I am excited to launch a new series here on the blog entitled “Hat Types”. Over the coming months, we will explore different types of hats – what characteristics are common to this type of hat as well as what variations we see in royal hats in this style – and build a glossary of hat types. We begin today with the Fedora.
History: The Italian milliner Borsalino created a felt hat with a center crease in the crown in 1857– this hat became his trademark. A decade later in 1889, Sarah Bernhardt performed the role of Princess Fédora in a play of the same name by Victorien Sardou. In the play, she wore one of the Borsalino type hats with a center crease and soft brim. The style took off and voilà- the Fedora went mainstream! During it’s first wave of popularity, fedoras were worn by women; during the 1920s this hat became part of men’s fashion. These days, we see them more on royal men than we do on royal women.
Characteristics: A lengthwise crease down the center of the crown with a visible “pinch” in the front on both sides. Crowns may have varied shape (teardrop, diamond, tall oval etc) and the “pinch” may be subtle but should still be visible. Brims are usually 2.5 inches (6.3 centimeters) wide. Panama hats are an informal fedora made of natural straw (see a few from our summer poll here). A note of caution- fedoras are often confused with Homburg and Trilby hats. We’ll look at these hats in coming weeks.
Variations on the Fedora:
Princess Claire of Belgium in a toile fedora with diagonally upturned brim, July 21, 2004;
Princess Mathilde of Belgium in a relaxed fedora with double side pinches on King’s Day, November 15, 2010
Princess Irene of the Netherlands in a white fedora with an oversize curved brim, December 11, 2004
Princess Marie of Denmark in an oversize Panama fedora hat, October 2012
Prince Charles in a relaxed leather fedora with large brim in Australia, November 5, 2012
What do you think of the Fedora as a hat style?
Photos from Patrick van Katwijk via Getty; David Sica via Expressen; Carlos Alvarez, Ragnar Singsaas, Max Mumby/Indigo, Max Mumby/Indigo, Max Mumby/Indigo; Dave M. Bennett, via Getty; Patrick van Katwijk via Corbis; Albert Nieboer via PPE; Lesoir; Royal Press Europe; Splash News via Corbis; Michel Porro/Stringer via Getty; and Chris Jackson via Getty