What is a Fedora?

  • , by Alex Torres
  • 3 min reading time

Many people ask what exactly is a fedora? A fedora is a type of hat with a tear-drop shaped, low sitting crown and short to medium-sized brim that usually curves up along the edges, and runs all the way around the entire crown. Fedoras have a hatband around the bottom of the crown, made of grosgrain ribbon, leather, or cowhide, depending on the style. Most fedoras have a crease or dent in the top of the crown running down the center. These are called center dent fedoras.

When Was the Fedora Invented?

The fedora hat has roots running back to the 1890s when it first appeared in a play by the same name, Fedora by Victorien Sardou. It was originally worn by a woman who is the main protagonist in the drama. The fedora was a variation of another popular hat called the Homburg, which also has a low-sitting crown, with curled brim running all the way around.

Fedora hats have center dents and side dents with different style crowns and hat bands.

What are Fedoras Made of?

Fedoras are made of felt traditionally. However, today you can find the fedora style hat made in a multitude of different types of fabrics and materials from straw to leather. The most common wool felt fedoras are made from sheep's wool, other felts may be made from furs and other exotics. Straw fedoras are becoming more and more popular, as are leather fedoras. There are dozens of different types of straws that fedoras are made of as well.

When do You Wear a Fedora?

The fedora is typically worn with dress clothes or a suit, as it is considered a dress hat. But today many wear this style of hat with jeans or other casual clothing. The style can work well with just about anything. Depending on the type of material the hat is made from, it can be both a casual or formal hat, part of your most dressy or most comfortable attire.

What are the Parts of a Fedora?

The main parts of a fedora include the crown, which is the top of the hat and usually shaped like a teardrop in a fedora. Fedora hatbands run around the bottom of the crown. The hat brim sits around the bottom of the crown. Inside a fedora is the sweatband, usually made of cowhide or softer leather for comfort.

Fedoras also have a 'taper' which is defined by the creases or dents in the front of the crown. A sharper taper is formed by larger indentations on the side of the crown (called side dents). Most crowns also have an indentation called a center dent or "gutter dent", a single dent running along the top of the crown.

Fedora Crown Shapes and Styles

Man tipping hat
Fedoras come in many shapes and styles with curled or flat brims.

The crown of a fedora comes in many different shapes from pointed to round. Some fedoras have pinches or dents of various depths and position in the crown on the sides near the front that alter its shape.

The most common and classic style fedora crown is a pinched or dented crown. This has two large indentations on each side forming a pointed, teardrop shape. It's the style worn in earlier decades, notably the fifties and sixties, and by gangsters in the thirties. Fedoras can also have no dents or shallow dents in the crown.

Fedora Brims

Fedoras come in various sized brims with different widths. Typically, brims are about 4 inches wide. Fedoras may also have much wider brims. These are called wide brim fedoras. Brims can also have various shapes, either curled up on the edges or flat.


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