Hat lovers can hardly think about their hat ensemble sans fedora, which has been the most attractive hat for men and women for more than a century. Although wearing a hat is no longer a social custom, men are keen to dress immaculately, topped by a fedora hat that helps create the desired looks that underline the personality. It will be wrong to think of fedoras as a particular hat style because hat designers can make hundreds of styles while maintaining the basic features and characteristics of fedoras. Designers can tweak other design elements to create new styles by keeping the crown and brim features intact. Similarly, they can adapt some new material instead of the traditional felt or wool and create a unique hat like the straw fedora hat that looks thoroughly modern.
Fedora styles are ever-evolving, as evident from the transition of the hat style of the 1920s when gangsters in the movies wore wide-brimmed fedoras to the more modern and narrow brimmed fedora popularized by Frank Sinatra during the 1950s/60s. Although hats are no longer an essential headgear, most men would like to wear hats to complement their looks and create a distinct style. Finally, it boils down to personal choice whether to wear a hat, but once a person makes up his mind, fedoras are the first choice because of their matchless appeal and high style quotient. Anyone who wants to look dapper and stand out from the crowd would rely heavily on fedora hats to help them achieve their goal.
What is a Fedora hat?
The best way to describe fedora hats is to highlight the tear-drop shape of the hat that has a short to the medium brim with a slight curve along the edges that runs all around the low sitting crown. The indented crown height varies between 4 inches to 6 inches, and the brim width varies between 2 inches and 4 inches. The pinch or indentation on the crown in the front side at the spot of the intersection of the sides of the crown and the top is one of the hallmarks of the fedora style, which can have innumerable variants by altering the crease, shape, bent, and size. You can modify any or all the features to create your style.
A close look at the fedora features like the crown, brim, pinch, material, and decoration will help understand the hat style.
Crown – Although the teardrop shape of the crown imparts the classical looks to fedoras, you need not stick to it religiously but experiment by changing the shape of the crown in many ways. For example, you can include a center crease and diamond to create a different look, provided it matches your sense of styling.
Brim – Altering the brim width and finishing helps to create new styles of fedoras. Leaving the edge of the brim flat creates a specific style if left raw and uncut, and you can add more variations to it by sewing the edge, trimming with ribbons, or creating the Cavanagh edge to add more variation to the style. The Cavanagh edge is a handmade finish applicable to felt fedoras that strengthen the brim but without stitches. Since felt fedoras are on the decline as newer materials like straw are gaining popularity, you will rarely see the Cavanagh edge nowadays. You can play tricks with the brim by folding the edge up or down. Usually, people maintain a downward curve in the front and an upward curve at the back. The adjustability of the brim according to the wearer’s taste is the reason for the hat earning the nickname ‘snap brim’.
Material – Felt is the material of choice for fedoras, although leather, faux leather, and straw fedoras are more popular nowadays. Felt is a compressed fibrous material made from cashmere or wool and even rabbit hair.
Decoration – Every fedora has a hatband around the crown that sits at the bottom where the crown meets the brim. The common hatband materials are grosgrain ribbon and cowhide or leather, and sometimes adding a feather placed above the bow of the ribbon enhances the appeal.
Pinch – You can add more variation to the hat style by altering the pinch’s position and sharpness.
The classic style of fedoras has been an inspiration for the style of Panama hats that are highly popular among sun hats.
Traditionally, fedora hats have been part of formal dressing, and people have known it as a dress hat only. However, the demands of time and the evolving styles have turned it into a hat suitable for wearing any dress from a tuxedo to jeans or any other type of casual dress. So versatile is the fedora style that goes well with any dress and suits all occasions, formal or casual.