Over the years, the prevalence of the hat seems to have come in and out of fashion with stunning regularity. While the art of the hat goes back many a year, the history of the more modern style of hat can be quite confusing. From the old-school fascinators to the flat cap of old, hats have long been a part of fashion across the world.
From the ancient milliners using hats to keep the sun out of their eyes to the military and naval generals of the past and their tricornes, hats have enjoyed status for both fashion and function. The last century or so, though, has seen a total transformation in the history of this most wonderful of accessory.
Arguable the first time that hats became such a major hit in the 19th century onward was during the Edwardian period. At this point, women often wore hats that allowed them to carry off a rich S-shape in terms of their shadow, wearing (often comically) wide-brimmed hats. They were often so heavy that they could cause imbalance for those wearing the hat!
As the world began to turn to industry, though, fashion changed with this new industrial ideology. This seen everything change; hats included. For example, the classic trilby and fedora hat soon became a part of common parlance in the fashion industry. This became the timeless example of a classic male hat, and up until the 1960s was adorned by just about all men of working age.
The fact they were so easily designed and their simplicity meant they often fitted well in a car, unlike other hat styles. This seen hats become popular in the movie industry, too, and before long the trilby and fedora had become a very popular and common part of fashion parlance!
As the 1960s arrived, we seen a total change in how hats would be designed and managed. As human life began to switch towards more creative individualism, fashion and how we dressed changed with it. From how we wore our hair to the hats we covered it with, everything went through a swift and significant transformation.
From the classic flat cap to the baseball cap through to mod hats and then unisex hats, the concept of what was a ‘male’ hat and a ‘female’ hat changed almost overnight. Today, that liberalism has continued unabated. Hats are more daring than ever before, and often follow specific themes.
While it was once common for most men and women in the street to wear very similar hat styles, it’s less likely today. You could easily see someone wearing a bonnet, a flat cap, a skip cap, a snapback and even a woolly hat if you were to look around long enough!
Whether it’s a formal hat being worn to help complete a more studious look akin to the early 20th-century style or a hate emblazoned with all manner of colours and adornments, hats have never looked so different. In an era where the individual far usurps the collective, hats were always bound to undergo a transformative change in how they looked.