Fedora vs Derby Hat

Just think of the many fedoras vs. derby (bowler) hat debates. Which one should I choose? Which profile, which shape, crown height, brim width? I present you with some very important factors to consider in the choice of either style.

A couple of women wearing dresses and colorful hats.

Just think of the many fedoras vs. derby (bowler) hat debates. Which one should I choose? Which profile, which shape, crown height, brim width? I present you with some very important factors to consider in the choice of either style.

Table of Contents

Fedora vs Derby Hat

Some qualities of a wide brim derby hat:

  • It is regarded as smarter than a fedora or cowboy hat.
  • A derby hat rests flat on the head; some fedoras, on the other hand, feature a tall crown.
  • The brim of a derby hat is pinched in the middle and finished with a soft curve, giving that hat style a classic look.

A fedora hat, a men’s hat is a soft, felt hat that folds into the headband. The derby hat is a hard-brimmed, felt hat that usually has a short brim in front and a longer one in back. The bowler hat is also made of felt and features a hard crown with a curled brim.

Fedoras have a slightly shorter crown than a derby hat and are typically made of felt. Often they have additional padding in the crown to form to one’s head for a more personal fit. Fedoras come with several brim shapes, which can affect their appearance but not their function.

Felt naturally absorbs less water than straw materials, making it a bit better for wet weather. Some hat purists argue that the quality of the material is vital for its longevity and ability to be repaired with everyday wear and tear. However, even though a bowler’s brim can’t be changed, it is constructed from more sturdy materials.

Fedoras are a short, stiff felt hat, traditionally in black. Derbies are bowlers with a shorter crown and brim. Bowlers fit a bit more snugly than a fedora and can be worn without a hatband. Fedoras look good with a narrow band. Bowler hats are commonly made of wool felt but other fabrics such as straw or tweed are not uncommon.

Though historically it’s been categorized as men’s style hats, over the years women have picked up on it as a stylish hat trend.

The derby hat is the sharpest, most angular of all hats. The derby is a statement and can adequately be worn as such. It’d go great with a pair of pinstripe pants and a three-piece ensemble with suspenders. If you are of the classier kind, a tuxedo with a jacket and all will complete this look perfectly.

Fedora Hat

This is a close look at a brown fedora and matching leather satchel.

What is it?

Fedora hats are typically characterized by their thick woolen brim and creased crown. The crown typically ranges from six to eight centimeters. Fedora hats are most popular in the United States where they were originated. Fedora hats gained popularity during the mid-twentieth century when they became a symbol of Hollywood elegance and sophistication.

A fedora is a regular-fitting, soft-brimmed hat characterized by a short crown and wide brim. Traditionally made of felt, straw, or woolen material, fedora hats are designed to be lightweight and casual, and available with a brown or black band. The popularity of the hat declined in the 1940s through the 1980s but has remained present among those who wear more formal clothing.

Brief history

Originally from the title of a play composed for Sarah Bernhardt by Victorien Sardou, Fédora, from 1882, the word fedora came into use over a century ago. 1889 marked the first American performance. The title character of the play was played by Bernhardt in the role of Princess Fédora. A soft brimmed, middle-creased hat was worn by Bernhardt during the play. 

It became a symbol of women’s rights when it became fashionable for women. The style became mainstream among men after Prince Edward of Britain began wearing them in 1924, due to the fact that they are stylish and offer protection against the wind and climate in addition to being stylish. 

Popularity of Fedora

A man wearing casual clothes with a fedora.

As the fedora is generally associated with Prohibition and gangsters due to its prevalence from the mid-1920s, it is most commonly associated with its prominence. The popularity of fedora hats in noir films reached its peak in the 1940s and 1950s, while the widespread usage of casual clothing surpassed it by the end of the decade. 

During the middle of the 1970s, it returned, and the same happened in the 1980s and 2000s as well. It was both their style and their common sense that made fedoras and trilby hats so popular. Since they don’t obstruct your view or block the vision of your surroundings while you’re driving your vehicle, you’ll be able to wear them in the middle of the day when you need to.

In addition to being able to collapse them without losing their shape, they could also be stored that way as well. 

The media and its effect on the individual should be examined for the fundamental reason for the constant return of the fedora to fashion. On celluloid and on stage, Humphrey Bogart, Cary Grant, and Frank Sinatra wore fedora hats as symbols of manliness during the 1940s and 1950s.

Where to buy it?

A Fedora hat can be found in many more places, now, than that of the 1940s and 1950s. You can still find them at thrift or antique stores, but also on any major retail online store like eBay or Amazon. There are many small online boutiques that sell them.

Derby hat

A woman wearing a white derby hat that has a floral embellishment.

What is it?

Derby hats are a type of hat with a tight brim, are felt, and are round. Then you will look very much like Charlie Chaplin with a tight mustache and a cane.

Derby hats, noted for their distinctive round shape with a brim, were made in the U.S. during the 1850s, but we can assume they were named after racehorses because people wore them at the Derby race in England. The twelfth Earl of Derby named after the race is the name of the race itself. Derbies, as well as bowler hats, attachment hats, and derbies can be referred to by many different terms.

You probably won’t see anyone wearing one of these anymore as derbies are an older style of shoes.

Brief history

The bowler hat was first introduced in England, where they are known as the derby hat in America, by Lock and Co., the most renowned hat shop in the world. There is a conflict of opinion regarding how it was designed. According to one account, Thomas and William Bowler were the London hatmakers who were contracted by the group to create a low-crowned, solid hat that could be worn by gamekeepers so that they would be able to ride their horses without being hit by low branches.

The first Earl of Leicester, Thomas Coke, asked Thomas Coke to solicit laborers for the Holkham Hall estate in the care of his heirs.

To ride across lush properties, one would have to wear excessively tall and sensitive top hats, which were simply too heavy. Edward Coke, the younger brother of the second Earl of Leicester, was the hat’s true creator, according to a later connection of the Earl. Nevertheless, it is generally agreed that he tramped on the hat at first in order to try out its solidarity. He finally paid 12 shillings at the point when it finally turned out to be strong. 

This is a woman wearing a sheer purple derby hat.

In history, there have been several bowlers in the United States, a.k.a. Derby’s 

For years, men in London’s financial district wore the bowler as a defining feature of their uniform, and the bowler has been linked to the city for many years. In the 1980s, this training came to an end. The most famous bowler wearer was probably Winston Churchill. Obviously, bowlers aren’t as common as they used to be but in spite of this, their image remains a mainstream one of the normal Englishman.

Bowlers were sometimes transformed into derbies in the old west, and both men and women wore them. Butch Cassidy and Billy the Kid were both famous for wearing them while out on the town. 

Various entertainers from the United States and the United Kingdom helped promote the derby. The Tramp” was Charlie Chaplin’s character in the silent film, portraying Laurel and Hardy. Stanley Kubrick’s “A Clockwork Orange” features the lead character Alex DeLarge as well as wearing a bowler hat.

Where to buy it?

You can find a Derby hat just about anywhere. They are easy to find on sites like Light in the Box, Etsy, the Oriental trading company, and more!


This is a man wearing a dark gray trilby hat.

Hats with wide brims are trilbys. It used to be that the trilby hat was the hat of the rich and famous in England. These days, it is often referred to as an “earthy colored trilby” and seems to be fairly regular at pony races in Britain. 

Lock and Co., the conventional London hat association, refers to the trilby as having a “more restricted edge which is pointed downward at the front and angled up marginally at the back” as opposed to the fedora’s “more extensive edge which is more level”. There is also a slight length difference between the crown of a trilby and a regular fedora. 

Trilby Hat History

Trilby, the title of this hat, is derived from George du Maurier’s novel Trilby published in 1894. Trilby hats were worn in the play’s production in London, and rapidly became known as such. The shape of the hat resembles the shape of a Tyrolean hat somewhat.

Phil Campbell with brand name Trilby 

A number of fabrics are now used to make it, including tweed, straw, heavyweight cotton, fleece, and fleece/nylon blends. When automobiles became lower head freedom in the 1960s, wearing a hat with a tall crown was impractical while driving. During the 1970s, though, the idea of men’s headwear becoming a thing of the past blurred from the prominence of hairstyles being the key element of men’s style based around men’s headwear. 

In the mid-1980s, the hat saw a resurgence of popularity, which attracted all kinds of people looking to profit from a retro look.

Panama Hat

Various panama hats on display for sale.

An Ecuadorian hat tradition is known as a Panama hat, also known as a jipijapa, toquilla, or an American hat, but with a brim. Their hats have long been made of plaited leaves, similar to an alternative to a genuine palm, from the Carludovica palmata plant which is native to the area, or from the jipijapa palm whose leaves are similar to an option. 

This hat is lightweight and breathable, which is why it is traditionally worn with summer suits made from cloth or silk since they resemble light hues and are both light and breathable. An item of such high quality can be judged by its snugness, the fineness of its weave, and the effort it requires to weave these components entirely by hand.

In the course of the twenty-first century, these hats became extremely well known for their simplicity of wear and the fact that they were made to breathe, making them an excellent embellishment for tropical and beachwear.

Boater Hat

A man wearing a straw boater hat with his suit.

During the late nineteenth and mid-twentieth centuries, it became popular to wear a boater as a semi-formal summer hat for men. 

There are usually two parts to a straw hat: the crown and brim, which are normally made of firm sennit straw and trimmed with a grosgrain ribbon which is normally striped. Venice’s gondoliers wore canotier straw hats as boaters. Ribbons hang unafraid from the back of Venetian canotiers, and they’re almost always edged with shading ribbons. The name boater is also related to cruising or drifting. 

Aside from games and universities, athletes were additionally distinguished by their involvement in athletics. Furthermore, they were worn by women, frequently held in place with hatpins. Today, they are rarely seen other than for cruising and paddling events, period dramas and musical performances (such as barbershops), or antique school uniforms, or ornamental items in their old-fashioned costumes. 

A straw boater hat, worn by the Princeton University Band since 1952, has been an integral part of their uniform since that time and in October 1955 was featured prominently on the front page of Sports Illustrated Magazine. In the recent past, ladies have begun to fashion delicate, flimsy straw hats with a rough appearance, as compared to boaters.

Straw Hat

A woman wearing a large straw hat.

There is a straw cap that has a brim that is woven out of straw or straw-like material derived from a variety of plants or artificially produced materials. Straw hats aren’t just used as a sun hat or to combat heat stroke, they’re a way to add a stylish twist to a look. 

In Africa and Asia, straw hats are worn during the summer months since the Middle Ages. They have changed little from medieval times to the present. It is a very popular item to be found in the Très Riches Heures du Duc de Berry schedule miniatures; most wearers are men, and most of them wear them in public. 

In Lesotho, the national image is a straw cap, called the mokorotlo, which is near the national anthem. That country has likewise depicted it on its flag. 

During his visit to the Panama Canal, Theodore Roosevelt promoted the straw Panama cap. It wasn’t long after the Panama Canal was completed in 1906 that Roosevelt turned to his inherent talent for raising publicity by posing for a series of photos. A slick straw fedora and light-colored suits are all that he wore on the day of his visit.

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