Fedora vs. Trilby - War of the Trendy Hat

  • , by Alex Torres
  • 4 min reading time

With a fedora hat and a trilby being such incredibly similar hats, how is anyone supposed to tell them apart? To confuse the issue further, a trilby itself is classified as a fedora. Lots of shops will advertise these hats as simply a Trilby Fedora.

As a general rule of thumb, and to keep confusion to a minimum, a trilby is a small fedora. Granted, this rule, like all good rules, is easily broken. Don't be persuaded by marketing efforts on the part of hat manufactures that their specific hat is defined one way or another.

What is important to know about a fedora of any type, whether a trilby or not, is that a man must choose a hat with a brim proportionately sized to his shoulders. This, in essence, is where the debate takes the most heat.

Man in fedora hat in the sunset

Trilby vs. Fedora: A Running Debate

There's been a lot of talk about the trilby vs. the fedora and which one is more stylish, when to where a trilby and when to wear a fedora and how to wear them. Well, debate is always healthy-even when it's unnecessary.

The Trilby and Fedora are two excellent hats both with deep character and style you can't mimic or find in a casual hat. Each one is just slightly different and distinct in its own way.

So, the answer to the trilby versus fedora debate is simple but complex... it really depends on what you wear and how you want to look.

Trilbies and Fedoras: Style Differences

Here's the main style difference between a trilby vs. a fedora. The trilby has a narrower brim often curled up on the edges, along with a more compact but taller crown often with high-set shallow indents for a stylish, tear drop crown shape. The Fedora has a fuller, shorter crown, and wider brim at least 2-inches but can be 4-inches or more. Fedoras can have a curled brim but are often flat and straight.

Trilby hats are worn differently than fedora hats. A trilby is worn back on the head much farther. It sits at an angle pointing up over the backside of the head. A fedora is worn straight or flat across the brown and back of head perpendicular to the neck.

When to Wear a Trilby Versus a Fedora

Wear a trilby when you want a more casual, but upscale look. One that is dynamic, slightly more artistic and free-spirited yet still manly and together. Wear the fedora when you want a true gentlemen's style. For upscale occasions always choose to wear a fedora. Business settings, formal events, or any event that has class and scale requires a fedora.

The Fedora Hat

A fedora has a wide brim. With a brim two inches or wider, it historically provides a functional feature of keeping the elements like rain and sunshine off the wearer, especially when hat wearing was the norm and people lacked the shelter of cars. It should also be worn slightly over the eyes, rather than on the back of the head. Traditionally a it's is made of higher-end, durable material, like wool or felt.

A fedora will also look better when styled with a suit or anything with a collar. Generally a fedora is not a good choice with more casual wear. Due to the large nature of the hat, it is commonly recommended for broad shouldered men.

Man in a straw hat

The Trilby Hat

A trilby, on the other hand, is the tiny cousin to the fedora. The brim of a trilby is much shorter and can often be flipped up or down. It is worn on the back of the head, thus providing no practical purpose other than being a trendy headpiece. But make no mistake about it, even though a trilby offers no shade, it makes up for it in the style category. Though not considered cheap, a trilby can be made with less expensive material, often tweed or straw, but wool variations are common as well.

A trilby is carefree and fun. Inherently it pairs well with trendy clothes or stylish jeans. Since being a slimmer hat, it is often recommended for younger men, especially those with smaller frames and less broad shoulders.

New to these Hats? Read our Guide to Get you Started

What style do you prefer? Tell us in the comment section below.

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