Not a regular part of your fashion ensemble but one that is guaranteed to earn you all the turns of the head, hats are what you need to thrown in to your style mix to have a heady effect of your own. Wear them to the beach for a respite from the flirting sun, don one to assume a personality outside your own, hide under them on bad hair days or just about ‘hat’ching a plan beneath their brim- there is no one way to fall headlong in love with your hats. From traditional hats to exotic ones, from modern variants to everyday classics, have your pick from the many types at the disposal of the world to make others having their hat taken off for you!
A style as iconic as the legendary Charlie Chaplin himself who sported it commonly in his films is the bowler style of hat that has been in existence since the 19th century. Versatile in its history of finding favor with both the working classes and the middle and upper strata of society, though in geographically different regions, the bowler hat is a sturdy and durable style that originated in England.
Very significant therefore in British culture but also finding worldwide prominence, the bowler, very often also called the derby, had also been the most popular style in America West, superseding even the charm of the cowboy hat, mostly because of how it would manage to not get knocked over by the wind. Even today making for a dashing fit with a formal pairing of suits and such attire, the bowler remains one of the most versatile hat styles to ever have been.
One of the most popular types of hats, whether it be courtesy its recurring image in popular culture or the settings against which it makes its appearance, the Panama Hat is a traditional stemming from Ecuador. Known also therefore as the Ecuadorian hat or the toquilla straw hat, the Panama makes for quite a splash in the beachy regions of the world, dominating the tropical scene in its breezy strawy essence, in shades of color that spell out cool and calm, something personified also in the breathable, lightweight attributes of it.
Made from the plaited leaves of the toquilla palm, that is native to Central and northern South America, the hat derives its name not from its region of origin but rather from its initial point of sale. Also noteable is the fact that the intricate weaving process of the Panama Hat that lends it its superfine luxury and breathable quality has also been recognised by the UNESCO as part of its Intangible Cultural Heritage List, ensuring therefore that you sport a piece of heritage embedded in style when you set out to chill at the shores with the most iconic seaside accessory there ever has been.
A namesake derivative from the Moroccan city of Fez, though touted also to be possibly of Turkish origins, the fez is one of the most standout of traditional hats from anywhere in the world. A short cylindrical peakless hat, most commonly red in color, the fez has been in existence since at least the times of the Ottoman Empire, during which its popularity peaked, and had been interpreted back then as also an adherence to the religion of Islam. The Arabic variant of the fez is called the tarboush, but most interesting is the fact that the distinct red color of the hat was imparted by a dye extracted from crimson berries.
Most prominently worn today in Morocco where it enjoys a distinctive place, having been prominent as a cultural symbol against the French dominance during the 20th century, the Fez though was banned at one point of time in the region of Turkey, parallel however to an altogether contrasting importance that it came to assume in the west around the same time, as part of an Oriental cultural identity rooted in exoticness and romance. Complete with its tassel, the fez indeed is very much a marker of fashion as it is of continuing legacies of the past, manifesting its identity in variants such as the Rumi Topi in Southern Asia or the related chechia of Uzbekistan as well as the chenna of Libya.
There’s no need elaborating what the cowboy hat is. A popular image of hats sported by the cowboys, who form such an iconic encompassment of style whether be it in their pants or shirts or shoes, cowboy hats are instantly definable in their high-crowned, wide brimmed essence, much like other elements of a fashion consciousness exclusive to them, recognized as part of Old West apparel. Deriving from the classic Mexican sombrero, cowboy hats are distinctive also in a brim that rolls somewhat upwards and also as distinctive in being often referred to as 10 gallon hats.
Today available in a wide range of colors though traditionally preferred in earthy tones of beige, brown and black to most suit the ranchy cowboy image associated with them, sporting a cowboy hat is a sophisticated matter of fashion anyday, one that sums up the conjunctions of styles even when set apart by more than a hundred of years.
Another traditional hat, this time from Korea is what is called the gat, standout in its vision of striking dimensions. Made from horsehair with a bamboo frame, this is a type of man’s hat that is generally worn with the traditional Korean dress hanbok, and had been definer of social status. Dating back to ancient times when they were exclusive to the noble folk, gats evolved over the times to be accessible to the commoners who wore a variant called Paeraengyi, woven from split bamboo while the black gat was restricted only to men who had passed the gwageo examination. Apart from its social significance, the gat is also symbolic of the cultural riches of the Korean identity, particularly in its complex weaving process that which has led it to be considered as Intangible Cultural Property No.4.
Another of the wide brimmed hats known for lending a certain charisma to the wearer is the bucket hat. Notable in its downward sloping brim as contrasted to the upward curled form of the cowboy variation, bucket hats are also highly versatile a style, effectively treading the expanses of high fashion as well as street style, emerging even to be a ramp favorite. Known by a range of other names like the session hat, fisherman’s hat, Irish country hat, the style was introduced in the 1900s as waterproof hats made from wool felt or tweed cloth, worn by Irish farmers for protection from the rain.
In its many conveniences like foldability to the extent that they could fit inside a coat pocket as well as easy cleaning and reshaping, the bucket hat continued to remain popular throughout the decades, as a functional fashion accessory for both men and women. Known also by even more diverse names in different countries, the bucket hat truly is one of the most popular fashion items sported on the head.
Robin Hood Hat
As iconic as our favorite of all outlaws in history is also his iconic cap, that goes by his very name as Robin Hood Hat. More formally known as the bycocket though, this is a wide brimmed hat that formed a part of unisex fashion in Europe from the 13th to the 16th century. With a tall crown and an upturned brim that is pointed in the front like a bird’s beak, the Robin Hood hat had always been associated with the elite- from nobles to royals to merchants, everyone sported it during its range of peak popularity till the time it faded away from style, living only through its identity as associated with the iconic character of Robin Hood.
One of the most classic of hat styles, the fedora is a true fashion icon. Known for its soft wide brim and indented crown along which it is typically pinched, the style has been in vogue since 1891, deriving its name from the eponymous 1882 play by Victorien Sardou. Popularised in 1924 by the then Prince of Wales Edward, the Fedora emerged to be a style essential for men, diverting from the mainstream realisation of its style among the womenfolk since the beginning of the 20th century.
A recurring popular culture element pertaining to gangsters and hipsters, and a standout fashion vision in the genre of film noir, as well as forming a part of one of the most remarkable ensemble pertaining to the legendary Michael Jackson, it though is again a testament to the versatility of the fedora that manifests it also as popular a symbol in orthodox Judaism where it is typically worn during prayers but also even otherwise.
Toque is what you would know as the chef’s hat, even when its origins are not particularly limited to the realms of the culinary world. The Breton word for hat, toque is this long, white brimless hat that professional chefs wear as part of their all white ensemble, evolving into its modern form from the French chef Marie-Antoine Carême. Beyond the domain of the chefs, a toque hat also holds prominence in the French identity in its numerous other manifestations. Everyone from magistrates to graduates to the heraldry in France have had donned a toque at some point of time in history, while Canadians refer to their knit caps as touque. Also prevailing in the domain of the sports is the toque as a hard-type hat or helmet, worn especially while riding in equestrian sports, very often in black and covered with black velvet.
A very novelty appearance of the hat, a picture hat, as the name suggests, is one that is picture perfect to the point. Just kidding! An elaborate woman’s hat with a wide brim, picture hats are so called because of the way the broad brim frames the face to create a “picture”, though it still is undeniable that these hats are really pretty enough to come across as picturesque. Also called garden hats, these are rather large, ‘designer’ hats that come with all sorts of abilities to ‘hold’ pretty things like flowers or whole stuffed birds, explaining why you are so likely to see a Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge or a haute couturing Philip Treacy sporting them on their stunningly royal outings.
First popularised at the end of the 18th century not by any fashionista or such but rather by artist Thomas Gainsborough who began painting portraits of society women donning these items of novelty, picture hats have been particularly popular throughout the entirety of the 20th century, though in different manifestations of shape and designs. Indeed a statement making piece of headgear, picture hats are about all things flamboyant and flair, making sure that your style game signs off with a flourish.
Think the fun and frilly party hats, the mystique inciting wizard hats or the exquisitely pretty princess hats- all these types of hats have one thing in common, they are all conical shaped, pointy hats that immediately sparks visions of all things exciting. Also incorporating this hat style is different cultures the world over where pointed hats have persisted through traditions, in styles that rest in a common tipping point, yet are distinctive, each in their own right. Of course you wouldn’t wear one of these conical shapes for fashion, they are specifically meant to be worn as part of dressing up for traditional events or special occasions like birthdays, princess parties and the like. But despite their restrictive mode of occurrence in the commonplace stylistic realm, pointed hats still are one of the most striking looking types of hats to ever have been!
Much like wizards, chefs and party revelers holding their heads high by means of hats, magicians also stay true to the lofty feats of their craft by means of something similar. In their case, it is the magician’s hat, also called beaver hat or top hat or high hat that stands testimony to their identity, even when their basis of origin was not anything rooted in spells and stuff.
A tall, flat-crowned hat for men traditionally associated with formal wear, these black crowning glories of the head emerged sometime by the end of the 18th century, lending itself to the magical world in the couple of decades that followed where they came to be not just part of a magician’s costume but also a prop using which some commonly performed magic tricks came to be. In its silken essence, the top hat immediately stands out as one that conjures images of all things magical and grand, be it formal occasions like weddings or even funerals and spanning obviously the spellbinding stage of magical mavericks.