Fedoras vs. Trilby Hats: How are they Different?

  • , by Alex Torres
  • 4 min reading time

The striking similarities between the fedora and trilby styles may have you wondering, "what is the difference between a fedora and a trilby hat?" There are certain subtleties that set the fedora and the trilby apart. To fully understand the differences between the fedora and trilby hat styles, you'll need to know a little more about their respective histories, the materials they're made from, as well as the subtle variations in each hat's construction.

The Compass by Walrus Hats is a prime example of a classic fedora style featuring a moderate 2" brim and pinched teardrop crown.


The fedora and the trilby hat styles seem to have been destined for comparison as they have eerily similar origin stories. The fedora made its debut as the favored accessory of the titular character in Victorien Sardou's 1882 play, Fédora. Similarly, the trilby was popularized by its use in the stage adaptation of George du Maurier's 1894 novel, Trilby. The fedora fell out of favor in the mid-twentieth century as hats, in general, became less fashionable for a time. "Why did the Fedora go out of style," you ask? During the 1970s, it became more popular to go without a hat until the retro resurgence of the early 1980s brought them back into fashion. Today, celebrities like Justin Timberlake and Brad Pitt have been spotted sporting stylish trilby styles whereas Johnny Depp seems to prefer a dashing fedora

The Triumph by Walrus is a traditional trilby style featuring a short brim and understated teardrop crown.


While you may note that there are certainly exceptions to this rule, trilby hats and fedoras tend to be made of slightly different materials. Trilby hats, which are considered to be a more casual style, are often constructed from affordable yet fashionable materials like straw and wool whereas fedora styles are typically made from some similar materials such as wool, but high-quality genuine animal fur and Panama weave are also common. If you find both of these trendy hat styles to be attractive, you may be thinking, "When should you wear a fedora, and when should you wear a trilby?" If you're looking for something classy and casual to pair with your everyday wear, a fedora or a trilby could be just the right accessory! However, if you're going for a more sophisticated or high-end look, the fedora will likely be your best bet to get you dressed for success!

Construction & Style

Snapping the brim up or down can transform a fedora's look.

Now, you may still be questioning, "What is a fedora hat style, and what is a trilby hat, exactly?" The visual differences between these two styles may be subtle, but they'll be easy for you to spot once you know what to look for. Hallmarks of a fedora style hat include a pinched crown with a deep center dent or teardrop shape. A trilby often also has a teardrop crown or center dent, however, they are usually less exaggerated. The size of a hat's brim is also a telltale sign of whether it might be a trilby or a fedora. Fedoras traditionally have larger brims that can be snapped up or down to create different looks. A trilby's brim is short and fixed in an angular downward position that creates a delightfully dramatic effect.

Decisions, Decisions


While you may be finding it difficult to decide if a trilby or fedora style hat is right for you, we have an easy answer. Try both! These timeless hat styles have happily co-existed through the ages and each has unique merits that make them suitable for different situations. Whether you're looking for a dapper fedora to wear to a ritzy jazz show downtown, or a simple black trilby to wear with your favorite jeans on a lunch date, these styles are both suitable for the savvy stylist in you! Give your style an edge and buy a fedora or trilby hat today!


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