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; Mary Donaldson (a week before her wedding), May 5, 2004;
Zara Phillips, April 15, 2001; Queen Elizabeth, March 16, 2006
Princess Marie of Denmark, June 30, 2008; Princess Anne at Ascot, June 19, 2014;
Queen Elizabeth at Ascot, June 18, 2009; the Countess of Wessex, April 23, 2006
Queen Elizabeth, July 20, 2011; Autumn Phillips, November 19, 2007;
Princess Marie, October 7, 2008; Viscountess Linley, June 10, 2001
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 Graham, STR/Stringer, Julian 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