Until the 1960s, respectable and stylish gentlemen almost always wore hats. It’s hard to imagine Abraham Lincoln without his stovepipe hat or John Wayne without his classic Stetson. The hat was a sign of dignity and class, but it also served as a practical accessory that provided protection from the elements. With the exception of the baseball cap, hats have become less popular in recent years, but this is changing. Today’s men are starting to dress with purpose again, and classic hats are playing a big part, especially fedora hats.
The Practical Utility of Hats
A hat is one of the most versatile accessories a man can wear. It’s also one of the most functional. Here are a few examples of how a hat can be an essential part of your everyday life.
- A hat keeps your hairstyle in place despite inclement weather. As long as you have your hat with you, even gale force winds can’t ruin your look.
- Hats provide effective protection from the sun’s ultraviolet rays, which can do serious damage to the skin on your scalp and face. Throughout the ages, men who worked outdoors wore hats to avoid getting sunburn.
- When the sun is out in full force, a hat improves your ability to see by reducing the need to squint your eyes, which in turn reduces your chances of getting a headache.
- Hats help you maintain temperature control in all climates.
- Sun hats provide shade in the summer to keep you cool and reduce embarrassing sweating. When temperatures drop, they help keep your head warm and protect you from frigid wind and snow.
- You can wear a hat to help hide hair loss or during hair loss treatments to avoid sudden or obvious changes to your appearance.
- Your hat can highlight your best facial features. It can also obscure features when you have an acne breakout or your eyes are red.
- A properly fitting hat can help you accessorize a shorter hairstyle or keep an elaborate one in check.
- A hat hides a bad haircut until it has a chance to grow out.
Hats and Your Image: Confidence, Class and Charisma
To Them, Hat Image was Everything
Frank Sinatra and Humphrey Bogart understood how hats can affect one’s perception of a man. Their classic fedoras were key elements of their public image. It takes confidence to wear a hat, especially in today’s social climate where it’s not really expected. Once you don a classic hat, others perceive that confidence. For many years, hats were worn to subconsciously suggest added height, strength, authority and high social standing. Men who wore hats were usually in charge or belonged to a higher echelon. Military hats and Sir Winston Churchill’s famous bowler hats are good examples.
Hats Help You Build a Sophisticated Personal Style
Dressing with style is a useful practice. When you look great, it’s easier to land your dream job, get a date or impress your fiance's parents. A sharp dresser always looks like he’s at the top of his game, even when he’s not. Clothing trends change constantly, but regardless of the style du jour, wearing a hat is always one of the most dashing things you can do.
Furthermore, classic hats lend a sense of sophistication and an element of surprise. The right hat can be the finishing touch that turns a good outfit into a great one. You shouldn’t limit your hat-wearing to events catered for formal hats, such as weddings and black-tie events. Even informal looks command attention when you add a great hat. Try wearing a casual vest with a charming newsboy hat or a Stetson with a great pair of boots, and study how people react to you.
Eight Men’s Classic Hats
If you’re not familiar with hat styles, use the quick guide below to become familiar with the most popular classic men’s hats.
The iconic fedora is one of the most popular hat styles. Fedoras are defined as low, soft felt hats that feature a slightly curled brim and a lengthwise crease through the crown.
The Trilby is a narrow-brimmed hat that looks similar to the fedora. It’s popular among aristocrats and is often worn to horse races.
The Homburg is a business formal hat made from felt and characterized by a dent that runs through the center of its crown. Its stiff brim has bound edges and curves upward.
The Pork Pie Hat
The pork pie hat has a flat top without a crease in the center and a narrow, curled brim. It was popular during the Great Depression and famously worn by actor Buster Keaton.
Also called a derby hat, the bowler hat features a rounded dome crown and a hard felt brim. Its roots are firmly planted in the working class, but it later become popular with British aristocracy.
The Stetson or Cowboy Hat
Everyone recognizes the wide-brimmed cowboy hat. First made by John B. Stetson in 1865, it’s now a cornerstone of western tradition.
The Panama Hat
The Panama hat is a lightweight, light-colored and breathable hat that was first made in Ecuador. Often seen in tropical themes, this hat is a great accessory for summer wardrobes.
The Top Hat
The top hat is a men’s formal hat with a tall, cylindrical crown. Top hats are traditionally reserved for white-tie events.
Ramp Up Your Style With a Great New Hat
Finally, if you’ve never worn a hat in your life, it’s time to be bold and make your head the center of attention. A classic hat is a great investment and an indispensable accessory for men of any age and from any walk of life. Try on a few to see which type best fits your personality and lifestyle. Don’t let Justin Timberlake and his trilby have all the fun. Join the ranks of stylish men everywhere with a well-crafted, eye-catching hat.