What Is A Fedora?

What Is A Fedora?

Fedora hats can vary in color and design but what makes it unique is its slick design. As long as it has creased triangular folding embedded on the hat, it is considered a fedora. It is a soft felt hat that was designed with the front pinched and the top creased in a triangular fold down the crown. The original style of fedora hat had a crown that had no crease. This allowed the owner of the hat to create the crease according to his or her own personal style.  

Its brim is pliable and wide, contributing to its initial popularity as it could be rolled up when not being worn. Although fedoras were traditionally made using soft felt, nowadays they can be found in a wide variety of materials such as velvet, straw, wool, twill, and suede. The traditional black color is still quite popular, although a wide range of patterns and colors are available.


History and Origins of the Fedora Hat

History and Origins of the Fedora Hat

The Fedora hat got its name from a French play way back in 1882 titled Fedora, directed by Victorien Sardou. Princess Fedora was the play’s main character, and it was adapted for the American stage in 1889, with the character played by an American actress. The fedora hat was introduced to the fashion scene the following decade as a female fashion accessory, targeting middle-class and upper-class Western ladies.

The Fedora rapidly rose to become fashion options for men too. They were particularly popular in urban centers where men wore them to add a touch of elegance as well as to protect their heads from extreme weather elements. Political figure President Roosevelt owned a fedora and wore it all the time. Black fedoras become a vital component of orthodox Jews’ wardrobe during the early decades of the 20th century, with a majority of the Jews still wearing them today.


The Early Days Of The Fedora Hat

The Early Days Of The Fedora HatIn the 1920s and 1930s, during the Prohibition era, the fedora hat became associated with notorious gangsters such as Al Capone, together with the detectives who went after them. They were also highly popularized in the movies of the mid 20th century, especially by actors playing private investigators and mobsters. From the 1920s, the hats were worn by men all over the United States, but their popularity began to fade on the West coast in the 1950’s. This is perhaps due to the more casual dress and temperate climate. In the west coast, versions of the hats with shorter brims became more popular. While in the east coast the classic fedora retained its popularity until the 1960’s.


The Later Years Of The Fedora Hat

The Later Years Of The Fedora Hat

The youth had chosen baseball caps over fedoras by the 1970s. Older men, however, continued to wear the classic fedoras they had grown up wearing. Michael Jackson contributed to the iconic rise in popularity of the fedora in the late 1980’s. Don’t forget movie characters – Indiana Jones and Crocodile Dundee – for contributing to its fame as well. The Fedora hat made a significant fashion comeback between 2007 and 2008, seen all over spring collections and catwalks in the fall. Famous celebrities are still using the fedora or variations of it today, like Justin Timberlake, Brad Pitt and many others.


Styles of the Fedora Hat

Fedoras of this century range from those made using lightweight materials such as canvas and straw, to replicas of the original ones made from felt. Let’s explore some of the styles and materials that are popular today.


Straw Fedora Hat

Straw Fedora Hats

A straw fedora hat is made from toquilla straw plant and was purposely designed for protecting the head from the sun and heat. This hat has an Ecuadorian origin; one of the most popular designs is the Cuban style fedora, and also the famous Rat Pack fedora hat worn by Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin and Sammy Davis Jr.


White Fedora Hat

White Fedora Hat

It has a very clean and smooth look. Michael Jackson wore this hat as his trademark in the music video for “Smooth Criminal”. This look is also very popular in hot tropical climates like Central and South America.


Black Fedora Hat

Vintage Style fedora Hat

This is the classic of all fedoras. In the early 20th century, it is linked with prohibition and the great depression. The famous black quicksilver fedora hat, the bogey fedora hats, these are examples of the black fedora. Still wildly popular today with all ages, genders, and classes.


Fur Felt Fedora Hat

beige fedora hat

This hat is usually with a fur/wool-like material. Usually in brown color. Indiana Jones made this hat popular. Example of this design are the crushable wool hat, scala wool felt crushable fedora and the Dorfman Pacific Fedora.


Shopping Tips For Wide-Brimmed Fedora Hats

Shopping Tips For Wide-Brimmed Fedora Hats

Trying the wide-brimmed hats on is the best way to determine which one looks good on you. There are currently plenty of styles to choose from, so it is essential to find the ones that suit you best. Before you rush off to make your purchase, there are some tips to keep in mind when choosing wide-brimmed or fedora hats.

  • Knowing one’s hat size is important

It only takes a moment to use a tape measure and a sizing chart to find out their correct size. This will ensure that the hat fit properly and will not be too loose or too snug on your head.

  • Select a hat according to the shape of your face

If your face is oval-shaped, then you have more advantage in creating different styles. But if your face is angular, narrow, or wide, your choice of styles will be limited. For wide faces, select wide-brimmed hats that have a high crown and a straight brim. For heart-shaped and long faces, wearing hats with a curved or floppy brim is recommended for this softens the lines of your face.

  • Pick a hat that works well with your height

Smaller people should choose smaller wide-brimmed hats because the large, extravagant hats only work well with taller individuals. As much as you can, avoid wearing an extremely wide-brimmed hat to prevent yourself from looking comical. To look stylish in this hat, stick to the ones that have brims that have the same width as your shoulder or narrower than that.

  • The hat should match the majority of your outfits

Simpler outfits require more elaborate hats. This will create balance in your overall look. Extravagant outfits, on the other hand, need to be matched with plain hats. If you wish to wear your wide-brimmed hat regularly, choose a hat that is crush-resistant so that it won’t get damaged even if it is packed in your bag several times.


How To Wear a Wide-Brimmed Fedora Hats

Blue Fedora Wide Brim

The fedora hat has made a fashion statement for well over 100 years and continues to be ever-popular. However, if not worn the right way, the wearer of this hat is more likely to end up imitating a gangster character. Nobody wants to get all dressed up and end up looking like a cliche so here are a few guidelines on wearing wide-brimmed hats.

  • When wearing a wide-brimmed hat, it should be the focal point of your outfit. Don’t go over the top and pair it with a fur coat, oversized accessories or wild hairdo. Keep it classy and understated unless you are going to a costume party.
  • A wide-brimmed hat should work in balance with the rest of your outfit. Wear a hat that sits squarely on the top of your head and just enough to cover a bit of your forehead.
  • And most importantly, if you are unsure whether it looks good on you or not, take it off. You’ll never pull this look off if you are not confident with it.


Care And Cleaning Your Fedora Hat

Care And Cleaning Your Fedora Hat


The best way to ensure the long life of your hat is to make sure that you know how to take care of it properly. Below are some useful tips and tricks for protecting your investment.


Cleaning Your Fedora

Always start by removing excess dirt and debris 

You can do this a number of ways. Use a soft bristle brush to gently brush in the same direction of the fabric nap or use a lint roller to remove any fuzz or stray fibers. If your hat is made of straw or synthetic fibers, simply wiping the hat down with a clean damp cloth should remove any dirt or debris from causing harm to the hat.


Got caught in the rain?

Start by gently shaking off any excess water and lay the hat over a hat form or large glass jar. This keeps the brim from flattening out and helps the crown to keep its shape. Allow your hat to air dry away from direct sunlight and high heat sources. This will prevent fading and shrinkage.


Removing perspiration stains 

This will require you to first wipe the hat down inside and out with a warm damp cloth. This will loosen and remove any excess body salt deposits on the hat. Removing the hat band will help the hat dry out completely and evenly. If after drying there are still salt stains on the hat, use a mixture of equal parts white distilled vinegar and warm water to remove them. Use a soft white cloth to gently apply the vinegar mixture to spot clean the stains. Allow the hat to dry completely before using a soft brush to revive the nap of the hat.


Has the leather sweatband turned hard or stiff?

Applying saddle soap with a clean soft cloth with help get the sweatband back into proper shape. After you have cleaned with the saddle soap, apply leather conditioner to keep your sweatband soft and supple between cleanings. Make sure that you extra care not to get the leather conditioner on the cloth or wool part of the hat as it will leave a stain.


Inside the crown looking less than stellar?

If you use hair products, lotions or have any type of oily deposits on your hat, liberally apply talcum powder or better yet cornstarch to the affected area and allow it to sit for several hours. Again, using a soft bristled brush, dust off the powder in the same direction as the nap of the fabric. If the stains still remain, repeat the process until they are gone.


What not to do with your hat

It is never recommended to use a liquid cleaner on your fabric or wool fedoras unless they are made of synthetic fibers. Even then it is best to only use a mixture of mild detergent and water applied with a clean, soft white cloth to spot clean any stains. Be sure that you use a clean cloth dipped in only water to rinse the stained area. Allow the hat to air dry as instructed above to achieve the best results.


Care Tips For Your FedoraCare Tips For Your Fedora

  • When you are not wearing your hat it is best to store it upside down in a covered hat box. This keeps it free of dust and debris, safe from moths and other insects and helps to keep the brim shaped properly.


  • When you handle your fedora by the pinch of the crown ( the spot where all that fabric comes together to create the point ) you run the risk of tearing the fabric or causing the point to become misshapen. To preserve the proper shape of your hat, it is best to handle it by the brim. Oils and dirt from your hands can cause the hat to become discolored over time so always handle your hat with clean hands.


  • The best way to pack your hat when traveling is to stuff the inside of the hat with clean socks or underwear and place the hat upside down and surround it with other clothing. This will ensure that the hat keeps its shape and doesn’t get crushed or the brim to become creased.
  • If your hat does become crushed for whatever reason, use a clothing steamer or hold it over a pot of hot water until the hat becomes slightly damp. Re-shape the hat to its original condition and place it over a hat form or large rounded jar to air dry away from direct heat.



Frequently Asked Questions About Fedora Hats


Are Fedora Hats In Style?

At present, there are so many kinds of hats that are available with different designs, styles, and colors. One thing that makes the fedora hat distinctive is that it has been used for a very long time. It’s a fashion statement that will always remain a popular part of our fashion and culture.


How Should A Fedora Hat Fit Your Head?

The hat should fit snugly, but not so snugly that it leaves a red mark on your skin. Remember, a properly fitted hat should rest approximately a finger’s width above your eyebrows and ears. Keep the back brim of your fedora tilted up.


When Should You Wear A Fedora Hat?

Wearing your hat when you’re outside, on the street, or in public areas is acceptable. It is also okay to wear your hat indoors at places like hotel lobbies, airports, train stations, elevators, public transportation, etc.

You should not be wearing your hat inside of homes, schools, restaurants, cafes, churches, theatres, and some businesses (especially if you’re there for business). Additionally, you will want to remove your hat during meals, movies, during the national anthem, during weddings and funerals, while taking photographs, and when you’re being introduced to someone.

One thought on “The Gentleman’s Guide To Fedora Hats

  1. Acme Hat says:

    Great blog, thanks a lot for this information as well as for these tips. Indeed a useful article, thanks a lot for sharing.

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