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Many hats are classified as unisex items, meaning they can be worn anytime, anywhere by either gender. Men and women who share articles of clothing or accessories usually do so without knowing the distinct characteristics of each garment. 

However, there are subtle differences between women’s and men’s hats that can be pointed out. These may give you an idea of how to shop for your next headwear or a hat gift for a friend.

Here are the common differences between men’s and women’s hats:

1. Size

Hat sizes are determined by measuring the circumference of the product at the brim. Women’s hats generally come in smaller circumferences than men’s. However, this difference is often not visible or noticeable at first look. 

There is less than an inch difference between the maximum size of the two hats (for men and women). Women’s hats are less than an inch smaller than men’s hats, at 22.25 inches and 23 inches in circumference, respectively.

Not every shop uses the same size charts, so the fit still depends on how the actual hat feels when worn. 

ProvatoKnit Wide Brim Rancher

Here is an example showing a ProvatoKnit Wide Brim Rancher for women and a Stratoliner B Soft Felt Fedora for men.

Stratoliner B Soft Felt Fedora

The body of the men’s hat is noticeably wider from top to bottom compared to the women’s hat, which has a relatively narrower body that tapers slightly toward the top.

2. Production Process

There are details in men’s and women’s hats that make them specific to the gender they are made for. For instance, men’s hats are flatter and more rigid, while women’s hats are usually softer, floppier, and more open. 

While these details may not matter today, more traditional hat makers would still leave these as an ode to traditional hat-making. There were times wherein women would request specific

fabrics, colors, and embellishments on their hats, while men settled for the way hats fulfilled their purpose. They paid little attention to how it looked. 

Using the same example above, the woman’s hat is in a bolder color scheme, with bright red and black in the inner and outer lining, respectively. Meanwhile, the man’s fedora comes in a monotonous white. 

It also has an indented top that is a classic marker of fedora hats for men. 

Hat-making today is more gender-neutral. The products can be worn by anyone as long as the hats match the rest of the person’s outfit.

3. Decoration

Colors and decorations for hats used to be exclusive to women. They would select specific colors, ribbons, jewels, and nets to make the hat a representation of themselves and their status.

black hat with decoration

Meanwhile, men kept their hats clean and within the same three neutral colors: black, white, and brown. 

Today, how ornate or plain a hat is depends on the owner’s preferences. Their gender no longer dictates how their hats look. Men can choose to decorate their hats as much as they want to and receive no judgment. 

Stevie Pinch Front PorvatoKnit Rancher and Monarch Gold Bottom Wide Brim Wool Fedora

Pictured above are a Stevie Pinch Front PorvatoKnit Rancher and a Monarch Gold Bottom Wide Brim Wool Fedora. These hats are proof that the main traditional differences in hats for men and women are already being challenged.

The first hat is a women’s hat in a neutral color with little embellishments while the second hat is a men’s hat in bold colors. It’s refreshing to see exceptions like this, as they prove that fashion is dynamic and follows the signs of the times.


These were the main differences between men’s and women’s hats, which we have summarized for your shopping spree. Buy an appropriate hat for your loved one based on these guidelines but remember that none of these apply as strict rules. 

Ultimately, the wearer can wear anything he wants, regardless of whether it was originally made for a man or a woman.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Is there a difference between a man’s and a woman’s fedora?

A man’s fedora usually has shorter brims, firmer bodies, and more neutral colors. Meanwhile, a woman’s fedora may have a floppier brim and a softer body, and can come in a wider variety of colors and decorations. 

What does women’s fit for hats mean?

The fit of hats for women means that the hat is made in a standard size that fits most women. This is possible because the hat is adaptable. It can fit head circumferences within a certain range instead of having one specific circumference only. 

What is a woman’s hat etiquette?

A woman’s hat etiquette refers to whether a woman must remove her hat indoors or in a specific environment, as men do. Women do not have to do this because their hats are decorative, unlike those of men.

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