Hat Terminology & Glossary of Terms

Read this list of hat terminology and expand your knowledge about hats. Knowing how to speak the language ensures you get exactly what you want when shopping for a new hat, and can improves your conversation skills when speaking to other hat aficionados. Whether you are an experienced hat connoisseur, a newbie to hats, or a haberdasher, you are sure to learn something from this glossary of hat terms.

AMMANA

An Ammana is a turban typically worn in the Middle East by followers of the muslim faith. It is a large piece of fabric that is wound into a hat shape.

BADGE

An accent or decoration on a hat. Typically this will be some type of logo, crest, or emblem.

BASEBALL CAP (BALLCAPS)

A tight-fitting cap with a large bill in front usually made of cloth or cloth and mesh. Worn by baseball players and popular with others.

BASH

Also known as a ‘dent’. This is the type of crease or indentation found on top of the crown. There are several different types of crowns.

BEANIE

A type of knitted hat fitting closely to head, usually round and with a straight brim that can be turned over.

BERET

Type of hat made with soft fabric in a round shape. The hat is made to lay flat and can be adjusted to fall further on one side. Typically, berets are made of felt, felted jersey or similar softer fabrics. Popular in france, they have a very chic style.

BLOCK

A hat form used to shape hats. Carved into a specific shape out of wood or metal, the hat block is used by a milliner to form a hat.

BLOCKING

The process of forming a hat into shape using a hat block. Many hat blocks are made of wood and used to shape the crown or hat brim.

BOATER HAT

A flat-topped hat with a small flat brim, traditionally made of straw. Also called a skimmer hat, it is associated with the seashore, water and summertime.

BOWLER

A type of hat with a round crown and a narrow but up-curved brim. These hats go by many names including derby hats, billycocks and bob hats.

BRISA WEAVE

A weave pattern that is shaped like little diamonds. It is a fine and lighter weave style that is highly breathable and used in straw fedoras, beach hats and sunhats among other types of hats where breathability it important.

BREAK

The break is the bottom of the hat where the brim is attached or formed to.

BU

A form of measuring the tightness of woven straw for hat making. A lower BU means the weave is tighter and of higher quality since tighter weaves are stronger and more pliable.

BUCKRAM

Stiff netting used in hat-making. Frequently used in the making of fancy hats like fascinators, cloches and others.

CAP

Typically refers to any hat made from soft material with a bill or front brim. This includes baseball hats, ivy caps, flat caps, newsboys or cabbies.

CASHMERE

Cashmere is very soft, supple wool. It comes from the Kashmir goat, which is where the name Cashmere comes from. Cashmere can be used to make hats but is typically used in sweaters.

CENTER DENT CROWN

Type of crown that has a dent running down the center on top of the crown. Usually on a fedora, trilby or similar hat type has this crown shape.

CLOCHE

A fancy, designer women's hat shaped like a bell with a very narrow, angular brim often decorated with multiple accents, bands and elaborate bows. It is an open-crown hat with an asymmetrical brim style.

COALMAN HAT

A type of hat with a short visor and a flap in the back similar to the hats worn by coal delivery men in England.

COASTGUARD HAT

Small hat made of straw, felt or another material that has an upturned hat brim and ribbons, commonly worn by boys and a hommage to the hats worn by the coastguard in the 1900s. 

COFFEE BAG (OR COFFEE SACK) HATS

A coffee bag hat or coffee sack hat is one made from a coffee bag. The fabric is similar to burlap but usually these coffee hats have a decorative design like you would find on a coffee bag. They are made by brands like Stetson and others.

COWBOY HAT

Iconic hat of the old west worn by cowhands, lawmen and gangsters featuring a high crown, wide brim and several types of indentations and crown styles. Designed to be the perfect hat to wear on the range, and worn extensively throughout the west, during cattle drives and on ranches.

CREASE

Indentation on the top of the crown. There are many different types of creases in hats today.

CROWN

The top of the hat above the brim is the crown. There are many different types of crowns defined by their shape and specific features.

CROWN PROFILE

The crown profile is generally referred to as High or Low. No specific measurement is applied to the definition, as it depends upon the height of the wearer’s head. A hat with a crown that fits the head of someone with a high forehead would be considered a high profile for someone with a shorter forehead.

CUENCA

A type of Panama Hat. The hats are woven in Cuenca, Ecuador, with thicker straw, they can be heavier than a Brisa Panama hat. The hats are not as fine as others, but can be produced quickly and considered a more affordable option than other Panamas.

CUT & SEW

Hats sewn together from a pieces of fabric using an existing pattern. Any hat not made with a block is referred to as a cut & sew. Flat caps, ivy caps, cabbies and baseball hats are cut and sew.

DARTS

A fold of fabric sewn in to improve the fit of a cap. Usually in ivy or newsboy caps.

DECORATION

A decoration is often applied to the band. In most cases, there is a bow or buckle. Peter Grimm also uses a bow with pin combination.

DEERSTALKER

The Sherlock Holmes hat. A classic hunting hat designed to be worn while hunting deer or elk. Main features include two bills, one in front, one in back and sometimes with earflaps that tie at the top.

DENT

Refers to the indentation on the front of the crown. Also called the "pinch". Commonly found in fedora hats.

DIAMOND CROWN

Found in fedora hats, this type of crown has a ‘diamond’ shaped dent or "bash". It can be looser fitting on the head and found in some types of Fedoras.

DIE CUT

The process of using a die to shear materials, such as rubber, fiber, foil, cloth, paper, corrugated fiberboard, paperboard, plastics, pressure-sensitive adhesive tapes, foam and sheet metal.

DIP

How far the hat brim is pulled down is the dip of a hat.

DOFF

A form of greeting to people you meet. To "doff" a hat means to take it off momentarily as a sign of friendly deference and respect.

DON

Used to describe the action of putting on a hat.

DRAPER

Draper is the name used for a retailer of clothing and accessories or a wholesaler of cloth or clothing. The term dates back as far as medieval times.

DRI-LEX

Dri-lex is a trademarked fabric made by Faytex Corp designed to wick away moisture. The fabric is designed to move moisture through the surface faster keeping you drier and more comfortable. It is used in footwear and in hat bands.

EDGE BINDING

Fabric that runs along the edge of the brim as an accent or piece of trim. Typically used on fedoras and other designer hats, it is usually a grosgrain fabric that is sewn in.

EMBOSSED

A design, emblem or wording that is stamped into fabric and stands out in relief. Typically, leather is embossed with a name or logo.

FABRIC SHEARS

Often oversized, these are fabric scissors for cutting cloth which produces a serrated edge so that the fabric doesn’t fray.

FASCINATOR

Elaborate, fancy hair decoration that is worn set on a hat band, a clip or comb. Fascinators debuted in the mid-1800’s and were popular during WWII. These are the hats British Royalty has been seen wearing at formal functions, and have recently become more popular.

FEDORA

A fedora is a very popular hat style that was first introduced in the 1890s and rose to extreme popularity in the 1920s through the 1960s. It has a medium-sized crown and a 2-4-inch brim that wraps entirely around the crown. Seen in movies and worn by actors, politicians, artists, musicians and others the shape and style of a fedora make it one of the world's most worn hat types.

FELTED WOOL

Different from wool felt, felted wool is woven wool fabric that is soaked in hot water and agitated as in a washing machine. Washing wool in hot water locks the fibers together (since the fibers have scales), creating a thicker, stronger material. Felted wool has a rougher, more textured surface that is dimply, as opposed to wool felts smooth texture.

FLAT CAP

Flat caps are made of soft, non-stiffened cloth. They have a low-profile crown that is only slightly fuller in the back, and usually comes to a sharper, but flat point in front over the short, round bill. These caps are also called ivy caps, driver caps, cabbies, newsboys and golf caps. Made with multiple materials from cloth to leather and in a variety of shapes, styles and patterns.

FLAT TOPS

Flat Top crowns are simple to spot, they are completely flat with no bash or dent. Common in Top Hats and other classic styles like the Pork Pies and Western hats.

FLOPPY HAT

A wide brim hat with an open crown. It can be made of straw, felt or other materials and is usually worn to the beach or outdoors. Floppy hats can be casual or high-fashion. Many beach hats and sun hats are floppy hats.

FUR FELT

Fur felt is felt made from animal fur. The fur is stamped and pressed into a felt fabric by machinery. Finer, and softer than wool felt, a fur felt hat has a higher sheen and softer texture (depending on the final finish) which usually makes it considerably more fashionable and upscale than wool felted hats.

GATSBY HAT

A type of hat that has a soft, round crown made of four to eight stitched or welded panels, a stiff duck-bill-shaped brim that extends out in the front and a top button. Also called a cabbie hat.

GAUCHO

A wide brim hat with a circular crown, flat top and straight brim. Commonly associated with villains, it is also the hat Zoro wore.

GINGHAM

Gingham is a mid-weight cotton fabric with a small checkered pattern of white contrasted with another bright colos like orange or blue.

GLEN PLAID

A fabric with a twill design featuring large and smaller checkered patterns, most often in gray, black and white or neutral colors.

GRADE

Grade refers to the quality of weave of a Panama hat, typically in reference to the tightness of the weave. Grades range from 1 to 15, but not all hat manufacturers follow the same rules to determine grade, so they vary from brand to brand. They can tell you in general terms, how fine the hat weave is as compared to other hats of the same manufacturer.

GROMMET

A metal or plastic eyelet placed in a hole in a panel for a stampede strap to pass through or to allow ventilation through the panel.

GROSGRAIN

The ribbon used to make most hat bands in fedoras and other designer hats. Made from silk, wool or blends of fabrics, it has a fancy appearance with a soft feel and sheen. Pronounced (GROW-grain).

GUS

The gus crown is a type of crown found on cowboy hats with a bash in the center from front to back, two side dents and a front that slopes forward.

GUS CROWN

The "gus hat" is a type of hat originally designed for Robert Duvall for the Lonesome Dove TV series. The Gus hat is a cowboy hat with a tall brim and a doble-peak crown that slopes forward giving it a sharp profile. It normally has a rawhide hat band but can be made with other accents.

HABERDASHERY

A haberdashery is a store that sells mens clothing, accessories and related notions.

HAT BAND

A hat band is the piece of fabric that wraps around the base of the crown (also called the shoulder). Hat bands are traditionally made of grosgrain material but also made of either a synthetic or leather material. Bands provide a visual decoration that is in contrast to the hat material and offsets the brim from the crown. It can also help provide support to the crown.

HAT BILL

The brim of a baseball hat or flat cap is called the bill. It sticks out from the body shading the eyes, and is usually made of fabric-wrapped plastic or cardboard.

HAT BLOCK

A type of plaid with both small and large checks in an alternating pattern with dark colors like gray and white, or black and white. Derived from the Glenurquhart valley in Scotland, it was made for noblemen in England and Scotland who did not have a family tartan.

HAT BREAK

The hat break is the part of a hat where the brim is attached along the bottom of the crown.

HAT BRIM

The hat brim sticks our from the front and sides of the hat. Brims come in all shapes and sizes. On fedoras, trilbies, bowlers and other designer hats, the brim goes all the way around the hat. They are usually made of stiffer material and sometimes made with inserts of cardboard in baseball caps.

HAT PRESS

A mechanism used to shape a hat by pressing it against the block or form. Hat presses typically use some kind of pressure and heat to shape hats into form.

HAT STEAMER

A hat steamer is a machine that uses hot steam to stretch, reshape or custom shape a hat. Typically used on felt or straw hats.

HEATHERED WOOL

Heathered wool is a type of wool made by mixing fibers of different colors creating a wool with flecks of colors. A heathered finish wool is made by dying wool fibers in various colors. The wool is then run through a carding machine, the fibers separated, then remixed. Thes blending of colors makes the heathered wool.

HERRINGBONE

Fabric with a V-shaped twill pattern. Used to make suits, deerstalker hats, flat caps and trilbies, the fabric has a zig-zagging appearance.

HOMBURG

A hat style similar to the fedora but with a narrow, upturned brim and a single deep, v-shaped dent down the center of the crown.

HOOD

A hood is a cone of felt or straw material that will eventually be shaped into a hat on a block, during the blocking step of hat making.

HORSEHAIR

Hair from a horse’s mane or tail traditionally used for millinery. Now refers to a synthetic imitation of horse hair.

HOUNDSTOOTH

A dual-tone, black and white checkered pattern consisting of abstract pointed shapes that appear to be interlocking. The textile originally hailed from the Scottish Lowlands and is now very popular across the globe. Often used in deerstalker hats and flat caps.

KNIT BEANIE

A knitted hat that fits closely on the head. Typically worn in winter for warmth, and also worn for style.

LINING

Hat lining is the material inside the hat that lines the inside of the crown. Hat linings are typically fine material like silk. All hats do not have lining however. Straw hats and other outdoor hats have no lining for breathability.

LITEFELT(r) FINISH

A lighter weight felt finish with a very particular surface style. This type of finish uses a lighter amount of shellac, just enough to maintain the shape of the wool, for a distinctive sheen.

LUX FINISH

Lux Finish is a type of finish used on felt hats by Stetson and other brands. The finish is water-repellent and lightweight with a distinctive, grained look. It is used on crushable or packable travel fedoras and other hats.

MADRAS

Madras is a type of plaid fabric. It is printed, rather than woven and mainly used for summery products like shirts, tablecloths and other things. It generally consists of bright or deep colors.

MARLED WOOL

The yarn is produced by combining two single roving/stubbling (lightly twisted) yarns of different colors or lusters together into a single yarn that has the appearance of a two-toned candy-cane or mottled effect.

MEASURING RING

A measuring ring in hat terminology is a device that measures the inside of a hat to determine its true size.

MILLINER

Traditional name for a hat maker, or someone who makes or sells hats.

MILLINERY

The process of making hats, or the business and trade of selling hats.

MORFELT FINISH

Morfelt is a type of wool trademarked by the Bollman Hat Company. It is heavier, denser wool felt than lighter felts and therefore considered more upscale and fancy. Used in more high-fashion hats, it has a very sharp, and tight surface texture.

OPEN CROWN

An open crown is completely round with no dents or bash. Found in several hat styles like Amish fedoras, beach hats and floppy hats.

OVERWELT

Overwelt is the part of the hat where the edge of the hat's brim material is folded up and over and sewn in place.

PANAMA HAT

A Panama hat is a specific type of hat woven by artisans in Ecuador from special palm fibers that are very fine and supple, called toquilla straw. Since the fibers are so fine, these hats can be woven extremely tight, tight enough to hold water, but they can still be crushed down and packed without losing shape. There are different grades of Panama hats, some are measured by their ability to be rolled tightly. A few can be passed through a small ring. The craft of weaving these hats has been passed down through generations. The name comes from the port "Panama" where the hats were imported in the 1800s, causing them to grow in popularity.

PANEL

A panel is a cut of fabric used to make a hat. Some hats, like newsboys and ivy caps and made by sewing together four or eight panels of triangular fabric.

PATTERN

A template from which the parts of a hat panel are cut. Templates are used to cut hat panels before they are cut and sewn into a hat.

PALM LEAF

In hat-making, palm leaf straw is woven into a fabric to make hats. These hats have a natural look with a rough texture ideal for casual summer hats, beach hats, and outback hats worn outdoors. Palm leaf is also very durable and flexible, making it ideal for hat making.

PILLBOX

A small brimless hat with high, flat sides and a circular shape. It debuted in the 1910s, but it hits stride in the 1950s. First Lady Jackie Kennedy-Onassis popularized this hat in the 1950s.

PINCH

A pinch is the indentation in the front of the crown in fedora hats, or the area where fabric comes together in other types of hats, usally in the front of the crown.

PITH HELMET

A pith helmet is a type of hat that is more like a helmet. Made of cork or pith, which is the dried stalk of the sola plant, it is usually covered with net or cloth. Commonly used on safaris or by the military in jungle or similar outdoor situations, it is often called a safari helmet.

PLAID

A type of fabirc with a specific pattern of stripes and crisscrossed bars of various colors. Plaid fabric is woven mainly from cotton with vertical and horizontal stripes in various widths and colors. Tartan is the most common type of plaid. In Scotland, clans each had their own plaid patterns called a tartan that was used for identification.

PORKPIE

A porkpie hat is a type of hat with a short, round crown, narrow brim, and flat top with either a telescope or diamond-shaped crown.

RAW EDGE

A hat's raw edge is the unfinished edge of the brim with no seam sew material is cut to the edge.

RIBBON

The hat ribbon wraps around the base of the crown just above the brim and is used to offset the crown from the brim and as an accent. Usually this is a grosgrain fabric but can be leather, rawhide or another material in outdoor and western hats.

RIBBON STRAW

Ribbon straw is a type of straw that is thick and flat and commonly used in wider brim straw hats, floppy brim hats, sun hats and beach hats.

RIVET

A rivet is a fastener used for making hats and clothing. A rivet is a two-piece metal pin with a short shaft that slides over it. The rivet is pushed through the fabrics, and then crushed with a rivet gun to bond the two pieces of fabric, leather or other material together.

ROUND CROWN

A round crown shape, referring to the shape when looking down at the crown. Bowler hats and some fedoras like the gambler hat have a round crown.

OVAL CROWN

A round or oval shaped crown. May have a slightly smaller crown in front and back, less rounded and circular but more oval.

SALOME

Salome is a type of fur felt with a heather pattern--interspersing dark and white flecks of fur. It also has a longer exterior nap. Many salome fur felts are made in Czechia.

SALOME FUR

Salome fur is natural length rabbit fur. It should be treated as a dress hat and never be brushed, or exposed to water.

SCHOOLBOY

A type of hat made of paneled cloth cap and first worn in elite British schools. It is now a casual hat alternative similar to the flat cap or cadet hat.

SEAM

Hat seams are simply the seams in a hat where two pieces of fabric are stiched together. Found in panel caps, ivy caps, flat caps and other fabric hats. Also found in fedoras where the crown and brim are sewn together.

SEERSUCKER

Seersucker is a particular type of fabric with a pmipled or puckered textured (surface bumps) in one of many patterns including checkered or striped. Usually made of cotton, there are also polyester seersucker fabrics available. It is most often used for summer sportswear and some special hats.

SHEEP SHEARING

Sheep shearing is the process by which the woolen fleece of a sheep is shaved off so it can be spun into yarn. There are different types of shearing processes. The person who shears sheep is a shearer.

SHOULDER

The part of the hat where the crown connects with the brim is called the hat shoulder.

SNAP BRIM

The snap brim is a type of hat brim. It is curved and can be worn either snapped up or down sometimes using a button. Typically used in flap caps, fedoras or other designer hats.

STAMPEDE STRAP

As the name implies, a stampede strap is a chin strap that keeps your hat on when moving. It is usually a cord made of cowhide, leather, rope or string and attaches underneath the hat brim. Normally foud on cowboy hats.

STOCKMAN FINISH

A smoother finish found on both outback, cowboy and fedora hats in leather or wool.

STOVEPIPE HAT

A version of the top hat. This is a tall top hat like the ones typically seen in 19th-century and worn by President Abraham Lincoln. It is not very popular today but still worn at formal occasions.

SUEDE FELT FINISH

A suede felt finish is a type of finish on certain felts that is much smoother than ordinary felt, near the same feel and texture of real suede. Suede felt finishes are made by first creating a tightly felted material and then using a buffer machine apply a smooth texture.

SUEDED FUR

Fur that is made softer by the use of a buffing machine. Used in high-end hats and specialty hats.

SWEATBAND

An internal band set insde the hat brim for comfort and to wick moisture, keeping it away from the hat material. Most cowboy hats, outback hats and other outdoor hats have sweatbands. Many fedoras and other designer hats also have an internal sweat band. Straw hats typically have sweatbands because salt and bodily fluids can stain and damage certain types of straw.

TEARDROP CROWN OR C-CROWN

A crown that is rounded in the back with a pinched front giving it a tear-drop shape when viewed from above.

TIPSTICKER

Graphic on the inside of a hat in the center of the crown.

TOP HAT

The top hat is a type of formal dress hat with a tall cylindrical shape to the crown, narrow brim and flat crown top. Very popular with gentlemen and worn from the 1700s to late 1800s. Now, it is worn at formal occasions and black tie events.

TOQUE

Canadian word for a knitted hat or ski hat as it is sometimes called. It fits tightly around the head and provides warmth, sometimes with a decorative ball on top.

TOYO STRAW

Toyo straw is a manufactured straw made from rice paper that is coated with a shellac to increase stiffness and give it a shiny appearance. Toyo is commonly used in straw hats and known for there glossy sheen and smooth texture.

TRICORN

The tricorn hat (also spelled tricorne) is a type of hat worn by military men, generals, and others in the 18th-century. It has a wide brim that is folded up and pinned to the crown forming three pointed edges in a triangular shape. Famously worn by general Washinton and others, and a distinctive revolutionary war hat.

TRILBY

A hat style similar to the fedora but a trilby has a narrower brim that is upturned in the back and forward slanting crown. Popular in England.

TWEED

A rough-surfaced cloth woven from woolen yarn, typically of mixed flecked colors. Tweed is often used in suits and pants and originally from Scotland and Ireland.

UNDERBRIM or BILL

In hats, the underbrim or hat bill is the area underneath the hat's brim.

UNDERWELT

A hat underwelt is the area of the hat along the edge of the brim where the hat material is folded onto itself and sewn under the hat's brim.

VitaFelt

VitaFelt is a specific type of felt used in hats by Stetson. VitaFelt is versatile due to its properties, and used in crushable hats that are water repellent.

WEAVE

Weave, in hatmaking and hats, refers to the interlacing of straw fibers in both straw fedoras and Panama hats. Hat makers and connoiseurs refer to the tightness of the "weave" as a mark of quality. A tighter weave, one that can hold water, but is packable or crushable and still maintains shape, is considered a designation of higher quality in Panama hats.

WOOL FELT

Felt made out of wool. Wool is first sheared and then stamped and pressed into sheets using one of many processes. Wool felt is an ideal fabric for making hats because it can be so easily formed into a crown shape and retains this shape through use.