What is Jazz Style?Jazz style, from the clothes you wear to the hat on your head, generally reflects two points in history. One is the early part of the Roaring '20s - also referred to as the Jazz Age. The second is when jazz music, in more modern terms, went underground, developing a less-savory but more intriguing reputation.
In this regard, Jazz Age style is celebratory, kicking off what would become a decade of excess. It was also reactionary, partly due to the end of World War I and the period's rapid technological advances and social changes.
For men, Jazz Age style materialized as a slimmer-fitting, high-waisted three-piece suit. Hats were still a social expectation across all classes during these years. Popular styles involved the fedora, which featured a floppier brim at this point in time, a higher crown and a wider, more visually prominent hat band. Another, more casual alternative was the flat cap - either a wider, single-piece cap or an eight-panel newsboy style.
For women, this era brought about the right to vote. Style shifted toward shorter hems and more casual yet adventurous choices - for instance, the bell-shaped cloche that eventually included an upturned brim.
In the following decades, as jazz music developed a reputation associated with beatniks, hipsters and outsiders, jazz musicians' own style evolved. Some leaned more toward sophistication while others accented their status, selecting wider-cut zoot suits and experimenting with their hat choices. Even in the present, you'll spot such an assortment - pork pie hats, flat caps and even fedoras - among jazz combos.
Jazz Hat Inspiration for Men and Women
How can you add a bit of jazz to your headwear? Whether you're a staunch fan, enamored with the Jazz Age or a musician yourself, consider the following:
The Pork Pie Hat
In progressing past the 1920s, the pork pie developed a reputation as a jazz hat after tenor saxophonist Lester "Prez" Young sported it during gigs. His appearance - and the hat's association with jazz music - was later immortalized with the song "Goodbye Pork Pie Hat."
Whether you're a jazz musician seeking your own hat or are inspired by the genre's more experimental decades, achieve this vibe with the Belfry Jazz. This packable wool men's pork pie hat features 100% wool felt construction, a contrasting grosgrain hatband and removable accent feather. True to the original jazz hats, our version stands out with a more cylindrical crown and a short brim.
Particularly for 1920s Jazz Age style, this marks a solid and relatable starting point.
Our own Belfry Gangster takes inspiration from this era, featuring durable 100% wool construction with a traditional 2-3/8-inch brim and a teardrop-shaped crown. We upgrade it for the modern wearer with crushable, packable construction, water repellency and stain resistance.
Feel like you're headed out to the jazz club in a cloche hat, a style that arose from shorter female hairstyles during this period.
We took inspiration from this era when designing our Belfry Italia Demaria, a textured felt cloche crafted with input from Italian artisans. While the shape remains classic and harkens back to the Jazz Age, we style it for today's enthusiast with a textured exterior, turn-down brim and contrasting grosgrain ribbon and bow. For travel, this cloche can be rolled up to be tucked into your bag.
The Flat Cap
Take your jazz-inspired style in a more casual, 1920s-era direction with the Belfry Italia Marco flat cap. While the shape alludes to casual headwear from this period, we constructed it with the present in mind - especially if you're headed out to a night of smooth jazz or bombastic big-band music. The pattern stands out like a memorable solo, while 100% fine Italian wool construction suits a range of weather conditions. A four-panel design allows you to achieve a more precise fit.