Hat Types: The Stovepipe

Stovepipe | Royal Hats

History: During their peak of popularity in the 1849s and 1850s, Top Hats also grew in height. This new variation, with a straight-sided crown approximately eight inches in height, was named the Stovepipe. At the start of his second term as US president in 1864, Abraham Lincoln had adopted this style of hat and it remains synonymous with him even today. Like the closely-related Top Hat, Stovepipe Hats fell out of mainstream fashion during the World Wars.

During the late 1950s and 1960s, one of the hat shapes that became fashionable in women’s millinery was a hat with a tall, squared crown and short, downward facing brim. This silhouette, a cross between a stovepipe and a cloche hat, became what we now consider to be a Stovepipe hat. This hat underwent a slight surge of popularity just after the turn of the last century.

Characteristics: a tall hat with a small brim. The crown might be square, diagonal or rounded but is visibly tall. Most Stovepipe hats have a slightly downward facing brim but occasionally, the brim is flat.

Royals Associated with this Hat Style: We have seen a tall crowned hat on many younger royals, especially during the early 2000s. These days, however, this hat shape is a common one for Queen Elizabeth.

Queen Elizabeth, March 24, 2011 in Angela Kelly | Royal Hats Crown Princess Mary of Denmark, May 5, 2004 in Susanne Juul | Royal Hats Zara Phillips, April 15, 2001 | Royal Hats Queen Elizabeth, March 16, 2006 | Royal Hats

Queen Elizabeth, March 24, 2011; Mary Donaldson (a week before her wedding), May 5, 2004;
Zara Phillips, April 15, 2001; Queen Elizabeth, March 16, 2006

 2008-06-30  2006-04-23

Princess Marie of Denmark, June 30, 2008; Princess Anne at Ascot, June 19, 2014;
the Countess of Wessex, April 23, 2006

2011-07-20 2007-11-19 2008-10-07 2001-06-10 

Queen Elizabeth, July 20, 2011; Autumn Phillips, November 19, 2007;
Princess Marie, October 7, 2008; Viscountess Linley, June 10, 2001

2014-06-24 Northern Ireland 4 2009-05-27 2011-04-21

Queen Elizabeth, June 24, 2014; Princess Máxima of the Netherlands, May 27, 2009;
Queen Elizabeth, April 20, 2011; Crown Princess Mary, January 10, 2012

I find it very interesting that this variation of the Top Hat has morphed into a relatively common silhouette for female millinery while the traditional Top Hat remains a men’s hat. The Stovepipe’s characteristic shape lends itself to a dramatic look that can easily stand out in a crowd (one of the purposes of a royal hat). Sometimes, however, the tall crown and narrow brim can look off balance and overpowering. Are you a fan of the royal Stovepipe?

Photos from Bauer Griffin via Zimbio; Scanpix via TV2; Tim GrahamSTR/StringerJulian Parker, Julian Parker, Julian Herbert and Tim Graham via Getty; Bauer Griffin via Zimbio; Tim Graham via Getty; Hanne Juul via Billed Bladet; UK Press and WPA Pool via Getty; Patrick van Katwijk via Monarchy Press; Chris Jackson/Getty via Zimbio and Julian Parker via Getty

10 thoughts on “Hat Types: The Stovepipe

  1. I think the secret to this hat shape, and the top hat for women as well, is to avoid the crown being too tall, ensure most of the face can still be seen, and ensure the hat is not over-trimmed. That is why I think it works best in the last photo of CP Mary, as other commenters have also mnetioned, as the color is good and solid, the trim is simple, the crown is not too tall, the brim is in proportion, and the asymmetry adds interest and enables her face to be seen.

    I can’t say I like it much on the Queen, though she looks good in the last photo of her in the bright blue hat, though I still would have preferred the crown was not quite so tall.

    Overall, it isn’t one of my favorite hat shapes, and I think designers need to put a lot of thought into the hat, and what the royal will wear with it, so everything stays relatively simple and in proportion, otherwise it can look like a costume party hat, as it does here on Princess Anne.

  2. My favorite hat shapes include a large brim, but this shape pleases my eye. I especially loved that soft, gray hat that Princess Mary is wearing and the cream color hat with the gorgeous “bow” worn by Viscountess Linley. I’m glad you highlighted this hat shape!!

  3. Not my favorite style, by far. Although, I think it looks the best on Princess Marie due to the shape of her face.

  4. I don’t think everyone can wear it, but, for those who can, this style can work… Princess Marie wears it well, as do Princess Mary and (to a lesser extent) Princess Anne and Zara Philips. Scale is definitely key to making this look work!

  5. dear me , no! The only one that looks good in that is Princess Mary in the last picture And it is still a little on the comical side. Sophie, last one, second row, looks like she just stepped out of Downton Abby. Princess Marie, third, row, third picture, looks good in that one. But the rest would be best left in an attic.

    • I agree, it’s not my favorite shape. I’m surprised how many different royals have worn it! It seems very dated to the 1990s.

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