Fedora Hats

Initially seen as a casual sporting hat, primarily at the races, the Fedora became very popular in both town and country for its stylish durability and head protection in all weathers. Our Fedora hats are all made in England coming in a range of styles and finishes, including wool and furfelt. The Fedora is an excellent adaptable hat suitable for both men and women.

Laird Hatter’s Hat Histories

The Fedora Hat

A fedora is a felt hat that is creased lengthwise down the crown and pinched in the front on both sides. Similar hats with a C-crown, open crown or teardrop crown (an indentation for the head in the top of the crown) are occasionally called fedoras, rather than a trilby. A Trilby is very similar and the two are fairly interchangeable, though occasionally thought to have a smaller brim to the wide brimmed Fedora, this is actually a myth. Often the Fedora will have a turned brim at the back of the Crown, and this is given as a distinguishing factor; and this may hold more credence, know as the snap-brim, but can also be down-brim too in safari hat or country hat style.  Though there is little definitive evidence, the Fedora generally seems to be the American term for the Trilby, more commonly known in England.  

The term fedora was in use as early as 1891. Originally a women’s fashion into the 20th century, the fedora came into use in about 1919, as a man’s accessory for the middle classes; its popularity soared.

 

The word fedora comes from the title of an 1882 play by Victorien Sardou, “Fedora”, written for Sarah Bernhardt. The play was first performed in the U.S. in 1889. Bernhardt played Princess Fédora, the heroine of the play, and she wore a hat similar to a fedora. The fedora became a female fashion, which lasted into the early part of the twentieth century, when the fedora became a male fashion. 

The Fedora became very popular in both town and country for it’s stylish durability and head protection in all weathers. Some could even be rolled up or be a Crushable Fedora Hat. Richard Davy was said to be the first wearer of the Fedora in New York.

Since the early part of the 20th century, many Haredi and other Orthodox Jews have worn black fedoras and continue to this day. 

Popular stars in the 1950s such as Gene Kelly, often wore fedoras in their movies, like Singin’ in the Rain. Hollywood movies in the 1940s, often cast the Fedora as the pivotal wardrobe accessory for the Private Detective or Gangster. These were “tough guy” roles, coupled with a trench coat; think Humphrey Bogart in Casablanca or Warren Beatty in Dick Tracey. The fedora is widely recognized with the characters of The Blues Brothers, Freddy Kruger and especially Indiana Jones. The fedora is also closely associated with Film Noir. In England, the Fedora, or Trilby, was very popular in film, most notably Trevor Howard and later Sid James wearing the classic Porkpie Trilby. Dick Tracy wore a yellow Fedora, and there has been a massive resurgence thanks to Mad Men and the Don Draper Hat. Everyone asks for 

In the late 1950s the hat began to lose favor on the west coast of the United States, which is known for its more casual clothing. The late 1950s switch from large lapels and ties to thin ones resulted in shorter-brimmed hats, and this likely played a role in the fedora eventually being deemed a non-essential item. Also playing a part were the shrinking automobiles of the mid-1950s, which often made it difficult to wear a hat while driving. 

In the 1960’s JFK took the presidency and in a move to leave the old, war era behind, was never seen wearing a hat, and throughout the 60’s saw the hat’s decline.

By the early 1970s, the fedora was seen as a dead fashion, typically only worn by older and/or more traditional men. 

Now thanks to the Chap and Vintage Hat fashion, they are popular again. More and more people wear a fedora including James Bay, Pete Doherty, Tom Hardy amongst many. Film and TV is a massive influence, but people still ask for gangster hats or Godfather hats in store.

Never forget how practical a hat is as a sun hat, or winter hat, to take as a Safari hat or Country Hat the Laird Hatter’s Fedora now comes as a crushable or rollable hat, ideally suited as a travelling hat.