You’ve probably searched and read many articles about the fedora hat history. But only a few results provide sufficient information to satisfy your curiosity about the iconic designer hat. You might still be wondering, what is a fedora hat? What does a fedora look like? When were they invented? What are fedora hats made of? When were they popular?
So, we’ve gathered all the important information about the history of the fedora hat for you. We’ve compiled them and made this article to answer all your questions about the timeless hat.
History of the Fedora Hat
Women and Fedoras
It’s amazing to think that Fedoras have been around the fashion scene for a while now. The term fedora was used as early as 1891. Little did they know that the hat would soar and eclipse in popularity for the next two centuries.
Fedora hats made its first appearance in the 1882 theater play “Fedora” by French playwright, Victorien Sardou. Sardou derived the name from the Greek word, theodoros, which means, “gift of God.”
The play was first performed in the United States in 1889. During this time, the Fedora also first appeared as a women’s hat by the production’s title role, Princess Fedora Romanoff. During the play, Princess Fedora (portrayed by Sarah Bernhardt) wore “a center-creased, soft brimmed hat.”
This soon became a famous hat for the female audience, especially in the women’s rights movement, which took place in the late 19th century. Women’s fedoras come in various textures, colors, and forms. They also come in almost every color and even in the occasional animal print.
History of Men’s Hats
In 1924, things started to shift when Prince Edward of Britain was seen wearing the Fedora. It was soon adopted by men and became a part of the fashion replacing top hats, bowlers, and flat caps. As an outcome, the soft felt hat became the best seller in the decade, replacing the stiff hat.
Originally, the Fedora hat was worn in urban areas as protection from the bad weather. In the first few decades of the 20th century, the Unorthodox Jews began adopting the Fedora hats. The Jews wore it while studying and praying.
In early American society, the Fedora hat was mostly seen being worn in public places and became essential in a man’s wardrobe. However, men would remove their hats as a way to show respect and courtesy when talking with women. The ability to own a hat was also synonymous with being wealthy, due to fashion being known as a “status symbol”.
Meanwhile, the 1940s fedoras included brims that increased in width, while the British remained a slightly smaller brim size. Traditionally, the colors include black, brown, and grey. But the color palette started to grow during World War II to introduce the military colors green, blue, and khaki.
Fedora Hats Through the Ages
In the mid-1920s, the Fedora hat began gaining recognition. It was also associated with gangsters and Prohibition. Later on, the 1940s and the 1950s fedora hats became more popular in film noir, until informal clothing styles came into the picture.
Hollywood produced movies where Fedora hats were worn by big names in the film industry, such as Cary Grant and Humphrey Bogart. It was also seen on stage by musicians Frank Sinatra and Elvis Presley. This made the hat a repeating icon of manliness and mystery.
The Fedora hat increased and gained popularity on-and-off during the ’70, the ‘80s, and 2000s for a number of reasons.
First, Fedoras were so popular because of its practicality and style. Another reason was that they could be easily worn during commutes and they didn’t conceal the view while driving the car. They can also be folded without losing their shape. Cool, right?
However, the main reason why Fedora hats constantly make a comeback in the fashion scene is because of the media’s and famous personalities’ influence. It was in the ‘70s when the Indiana Jones franchise brought back the revival of Fedoras to the silver screen. As you can tell, television and cinema are responsible for the popularity of Fedoras.
The 21st Century
Even though the Fedora hat went in and out of the fashion scene for decades, there’s no denying that the Fedora was and will be one of the most iconic and stylish hats in history. And it looks like it’s here to stay, just as history repeats itself.
The Fedora hat made a reappearance in the 21st century along with other types of hats such as the homburg and the pork pie. Despite the fact that it remained an amount of nostalgia, Fedoras became a bold new fashion statement.
Many famous names in the music industry like Bruno Mars, Justin Timberlake, and the late Michael Jackson were seen wearing a fedora. It was seen and featured in Jackson’s music videos from Billie Jean, Dangerous, You Rock My World, to Smooth Criminal.
Other celebrities that can be given credit for popularizing Fedoras are Brad Pitt and Johnny Depp. We can also give credit to shows like Mad Men, Boardwalk Empire, and The Crown, where the characters are fashion conscious while retaining their masculinity.
These TV shows were packed with tough men in suits. They provided a platform for men who are interested in clothes but are worried about appearing feminine when into fashion. It turns out that bringing back the Fedora hat is a way to assert fashion sense without worrying about public perception.
As mentioned before, Fedoras were first introduced and popular as a women’s hat. Presently, Fedoras are still worn by women. However, not as much as they once were in the early 20th century. But female celebrities like Chloe Grace Moretz were seen wearing it.
Fashion trends come and go. But when looking for a piece of clothing or accessory, it is best to own one that is a classic, and that never goes out of style. And that is the greatest thing about the Fedora – the timeless versatility.
Fedora hats first appeared as a female hat in 1882.
Fedora-like hats were mostly worn by both sexes in the early 20th century, but it ended up establishing the image of the fedora as a distinctly masculine piece.
If you’re a dapper, rakish gentleman who likes to dress well, a fedora hat is for you.