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what is a fedora hat

What is a Fedora Hat?

Fedora Hat

The fedora hat is a hat that has a flexible design that in turn has a short brim, or in some cases, medium brim, which protects the wearer from the rain. This classic and mythical accessory also has three “dimples” on the top. One on the top and two on the sides.

It may or may not be decorated with a ribbon that surrounds the base of the hat. This type of hat is characterized by being of formal use. However, it has been adopted by countless niches in fashion, having even reached the lines of great designers even in the urban scene.

What is a Fedora Hat? - image  on
Photo by Robert McGowan on Unsplash

History of Fedora Hats

Fedora hats began to be part of men’s looks during the first half of the 20th century. Their popularity grew at that time thanks to their frequent use in the gangster scene, especially with the prohibition movement.

During the mid-century, these hats lost much popularity. But the cultural and artistic movement of the second half of the 20th century revived it. With stars like Frank Sinatra and Humphrey Bogart wearing them on a regular basis. Also as did the cinema of the 1960s. 50’s with Al Capone and in the ’80s ’90s with Harrison Ford, making it one of his character Indiana Jones’s most iconic accessories. Surprisingly at the end of the century, this hat had already reached its fame again and had even surpassed it thanks to massive stars at the moment, such as Michel Jackson using it in their performances.

Currently, this hat can still be seen being used by a large number of people. People from different fashion scenes, especially in urban, indie, and bohemian outfits.

humphrey bogart wearing a fedora
Humphrey Bogart wearing a fedora in the film Casablanca. – By Trailer screenshot – Casablanca trailer, Public Domain, Wikimedia

Why is it Called a Fedora Hat?

Despite being a masculine name, the name “fedora” comes from an 1882 play by Victorien Sardou, where its protagonist, Sarah Bernhardt, played the princess “Fedora”. In the play, the character uses this felt accessory that would become very popular with the mostly male audience of that time.

Another name that is given to this hat is the “Borsalino”. This is thanks to Giuseppe Borsalino, who, during the 20th century, increased the popularity of this hat worldwide by including it in many of its lines and making it one of its models/stars.

brosalino fedora hat
A fedora made by Borsalino – By Baron Delvine – Own work, Public Domain, Wikimedia

How are Fedora Hats Made?

The process begins by making the felt from wool threads, although synthetic threads are sometimes used, using heat and pressure. Felt is the material of choice because, despite not being as resistant as other materials, it’s surprisingly light and moldable, which makes it ideal for making hats.

After the material is made, it begins to shape. For this, a special wooden mold is usually covered with felt, and steam is applied, either directly or through a special chamber. When the fabric has the right shape, all the excesses are trimmed, and the linings and tapes required by the model to be designed to be integrated. And also, the wings are designed and integrated.

In some cases, these hats’ manufacturers light them on fire for a few seconds to eliminate all traces of lint from the felt and make it have a more homogeneous appearance. However, it is not a necessary step, and it only has an aesthetic purpose.

What Materials are Fedora Hats Made Of?

Felt is normally the most used material when making hats. This fabric is malleable, moldable, and is an excellent embroidery base. This material is made from wool or hair fibers pressed together using steam. The thickness that is desired in the manufacture of the material may vary depending on the purpose of its use.

In addition, it is also a simple material to dye. Despite the fact that most fedora hats are designed in felt, it’s possible to see some variation designed in canvas or straw. This depends on the environment in which it’s found.

Are Fedora Hats for Men or Women?

This hat, in its beginnings during the late nineteenth century, was used older and almost exclusively by women. This was a feminine fashion garment used by middle and upper-class women. However, it did not go unnoticed by the male public, and they began to use it in the urban scene.

Currently, this is a garment seen being used by both men and women, both in show scenes, movies or just as an accessory. In turn, many well-known brands in the world of fashion have incorporated it into their male lines.

women wearing a fedora hat
Photo by Allef Vinicius on Unsplash

What Environments are Fedora Hats Used In?

The times when this hat is used the most are during the summer and autumn. Thanks to the fact that it helps protect us from the sun and high temperatures. And also, keeps our hair in place in times of high wind.

Thanks to the great versatility of the fedora hat, it has been integrated into a large number of styles. With urban, bohemian, and hippie styles being the ones that use it the most. But we shouldn’t worry because if we know how to combine it with our outfits, it’s possible to use it in a great variety of situations. And with a great variety of styles and still make it look good on us.

How to Use a Fedora Hat?

To use a fedora hat correctly in an event and that it looks consistent with both the event and with our attire, it’s important to know certain stuff that we must take into account before using one of these.

Firstly and most importantly is that we choose the correct hat size. Choosing a size that is not suitable can result in it looking bad and out of place.

The most basic thing is to always have neutral-colored hats that can be used on any occasion. It would not be appropriate to use a colorful print hat in a serious environment, right?

Finally, it would be convenient to choose a hat that is according to our height. Since the fedora is a hat whose wings can be small or medium, in some cases where they are made to measure, they can even be large. It is a hat designed for people of average height and not very bulky build. However, wearing a custom hat can create certain exceptions to these considerations.

When using it in more informal settings, we must take advantage of the great versatility of the fedora hat. And also, not be afraid to experiment a little with its styles, colors, and patterns.

how to measure hat size

How to Measure Hat Size

What Hat Sizes are There?

In general, there is a nomenclature of letters to identify the different sizes. In turn, each of these comprises a different range of sizes that can be presented in centimeters or inches. Hat sizes are generally expressed in centimeters, inches, or letters, the latter being the most inaccurate. America and England use the metric system of inches, while in Europe, they use centimeters. Let’s see how to measure hat size below.

The first size in the established standards is the size known as P or S or small, depending on the region. This size corresponds to a size of approximately 6 ¾ inches. After this first small size, we find size M or Medium. This size corresponds to a size of around 7 inches.

The last size established in the conventional scale is the size known as SSG, 2XL, XXL, or 2X Large; this corresponds to the measurement of 7 ¾ inches.

In addition to the universally established sizes, there is also the U Size or One Size. This, however, can comprise 2 modalities; the first can be understood as the 7 ⅛ inch measure in all models of women’s hats, and, in men’s models, it reaches almost 7 ¼ inches. The second modality is used in the centimeter system and only when the measurement turns out to be an exact number in the middle of the range occupied by the established conventional sizes or when it is larger and exceeds the final size.

What is a Fedora Hat? - image  on
Photo by patricia serna on Unsplash

What Methods Can I Use to Measure My Hat Size?

To carry out the task of measuring our hat size, we have 2 different main methods that we can simply perform in a matter of minutes and even in the comfort of our home:

Measure Your Head

For this, we can use a tape measure, or, if it is more comfortable, a piece of thread that we will then have to compare next to a tape measure or a ruler to determine the length as accurately as possible. When we use this method and do not measure clearly to determine the size, the best thing to do when choosing between two sizes is to choose the larger size to avoid any future inconvenience.

Compare With Another Hat

The other valid method to determine our head’s measurement or our hat size is to try on a hat. Decide the comfort that this measurement presents, and compare the size for the next purchase. Suppose we don’t have a hat at home, the next time we go to visit a hat store, we can try on several different sizes. In that case, although they may vary depending on the hat manufacturer, the sizes they present are technically universal, and we should not have a problem when comparing.

How Can I Measure My Hat Size Correctly With a Tape Measure?

Using this measurement method to determine our hat size is more effective and accurate. However, it’s important to explain how to measure our heads properly to find out which size suits us best. This is a simple method, and we can do it even at home to find out our hat size. The only thing we need to have on hand is a flexible measuring tape.

We must place the metric tape at the level where the hat rests. That is, around the head above the ears, at the height of the middle of the forehead, and at the most prominent part of the back. We must keep the tape measure tight at the time of doing this without reaching an excessive point of tightening. Because, this can result in us choosing a smaller size than we should, and that would be a problem.

After the measurement process, the result is observed to determine in what size letter we belong to or if it is necessary to use a U size. In case of not having a flexible tape measure, we can use a thread and then measure it with a ruler that we have at home.

Is It Important to Know My Hat Size?

Yes, thanks to the fact that the importance of measurement is one of the details that we must consider the most when buying any garment. And it is important to carry out this process correctly since if we do not find the right size, we run the risk that the hat fits us, or too tight and bothers you, or too loose and falls off your head or tilts unfavorably.

Normally, a hat store’s expert staff tends to already have a clinical eye to find the approximate size quickly for customers. Even without any measurement at all. However, it’s always advisable to measure the head with a tape measure. Or test the hat directly on the customer’s head anyway. It is best to try on the different sizes until we find one that we feel comfortable with.

What is a Fedora Hat? - image  on
Photo by Khamkéo Vilaysing on Unsplash

Is It Possible to Adjust a Hat?

The answer to this question can vary thanks to many factors. There are manufacturers that make their hats with a band around the inside of the hat. So, that we can put a Velcro-type tape inside to correct small differences in size. Making the hat approximately ¼ or ½ inch smaller.

Even manufacturers whose hats have an elastic band inside can easily reduce the hat by one size. However, this isn’t something very common to see, since most hats are fixed size and are made of relatively rigid materials. It’s not advisable to try methods to reduce them. In fact, it’s best to look for the exact measurement of our head to avoid any inconvenience.