History: The Homburg hat was a formal men’s daytime hat that emerged in the Bad Homburg vor der Höhe region around Hesse Germany in the mid 1800s. The style flew to mainstream popularity in the 1880s after King Edward VII paid a visit to the area and brought back a hat. He was thrilled when it was replicated and his aids, wishing to further flatter his vanity, further encouraged milliners to copy the style.
British Prime Minister Anthony Eden embraced this style and when, as a young politician, his dapper dress sense brought him to prominence, he started a resurgence of popularity for the homburg as well. This renaissance is oven attributed to Winston Churchill, who also wore this style but the hat was so connected to Anthony Eden that by the end of the 1930s, Savile Row referred to it as “The Eden”. Still popular in the early 1950s, US President Dwight Eisenhower broke with tradition at his 1953 inauguration, wearing a black homburg instead of a top hat.
Like other daytime hats worn by men, the homburg fell into obscurity during the second half of the 20th century (except for a brief comeback in the early 1970s after Al Pacino wore one in the film The Godfather). Today, the style is seldom seen outside of Orthodox Jewish communities.
Characteristics: A formal felt hat with a “gutter crown” – a single dent running down the center of the crown – and a stiff bound edge brim shaped in a gently upturned “kettle curl”. Unlike a fedora, a homberg does not have any ‘pinches’ at the front of the crown- the crown sides are smooth with that signature dent and resulting humps on top.
Royals associated with this style of hat today: Worn by many male royals in the early 20th century, these days we see an occasional variation of the masculine shape on royal ladies. Much less popular than a fedora (which seems like a more flattering shape for a women to wear), we seldom see a homburg on a contemporary royal head.
Queen Elizabeth in Rachel Trevor Morgan November 21, 2013; Queen Margrethe on April 8, 1970;
Countess of Wessex in Philip Treacy April 20, 2003;
Queen Margrethe on May 9, 2007; Duke of York (later King George VI) in July 1923;
Queen Mathilde in Fabienne Delvigne March 14, 2018;
Princess Anne in John Boyd May 1969 and March 14, 2014
It’s not often that a new style of hat becomes popular from its association with a particular royal wearing it- that makes the homburg notable for me. What do you think of this traditional and distinguished hat shape?