With growing popularity of shows like Mad Men and Boardwalk Empire, the fedora hat is back in the spotlight. This style of hat never went “out”, so I wouldn’t say that it is making a comeback. What I would say is that mainstream media has helped gain new interest in the classic fedora style. So if you have never before worn a fedora hat and are looking for the style for you, here is a brief guide to the basic fedora styles.
The wide brim fedora is the style that most people think of when they envision 1920’s-1950’s menswear, but in actuality this style is timeless. Celebrities like Frank Sinatra in the 60’s, Michael Jackson in the 80’s and Johnny Depp in the 00’s have kept this hat in the spotlight and made it part of their every day style. This type of hat is traditionally worn with the brim snapped down in the front, hence the term “snap brim fedora” which is another name for the style. The wide brim edora comes in a wool felt or a fur felt in the standard colors black, grey and brown, usually with a grosgrain band. This style of hat looks best with professional attire. It is great with a suit or classic trench coat.
A stingy brim fedora is a style that is growing in popularity by the day. It is no surprise that young celebrities like Justin Timberlake, Ne-Yo and Benji Madden are often seen in this style. The stingy brim has a smaller brim than the classic wide brim fedora, so it is a little less formal. This hat can be worn with the brim up or snapped down in the front. Classic stingy brims come in wool felt, fur felt and materials like velour and cotton, but new styles in alternative materials are on trend for 2011. This is a great style for someone who is just starting their hat collection and has a more casual style.
The safari style fedora is most commonly associated with the Indiana Jones hat. This style has a brim that is turned down in both the front and back. The brim can range in size, but is usually larger than a stingy brim. This style hat comes in a wide range of materials including wool felt, fur felt, canvas, oiled canvas and leather. Styles in this category range in formality depending on the material it is made from. Fur felt and wool felt styles look more professional. Canvas and leather styles are more rugged and made to withstand the elements (and you sitting on it). I always think of the safari style as a hat that can be worn in between seasons. When you are looking for something after straw goes out, but before you are breaking out your winter coat, the safari is a good pick.
The tear drop crown is a design feature that is found in wide brim, stingy brim and safari styles. I have had customers that have a wider face say they prefer the look of a tear drop crown as opposed to a crown with a center dent, but choosing a hat with a tear drop is really a matter of personal taste. It does not usually change the fit of the hat.
The pork pie hat is a stingy brim hat, but with a round crown. Technically, this is not a fedora, but it often finds itself hanging out with the fedora family. The diamond crown lives somewhere in between the pork pie and the stingy brim fedora. I don’t know why, but these hats are very popular with musicians. If a guy comes in the shop asking for a pork pie, 9 times out of 10 he is in a band. That doesn’t mean you have to play an instrument to wear this hat. I recommend this style for anyone who is looking for an alternative to the classic fedora.
Some new trends in the world of fedoras are stylish embellishments that take this style from classic to contemporary. Things like printed bands, alternative materials and super stingy brims are on trend for a fashionable fedora statement. The Goorin Pebo mixed a printed band with a plaid body that makes this style very accessible. The wide corduroy styles in the Belfry Street line also make for great accents to a t-shirt and jeans look. The super stingy brim in a houndstooth print on the Belfry Bryant is a trendy twist on the classic style.
I know I left the ladies out of today’s post, but the fedora style is also a great choice for the fashionable woman. If you saw our Best and Worst Hats of 2010, you would notice that 3 of the top 5 ladies were chosen for wearing fedoras. While the new trends in fedora styles lend themselves well to being incorporated into a women’s ensemble, there is always something about a woman in a classic men’s fedora (i.e. Jennifer Aniston posing for GQ Magazine).