typically short in height although its height and width have varied over the years.
Panama hats were originally created in Ecuador and got their name from being shipped through the Panama. While Panama hats have changed somewhat over time, they are made in an off-white color and have been around since at least the early 1830s.
Stay true to yourself. Be kind to others. Define your own style.
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