If you’re planning on attending a hat-themed trivia dinner party in…
“Wide brimmed and narrow, some tall, some not, some fancy, some colorful, some plaid, some plain. She doted on changing hats at every opportunity.” – William Goldman, The Princess Bride
There are countless types, textures, styles, and shapes of hats available nowadays, but you might be interested to know that as different as they appear, they share many qualities. In a way, hats are a little like Mexican food: an infinite number of delicious outcomes using the same few ingredients.
The cowboy hat is one of the most distinctive of all styles, but it ranges significantly in fabric, style, and decoration. The brim could be wide, narrow, straight, or curved. The crown is made from a single pressed piece of fabric – usually felt, though it can be made of straw or other materials – and can have a deep crease or no crease at all. The “pinch” is the style of creasing in the crown which can vary from being a diamond shape, square shape, or oval, and the sweatband is usually made from leather. Hatbands allow you to personalize your cowboy hat and come in a wide variety of materials, from leather to cloth to woven textile.
The fedora shares a lot of characteristics with the cowboy hat, but it’s more versatile. Like the cowboy hat, the crown is usually made from a single piece of felt or material, and the way the hat is dented determines the overall shape and style. Though the brim can be nine or ten inches like a cowboy hat, most fedoras keep to about two or three, and the brim can be turned up or down to achieve a different look.
A fedora’s sweatband helps it keep its shape on the wearer’s head and is most often made of leather or ribbon. The hat band is usually more distinctive and decorated than a cowboy hat and can be made of leather or colored ribbon with additional accessories like feathers or flowers worked into the band.
Baseball caps are typically made with six panels (though that number can vary) that all join up at the top of the hat via a cloth-covered button (called a “squatchee” for all of you trivia-lovers). The front two panels usually have some kind of structure behind them to help the hat hold its shape. Trucker hats or other purposefully shaped hats will use cardboard, foam, or buckram (a very stiff fabric) to help them keep their shape, while the less structured “dad hat” might not use any stiffener at all. Be conscious of which material your baseball cap uses before you wash it, however, or you could end up with a soggy mess.
Since people wear baseball caps in very sunny places, ventilation is a must. Trucker hats substitute mesh fabric for the back few panels for this purpose, but cloth baseball caps usually have eyelets sewn in.
Though there are now flex-fit caps that can stretch to accommodate different head sizes without a separate closure, most ball caps have a separate closing piece for increased adjustability. Whether it be a plastic snapback closure, elastic, a buckle, or Velcro, this feature makes the ball cap nearly one-size-fits-all.
The sweatband is usually made from moisture-wicking material to keep sweat out of the wearer’s eyes, and the visor – not a brim since it only goes partially around the crown – can be curved or straight depending on the wearer’s preference.
The military-style hat has been a staple of armed services across the world for many years. It has a visor like a baseball cap, but instead of being made of six panels, there is a single flat piece on top and a single piece making up the sides. Nowadays, this style of hat comes in all colors and fabrics and is personalized with pins, patches, and other memorabilia.
Fishing Hat/ Boonie Hat
These versatile hats are usually made out of cotton, polyester, or canvas so that they can be stuffed quickly into a bag and bounce after getting wet. Like the military hat, the crown is usually made of a flat top piece and a separate side piece, but it comes with a brim instead of a visor.
Most of these hats come with a chin strap that helps the wearer keep track of the hat during inclement weather. Additionally, the fishing hat comes with several loops and holes for storing hooks or other small pieces of gear.
We will just round out this post with a hat that is unlike any other kind of hat: the fascinator. This style shares very few characteristics with other hats but is fantastic all the same. You see this kind of hat a lot for royal weddings or derby events.
These hats can be worn directly on top of the head, but they are most often tilted to one side. The fascinator starts with a disk of lightweight, mesh-like fabric that is attached to a headband or hairclip. The wearer then personalizes the hat with over-the-top (yet classy) feathers, ribbons, crinoline, and/or flowers that match the rest of the wearer’s ensemble.