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Unless you are an aficionado of late 1800s European theatre, early 1900s American theatre and opera, or 1970s American filmography, you probably didn’t know that the well-loved fedora originated on the stage. If you did know that, hats off to you!
There is a certain level of controversy (as much as there can be where fedoras are concerned) about whether the popularity of the hat began with the 1882 French lead woman Sarah Bernhardt, or the 1883 American lead man, Robert Mantell in the play called “Fedora.”
Most sources believe that Sarah Bernhardt is the forerunner in this iconic fashion accessory. Allegedly, Bernhart, for whom the play was written, was a notorious cross-dresser, and it is believed that she introduced the soft-crowned felt hat during her time as Princess Fédora Romazov.
Suddenly women all over the world were enamored with this new style of hat, and it became a widely popular women’s hat until the 1920s when fashion trends shifted the fedora to predominantly men’s headwear.
People often view the fedora as a somewhat masculine piece of clothing which may be why women have worn it during important events. For example, many women suffragettes donned the felt hat during their protests for women’s right to vote. The prohibition era’s love of fedoras inside and outside of the law further solidified the fedora as a symbol of mystery, toughness, and roguish glamour.
Nowadays, women are still rocking the fedora by combining it with different styles of clothing. Its versatility means that it can be worn with dresses and skirts as well as tank tops and jeans. Though traditionally made from dark-colored felt, nowadays, fedoras are available in all materials, colors, and textures. Women celebrities have capitalized on its adaptable nature to add a little something extra to their wardrobes.
The Classic Panama
Panama hats are a special kind of fedora made from woven straw. They are usually a whitish color with a dark-colored hat band, and they give off the impression of slow, coastal living. Cameron Diaz, Jennifer Aniston, Miranda Kerr, and Amber Heard are all famous women who wear this classic style.
Kendall Jenner was seen wearing the classic Panama paired with high-waisted jeans and a loose-fitting shirt, while Jessica Alba and Reese Witherspoon also sported the Panama in a laid-back environment.
A Pop of Color
The great thing about modern fedoras is that they come in an endless number of colors and patterns. Taylor Swift has been spotted wearing colorful fedoras on multiple occasions around town, and Nicole Richie even accented her burgundy fedora with a tastefully bedazzled hatband.
My personal favorite, however, was Cameron Diaz’s lavender fedora – it provided just the right splash of color to go along with her outfit. Christina Aguilera has also been known to wear brightly colored fedoras with powerfully patterned ribbon hatbands.
Colorful fedoras provide a way for you to incorporate the “wow factor” into your outfit, but few things are more chic than the timeless black fedora. Lindsay Lohan, Gwen Stefani, and Beyonce have all donned this classic accessory, though some pair it with highly-tailored suits, and some wear it with a t-shirt and jeans. Essentially, you can always style the hat in different ways to match your mood.
Though most people associate fedoras with a narrow brim and slightly pinched crown, wide-brimmed fedoras are also a popular way to add some interest to your outfit. Rihanna, Kendall Jenner, Jennifer Hudson, Catherine Zeta-Jones, and Kate Moss have all been seen wearing wide-brimmed fedoras as an accent to their outfits.
As mentioned above, fedoras transitioned over to a predominantly male fashion accessory for many years, but women continued to don the powerful headwear. Tyra Banks and Rhetta are two celebrity powerhouses who have incorporated men’s chic fedoras into their wardrobes.
Fedoras in the “men’s chic” category tend to be dark-colored with thin pinstripes and a narrow brim. Meant to accompany a tailored suit of similar fabric, these fedoras give the impression of confidence, authority, and clout—no matter who is wearing them.
Whether you want to add a little pizzazz to your outfit by wearing a colorful fedora equipped with a sparkling hatband, or you’d like to boost your confidence by matching a dark fedora to an all-black suit, you are sure to impress.