History of Mens Hats
Men have worn hats of various kinds as far back as prehistoric times. Through archeological excavations, evidence has been found that shows that head coverings were worn to protect against the elements. In the time of the ancient Egyptians, Greeks and Romans, the hats the men wore denoted their rank in society. Felt was the traditional material for hats and this practice is believed to have originated with the nomadic Asian tribes who used felted sheep’s wool as the material for their tents and clothing.
It wasn’t until the 14th and 15th centuries that wearing hats became fashionable for men. They became an important part of a man’s attire, whether he was dressed for a formal or casual occasion. As hats became more popular, a wide range of materials was used in making them. Silk, velvet, taffeta, beaver and felt were all considered stylish materials and there was little difference in the style of hats worn by both men and women.
Men’s hats usually made a symbolic statement, such as the stiff top hat worn by the bourgeoisie to designate that they were in a position of authority. The soft Trilby hat tended to denote democracy and revolution and were usually worn by artists, intellectuals and those that lived in rural areas.
Some of the popular styles of men’s hats through the centuries have been:
- Capotain. This was a tall hat with a tapered crown and medium sized brim. It was the style worn by men in the 17th century and originated in Spain. These hats were made of felt and black was the most popular color choice.
- Sugar Loaf. This is the type of hat worn by the Puritan men. It had a high crown and a stiff brim.
- Tricorne. The three-cornered hat became popular in the 18th century.
- Bicorne. Intellectuals and artists mostly wore this hat in the latter part of the 18th century.
- Top Hat. This style of hat is worn today with tuxedos, but was the main type of hat that men wore in the mid 19th century.
- Coke Hat. This was popular in the mid 19th century and was often called a bowler hat.
- Panamas and Soft Hats. These became popular with men from the 1800’s. They were generally made of felt or straw. They were and still are used as part of casual attire.