When it comes to men’s hat styles, retailers make the waters muddy by interchanging their use of names instead of sticking to the main individual style criteria.
Although since the 1970’s the use of hats by men has reduced dramatically, there has been a resurgence over recent years so to give you a clearer picture we have broken down five key styles for you to try.
The trilby has an angled, narrow brim, slightly turned up at the back. Its name comes from the 1894 novel ‘Trilby’ when a hat of this style was worn during a play production of the novel.
The popularity of the hat reached its peak in the 1960’s and stirs up images in my mind of hazy days of tanned men smoking cigars. But its practicality when being worn in automobiles over higher hats was the real reason for its mass appeal.
Even though it has similarities to the trilby, the fedora has a wider brim. With its pinched sides it is creased lengthways down the crown. Like the trilby its name comes from a play ‘Fedora’, during which one of the main protagonists wears a soft brimmed hat with a centre crease. Its popularity grew rapidly after Prince Edward was worn wearing the hat in 1924 and this coincided with the rise of Prohibition and US gangsters who also favoured the hat style.
The brim of a men’s fedora can be bent up or down offering the wearer more flexibility and as such led to more adaption from the wider public.
The pork pie has a circular brim with a flattened top. Its origin can be traced back to the American Civil War when both US and English women wore the style of hat. But over a varied history the pork pie has been given great recognition during film, with as far back as silent movie actors wearing them. In the 1970’s both Gene Hackman in French Connection and Robert DeNIro in Mean Streets both wore pork pie hats.
More recently the ska scene of the late 70’s and 80’s in the UK ensured the pork pie will forever have a cultural and social appeal to many men.
A much more formal hat style for men, it has connotations with the banking industry in the UK with stuffy executives pairing the hat with their pinstripe suits. It was originally designed in 1849 by the hat makers William and Thomas Bowler to fulfill a commissioned order for a hat that would protect the heads of gamekeepers on horseback from tree branches.
The bowler hat has a stiff rounded dome, and a short curled brim. Other names for this style include the bob hat, billycock , bombin or the more familiar derby.
If you thought the hat style came from Panama you would be mistaken. They were actually originally made in Ecuador and shipped to Panama for sailors and those working on the Panama Canal.
Made from woven palm leaves the shape is similar in size to a fedora with the same down in front, curled at the back features of a trilby. A slightly less formal option than its complimentary cousins its flexible weave can withstand many soakings making it suitable for tropical climates.
Sam Brady is a menswear expert, having worked in or around the field for the past 14 years. He has built up a keen eye for detail when it comes to the production of clothing, and is happy showcasing the craftsmanship of Savile Row and Jermyn St. But he understands the need for an interchangeable modern man’s wardrobe that mixes high street and luxury clothing.