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Decades ago, men and women used to wear hats daily. Hats, during a time before sunglasses, were a fashion staple that kept the sun out of your eyes and protected your skin. Over time, hats lost their popularity, and by the 1980s, hats became the domain of weddings, church, and other special occasions. Today, hats have their place in fashion, but they look very different from the hats of the past.
Here’s a closer look at a few popular hats throughout history:
Top hat — When a top hat comes to mind, most people think of Abraham Lincoln, but the first top hat was said to have been made by a hatter in England 16 years before the president’s birth. Nowadays, top hats are worn mostly with formal wear. They aren’t as popular today but go nicely with a suit and tie for a formal evening event.
Fedora — The fedora comes to mind when people talk of classic hats and is often associated with singer Frank Sinatra. While there are many hats that people refer to as a fedora, a real fedora is made of felt and has pinched sides and a lengthwise crease down the crown. The crease gives the front a wedge-like shape, which can be modified based on the wearer’s preference. The fedora’s versatile brim can be tilted down over the eyes for a mysterious look. Fedoras became popular among men in the 1920s after Edward, Prince of Wales started wearing them.
Boater — If you’re planning to join a barbershop quartet, don’t forget to buy yourself a boater hat. While these hats have become a mainstay of the barbershop uniform, they were originally worn by boaters and are still worn by some today. The flat-topped, wide-brimmed straw hats are also a good hat to wear to the beach, as they provide shade from the sun.
Porkpie — The first hat known as a porkpie was actually a woman’s hat and was worn from the 1830s to the 1860s. The women’s version was generally adorned with ribbons and feathers. It emerged as a male hat after the turn of the century and became popular in the United States after Buster Keaton wore the hat in many of his films. The popularity of the hat peaked during the Great Depression, but declined in popularity after World War II. Today, it continues to be associated with jazz and the blues.
Western — Western hats are high-crowned and wide-brimmed. The felt is stiff with a crease down the center and a dimple on either side of the crown. The style is still very popular today. It is not only functional, but also considered a fashion piece. You can see cowboys and cowgirls sporting the hat across the country.