The Great Hat Comeback

Hats became fashionable for men during the 14th century. At that time, they were used for both formal and casual occasions and were made of several kinds of material, such as velvet, silk, taffeta, beaver fur or felt. Of those options, felt is the modern fabric from which many kinds of men’s hats are made, most notably the fedora. By the time the 1920s rolled around, the fedora all but replaced Great Britain’s one-time favorite, the bowler, when Prince Edward became partial to a more elegant look. However, as wearing apparel changed from decade to decade and became increasingly casual, hats for men lost their appeal—but Hollywood came to the rescue.

Lids for Celebs

Buster Keaton wore his trademark pork pie fedora

Buster Keaton in a pork pie fedora.

Silent film star Buster Keaton wore his trademark pork pie fedoras in many of his pictures, crushing them into a shape that was perfectly flat on top. In the 1940s and ‘50s, heavyweight actors like Humphrey Bogart and Frank Sinatra were wearing fedoras both in real life and in their movies. Moving forward, Harrison Ford’s character, Indiana Jones, performed all manner of death-defying feats wearing his somewhat battered fedora. Today a younger generation of actors and musicians has helped to revive the wearing of good-looking hats, especially the Trilby fedora with its narrow brim that can be turned up all the way around in a jaunty, casual manner.

Making the Right Hat Choice

Depending on your personality and comfort level, there are many styles of men’s hats from which to choose when you decide it’s time to wear something on your head other than a baseball cap turned the wrong way:

  • Fedora: A handsome felt hat with a pinched crown, ribbon band and wide brim that is often angled down in front, giving the wearer an air of mystery and sophistication
  • Trilby Hat: A hat fashioned much like the traditional fedora but with a narrower brim, which makes it sportier and easier to wear with casual outfits
  • Pork Pie: Another form of fedora, the pork pie is so named because of the way the crown is pinched around the edge like the pastry entrée you actually bake
  • Flat Hat: Worn often in Great Britain, this cap is flatter, not as rounded as the newsboy cap, and just a bit more versatile; in leather, it can be worn with dressier attire, for example
  • Homburg: Think Al Pacino in “The Godfather”; a hat worn with suits and even more formal attire
  • Bowler or Derby: The sturdy, prim-looking hat with a rounded look worn for decades in Great Britain and European countries; looks great with a bow tie and dark suit

How to Store Your Hat

The thing to remember is that you want your hat to retain its shape, so when you take it off, set it upside down on its crown. This will keep the brim free so that it will not flatten out. You can also put your hat on a peg, but remember not to leave it there for long or gravity from hanging will cause it to change shape. A hat box is the ideal storage container. Keep it in a cool, dry place and add some cedar chips to the box. Not only do they have a nice, rather masculine scent, but cedar is very helpful in keeping moths away.

Keeping Your Hat Clean

A good hat is an investment, so you will want to keep it in great shape. This begins the moment you remove it from your head: Lift it by the brim, not by the crown. This way, you enable the crown to hold its shape. Keep in mind also, that the oils and dirt from your hands can be transferred to your hat, so handle your new chapeau with clean hands. You can remove loose dirt from your hat with gentle brushing; a horsehair brush is recommended. Dust can be wiped away using a slightly damp cloth. There are professional cleaners that are made for hats, but if your felt fedora suffers a smudge or stain, you might first try cleaning it with the help of a makeup sponge or gum eraser.

See our infographic on How to Clean a Hat.

Feeling Like New

People will definitely take notice when you appear in a good-looking hat or flat cap, and you will feel like a new person. A new fedora or homburg may emphasize your manliness and a pork pie may draw out your playful personality. There are many choices to consider, any of which will put you squarely in the midst of the great hat comeback.

Trilby vs. Fedora


The explosion various hat-related memes over the past few years have sparked a debate has as to what constitutes a Trilby vs. a Fedora.  The fedora became an endangered species towards the end of the 1960’s, and the styles of the 1970’s signaled its death knell.  There are many conspiracies as to why its popularity declined, from President Kennedy being the first president to not wear one to the automobile being too small for a head to wear a hat. In any case, reports of its death have been greatly exaggerated.  Many people held out and wore hats regardless of the fashion of the day, and since the turn of the century, the fedora has made a reemergence – you see them on professional athletes, musicians, actors, politicians, in style magazines and more.

While the hat’s popularity has reemerged, it seems that general knowledge about hat styles, materials, and more has not yet caught up, and the fedora became universally applied to several styles.  This is unsurprising as many hat styles are very similar, with just small changes to various parts of the hat, either in size, shape, or material.

The memes

            Simply type in “fedora meme” to any search engine, and you’ll be bombarded with hundreds of images, some funny, some cringe-worthy, and some just outright mean (it’s much easier to sit behind a keyboard and make fun of someone than to have the confidence to go out and be yourself, although we recommend pairing hats with appropriate apparel, utility, occasions and grooming).  As these memes started popping up from a variety of forums and image boards commenting on people wearing hats, most were identified as a fedora.  And because one of the most popular internet sports is telling someone they’re wrong, comments began popping up correcting the authors that that the hats in question were actually Trilbys.

The Trilby Shape

featured-hatThe trilby is generally considered a specific type of fedora (much like a square is a specific type of rectangle,) but it definitely stands on its own as a specific type of hat.  A trilby generally has a much smaller brim (sometimes called a “Stingy Brim” fedora), and sometimes a taller crown than your standard fedora.  Like a fedora, the trilby has a hat band, usually a ribbon, but unlike the fedora, the trilby has emerged with many more patterns and colors. The brim of the hat is generally flipped up in the back and down in the front.  So in general, if you see a hat that looks like a fedora, but it has a very small brim, chances are it can be considered a Trilby.

The trilby gets its name from George du Maurier’s 1894 novel Trilby, and specifically from the stage production of the play which used the hat style.

At, we recommend the trilby for individuals who do not have as broad of shoulders, have a skinnier face, and are tall and lengthy. Musicians of late have really embraced the Trilby such as Pharrell, Jason Mraz, and Bruno Mars.  One of the modern icons of trilby fashion is Justin Timberlake, who seems to pull it off very well about 95% of the time (we’ll just ignore the 2001 all-denim suit and denim trilby).

The Fedora

tn_images-W-321003-CHATHAM-jpg_w320_h253The fedora is more of a classic look with a much wider brim then the trilby, and made of more traditional hat materials such as beaver / rabbit / or wool fur felt or mixtures thereof.  Further confusing the landscape, The Panama (ironically of Ecuadorian origin and popularized during the construction of the Panama Canal) hat is pretty much identical in shape to a fedora, but normally made using varieties of straw.  Fedoras traditionally are more subdued and conservative, with earthy tones and colors, and match best with suits and semi-formal wear.  This is especially true due to the wider-shouldered profile suit and sports jackets create.  Fedoras are not limited to just suits, they also seem to fit archaeologists very well, especially with a leather jacket, a whip.  At least if you’re named Harrison Ford.

What Did We Learn?

That you’re probably just wasting your time trying to correct people online, so why not grow a little confidence, grab your own trilby or fedora and make an adventure offline.

Summer Trend: 1920s-Inspired Hats

With the rise in popularity of Downton Abbey and the release of The Great Gatsby — take a peek at our Gatsby Hat Guide! — this season’s hat trend shouldn’t be much of a surprise. It’s all about the 1920s, when hats were an everyday staple of men’s fashion. From the traditional Newsboy to gangster-style fedoras, we’re thrilled to see a versatile and classic trend coming back to life!

During Fashion Week, a multitude of designers put these toppers on their models to sport on the runway. To help you prepare for the Summer 2013 latest trend, here’s a roundup of our favorite looks to pull off this season:

Summer 2013 Men's Trend: 1920s Hats Summer 2013 Men's Trend: 1920s Hats

Are you a well-dressed gent who is no stranger to the suit? These looks are a modern twist on the vintage inspiration, with pops of color and scarves. One aspect that hasn’t changed over the decades is the incorporation of the fedora, much like this Bailey of Hollywood Gangster Wool Fedora, which is available in a number of colors and styles.
  Summer 2013 Men's Trend: 1920s Hats
Channeling more of a Panama Jack style, the fedora can be worn as a casual topper to your summer attire. Think beach vacation-wear when trying to achieve this look, and pair a natural fedora like this Panama Snap Brim Fedora with a linen suit or a casual button-up shirt, shorts, and sandals.
Summer 2013 Men's Trend: 1920s Hats
Do you consider yourself a hipster? The fedora is surely a perfect topper for your funky, innovative style! Opt for rolled denim, a blazer with a basic tee, and a printed fedora much like this Bleecker Cotton Plaid Fedora to add a pop of color and pattern.
Summer 2013 Men's Trend: 1920s Hats
This casual look is ideal for a weekend at the lake or a Fourth of July cookout. The straw fedora looks stylish yet manly with tailored chino shorts, a plaid button up, and boat shoes. This Cov-ver Crocheted Raffia Fedora is anaffordable option to help you achieve this seasonal look.
Summer 2013 Men's Trend: 1920s Hats Summer 2013 Men's Trend: 1920s Hats
The newsboy is another trend we saw popping up on the runway left and right! While typically available in the wool and herringbone materials more often associated with fall and winter, lighter styles (like the Stetson Charlotte Seersucker Cap or this Stetson Lancaster Linen Button Cap) can be just as trendy in the warmer months. From business casual to weekend wear, the newsboy is a summer hit!

Taking a Style Cue from Number 42

On April 15, 1947, exactly 66 years ago, Jackie became the first African-American player in Major League Baseball history. As a player for the Brooklyn Dodgers, he faced continual racial discrimination from fellow players and fans, despite being named the 1947 “Rookie of the Year” and the 1949 “Most Valuable Player” by the National League. Still, Jackie persevered, and 50 years later, his jersey number (42) was retired from Major League Baseball.

Jackie Robinson Movie: 1940s-style Hats To celebrate this important day in history and the release of 42 — the popular new film about the player — we’d like to give Jackie a Fedoras-style salute. Check out Jackie’s inspirational story by browsing these images from 42, and be sure to tip your hat to the 1940s toppers featured in the movie!

Looking for your own version of the hats worn by Harrison Ford, Chadwick Boseman, and the rest of the cast? Click on the hats below the images for more information.

Jackie Robinson Movie: 1940s-style Hats

 Scala Grade 3 Panama Snap Brim Fedora

Jackie Robinson Movie: 1940s-style Hats

Stetson Drury Fashion Collection Fur Felt Fedora HatBailey of Hollywood Brooks Panama

Jackie Robinson Movie: 1940s-style Hats

Stetson Rector Cotton Baseball Cap

Jackie Robinson Movie: 1940s-style Hats

Stetson Pisa Cashmere Blend Fedora

Hats Inspired by Jackie Robinson Movie

Betmar Balsa Wool Cloche | Betmar Opal Wool Cloche 

Hats Inspired by Jackie Robinson Movie

Stetson Inwood Fur Felt Fedora Hat | Stetson Chatham Teardrop Crown Fedora

1940s Hats from Jackie Robinson Movie

Bailey of Hollywood Curtis Indy Fedora

Jackie Robinson Movie: 1940s-style Hats

Hills of New Zealand Style #880 Tech Flap Cap | Bailey of Hollywood Cashlux Hoxton Fedora

Jackie Robinson Movie: 1940s-style Hats

Browse All Fedoras

Image sources:

Our Favorite Posts from 2012

Remember when we taught you how to concoct a manly mixed drink? Or the day we gave you the 411 on what ladies think about your cologne? Or, what about the time we taught you how to do your laundry? It’s been a great year writing A Tip of the Hat since its launch this past March.

Just in case you missed some of our posts along the way, we rounded up some of this year’s most memorable…

A Guy’s Guide to Gift Buying — This is a great one for all of you last-minute shoppers scrambling to get holiday gifts the morning of (or even after-the-fact). Read our tips, and don’t disappoint her again this year.

How to Stock a Bar — Our very first post, this oldie-but-goodie shows you the essential items needed for an at-home bar.

Style File: Don Draper — Who doesn’t want to emulate the always-dapper Don Draper?

Mad Men Inspired Cocktails — Speaking of Don Draper, check out our recipes for Mad Men-inspired cocktails. Learn how to make a Vodka Gimlet, a Brandy Alexander, a Tom Collins, and a Bloody Mary.

Tips on Going Tailor-Made — When it comes to buying a suit, we recommend going tailor-made. Read our tips on finding a tailor, choosing a fabric, communicating with your tailor, and keeping it fresh.

15 Manly Mustaches for Movember — In honor of Movember, we rounded up 15 of the best mustaches of the modern world, from Daniel Day-Lewis to Alex Trebek.

Designing a Bachelor Pad? What You Need to Know — Guys living on your own, take note of our bachelor pad decor ideas. We’ll help you create a classy, yet masculine, space for yourself.

How to Find the Perfect Jeans Cut — We cover all the cuts so you can discover the best jeans for your body type and style. Remember, if your jeans don’t fit correctly, color and style don’t matter.

Four Clever (and Easy) Costumes for Guys — Our Halloween costume ideas revolved around hats (of course) and staples that you probably already have hanging in your closet.

Get Straight with Your Razor — This brief history of shaving will convince you to go get a straight razor shave. By the way, did you know men used to shave with clam shells?

Happy Holidays from A Tip of the Hat!


How to Throw a Gatsby-Themed Party

What do you get when you cross the most lavish literary scene of all time with the biggest party night of the year? A Gatsby-themed bash that’s sure to go down as your most epic New Year’s Eve yet! Just in time for the 2013 movie premiere starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Tobey Maguire, and Carey Mulligan, transform your typical year-end bash into an extravagant 1920s soiree reminiscent of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby. (Minus the obsession, love triangles, and tragedy, okay?)

And for even more goodies, check out the rest of our Great Gatsby Guide:

Great Gatsby Character & Fashion Guide

’20s Toppers: Great Gatsby Hats

Great Gatsby Music: 1920s Playlist

Great Gatsby party

All you need are mood-setting invites, decor, music, and refreshments, along with a dapper and flapper-esque dress code that’ll get everybody into character. Here’s our breakdown of all the essentials for an unforgettable Gatsby party:

The Invites

As with any party, setting the scene and expectations for your Gatsby party starts with the invitations. Since it’s NYE, you want to keep the invitations looking sophisticated and fun, but with an old time feel. Invites in gold, champagne, black and white, or silver with vintage block fonts work best. Extra points for ’20s images or metallic and/or glittery details (guys, we understand — you can skip the sparkle). Or, you could use the book’s original cover and make your own invites instead.

Gatsby theme party invitations

The Dress Code

On your invites, be sure to tell your guests to get all gussied-up and Gatsby-fied. For the Jay Gatsbys, Tom Buchannans, and Nick Carraways out there, dress like a dapper gent in a black suit and bowtie, or dress pants, an old-fashioned blazer, and suspenders. Slick back the hair and grab a cigar for an authentic look.

For the Daisy Buchannans, Jordan Bakers, and Myrtle Wilsons out there, it’s all about retro waves, rouge lipstick, fur coats, and eye-catching dresses!  The flapper look of the ’20s was all about clothing you could move and twirl in, with beading, gems, tassles, sequins, ribbon, or other flashy embellishments. Looking for a little inspiration? Try the look below!

what to wear to a Gatsby party

The Accessories

When it comes to looking the part, accessories are key to pulling off Gatsby garb. For guys, it’s all about the fedora (and lucky for you, we know where to find ’em). To pull off the high-scale Gatsby appeal, grab some cufflinks, a pocket watch, and a handkerchief for your coat pocket.

For the ladies, your go-to hat is the Daisy-like cloche. Be sure to don a headpiece underneath that topper, carry a hard-cased clutch, and don’t skimp on the pearls, velvet, rhinestones, jewels, and feathers — pile them on! 

accessories what to wear to a Gatsby themed party

The Decor

Although the book takes place during the summer, it’s easy to decorate using the rich colors, bold lights, and shimmery decor of the 1920s during the holidays, when there’s an overabundance of glitzy baubles lining the store shelves (most will be on sale right before and after Christmas, too).

For Gatsby theme decor, think lavish extravagance meets sleek, retro sophistication. For the tablescape, choose items in black, white, gold, silver, and jewel tones — and don’t forget the luxe contrast of white candles and flowers. The beverage area should be the center of attention in a 1920s themed party, so deck out a bar cart or side table in vintage-looking barware, swanky bottles, and chic touches like a cocktail menu, festive streamers, and retro straws. We love the idea of using vintage gold frames (you can find them at your local Goodwill) and painting the inside with chalkboard paint — the perfect ambiance-setting signage for your place. And last but not least: don’t forget the confetti. It’s a Gatsby and NYE must!

Gatsby theme party decorations

The Refreshments

Gatsby threw over-the-top parties to impress Daisy; his parties were all about overindulging, especially when it came to food and drink. Let’s start with the drinks, because even though the story took place during the Prohibition era, that didn’t stop Gatsby’s free-flow of booze for his guests. Gin was a staple in the speakeasy era, but try to make a few authentic cocktails, too, like a Mint Julep, Southside, Sidecar, Highball, and French 75. And don’t forget the bubbly — it’s NYE, after all!

If you’re serving a few apps, try your hand at tea sandwiches, crab-stuffed mushroomspancetta-wrapped figs, baked brie with pecans, triple deviled eggs, and shrimp cocktail. Serve savory chocolate dipped brownie cookies, triple chocolate truffles, creme brulee donuts, or a simple angel food cake for dessert. To Gatsby-ify your hors d’oeuvres, use fedoras as serving bowls by lining them with aluminum foil (for protection), covering the foil with a cloth napkin, and filling them with your foods.

Gatsby theme party food and drink ideas

The Music

To top off your Gatsby bash, switch out your top hits for swing music. Bust out that old fashioned record player and play some vinyls, or load your phone with all sorts of Swing-era tunes. Early jazz artists like Duke Ellington, Louis Armstrong, Cole Porter, Ben Pollack, Don Redman, Fletcher Henderson, Coleman Hawkins, Benny Goodman, Glenn Miller, Red Allen, Roy Eldridge, Benny Carter, and John Kirby are staples for your Spotify playlists (check out our collection of 1920’s hits here), or listen to stations like Early Jazz Radio or Roaring ’20s Radio on Pandora. Guests will surely get into the swing of things.

Great Gatsby theme party music list

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Vintage Advertisements: Men’s Interest

While men’s style has changed quite a bit over the centuries, there are some styles that have transcended time — especially where hats are concerned. Likewise, men’s interests have withstood the test of time, only becoming more expansive with ever-changing innovation. From cars to clothing and beyond, the following vintage advertisements display the ever-dapper interests of man over time.

Side note: We think these ads would look perfect printed out, framed, and hanging on the walls of a mancave.

1924 berteil cap advertisement1924 Berteil Caps

No worries if you can’t read French. This advertisement is for none other than hats. This stately gent is sporting a pipe and a stylish newsboy cap much like this Stetson Beane Wool Longshoreman Cap. Not necessarily a style you see everyday, the newsboy can easily be pulled off today with a weekend blazer, casual tee, and jeans.

1944 western ammunition advertisement

1944 Western Ammunition

In 1944, World War II was in full-swing, and this type of advertisement was likely in periodicals on a regular basis. This one for Western Ammunition states, “In Peace and in War, America Relies on Western.” Comparing a military hero with an average civilian, this ad appealed to a sympathetic crowd. Hey, how about the Indiana Jones-style hat on the hunter above? Any 21st century guy can pull one off today with a pair of jeans, a button-down, and a leather jacket.

1943 bvd men's wear advertisement

1943 BVD Men’s Wear

Also making an appearance during the Second World War, this Father’s Day ad for B.V.D. Men’s Wear appeals to the deployed, as well as those at home. It displays the styles of the time including everything from work clothes to sleepwear. We really love the military cap on the war plant worker at the bottom right. The Dobbs French Twill Fatigue Cap is definitely a look-alike and perfect for everyday street-wear.

1983 stetson fall hats

1938 Stetson Fall Hats

Around this time in 1938, this ad graced the pages of newspapers and magazines. Featuring the slogan, “Step Out with a Stetson,” this ad features “the world’s favorite hat” in stylish rod-and-gun colors. Both the Stetson Pisa Cashmere Blend Fedora and the Stetson Temple Fur Felt Fedora look very similar to those in the ad above. Fedoras are still very fashionable today for both men and women, growing especially popular this past spring and summer, and continuing pace into the cooler months. These are a perfect fall accessory!

1895 hart schaffner & mart advertisement

1895 Hart Schaffner & Marx Tailor Made Suits

This ad goes waaaay back — all the way back to the menswear of 1895! Featuring the “best-looking, neatest fitting” Hart Schaffner & Marx Tailor Made Suits, this ad features a few different hats, including the popular bowler style. Make a statement with this Christys’ of London Hand Made Fur Felt Bowler Derby hat, perfect for dressing up your suits this season!