So, you have an English-themed party in two days and you go buy one of the best outfits from a designer-clothes brand outlet. And with that you now have to plan and match your accessories. With jewelry, shoes and a bag in place, you feel good enough to go. We all know how important accessories are to accentuate or complete a look. They not only enhance physical appearance, they are also symbolic of ones’ confidence, character and mood.
The significance of accessories is also extended to cultural and social aspects. In the following article, we shall get to know one such accessory. You must have seen entertainment artists like actors, singers and dancers donning this piece of adornment in a large number of movies and music videos. What today adorns the heads of modern fashion lovers , was once a daily wear for the Orthodox Jews. The Fedora hat along with a smaller variant of the same style, called the Trilby are supposedly two of the most famous hats for men. These never went out of fashion and have been called timeless by people who love hats.
One can easily recognize a fedora as a felt hat with a wide brim and an indented or a pinched crown. Both Trilby and Fedora were originally made of beaver or rabbit felt. They can be found in both stiff and softer varieties. A fedora which is more popular among the masses is just a little different from the Trilby in the way it looks. It generally is also bounded by a hat band or a trim-ribbon around the rim of the crown. The fedora crown has its brim turned down in the front and is snapped up at the back , giving it a characteristic appearance and thus making it popular among all men.
The gutter dent or the crease running lengthwise through the crown and the side-dents give it a particular pinched appearance. Fedoras can also be creased with teardrop crease which gives the appearance of a teardrop from the top, or a diamond shaped crown, centre dents and many others. Although the positions of the pinches can also vary, the basic appearance stays the same. A typical fedora crown is upto 4.5 inches in height while the brim spans up to 6.4 centimeters or 2.5 inches wide. The brim may also be wider as per the rquirement. While the crease is a characteristic feature of the fedoras, some of them might also lack the crease and are called the ‘bucket fedoras’. Though fedoras can be found in a variety of colours and prints, but black, grey, dark brown and fawn are the most common colours. A Trilby looks very similar to a Fedora except for the fact that it has a shorter brim and also a slightly tighter upturn at the back.
The first time some one sported a fedora hat was in the year 1882 as a female accessory on the production of a stage play in Paris. It was a first production of the play titled ‘Fedora’ by the author Victorian Sardou. The actress Sarah Bernhardt who portrayed the role of Princess Fedora wore a hat with a wide brim and a pinched crown with an indented center. This was named after her character and has been popular ever since as the fedora hat. After Sarah Bernhardt wore the hat for her play, it became a popular fashion statement for women especially for women-rights activists. Besides them, the fedora hat found its’ many fans among newspaper reporters, Chicago gangsters, and tough guys in the movies. Rather, it became a basic accessory with a suit of clothes.
Any man who would wear a suit of clothes would top it off with a fedora. In 1924, Prince Edward of Britain started wearing fedoras on public appearances and social gatherings. Soon after this, fedora became a significant part of fashion for men and went on to replace caps, bowlers’ hats or even top hats. The classic black fedora was also worn traditionally by Orthodox Jews in the first few decades of the 20th century. They adopted the fedora as a part of their daily wear and a few of them still wear one. Though many cultures reportedly incorporated the fedora in their costumes significantly, the classic fedora was invented in the year 1891. On the other hand, what is known to be its’ younger brother, the Trilby was invented in the year 1894.
A fedora was typically worn in urban areas by men to protect them from the bad weather. It also has an aesthetic appeal that added to the many purposes of the hat. The structure of the hat makes it fashionable and hence lends to its’ popularity. Besides the appearance, they are also practical. The practicality lies in the fact that it has a relatively shorter brim that the other hats and hence they did not obstruct the view while driving a car. Since they are not so big, they could easily be worn on social outings and in public transports without any hassles. they could also be easily folded and stored or carried around without distorting the shape or posing any such problems. Besides utility, cultural and social importance, these hats have also made a significant place for themselves in the fashion industry and have been an important part of popular culture.
The media has played an important role in keeping the fedoras’ popularity intact even if it dipped at times. Hollywood actors and actresses like Cary Grant, Humphrey Bogart, football coaches such as Paul Bear Bryant, musicians like Michael Jackson and Justin Timberlake and even writers of the sorts Terry Pratchett have all sported this statement of fashion and have contributed to keeping it in fashion.
Thus we see, the Fedora has a significant place in the glamour and fashion sector. It has always been noticed since it was invented. Even if it lost its’ popularity in the late 1950s owing to the fact that it was relatively a formal piece of clothing and people favoured informal clothing styles then, the significance was restored as and when important figures belonging to different fields wore it publicly. People have accepted the Fedora and all its variants in all the dimensions that it has to offer.