The idea of hats originated from the need to protect the head from the elements of nature and is a reason for its popularity even today. However, with time, it transformed into a fashion accessory both for men and women. Although protection was the most perceived reason for wearing hats, its link to status and vanity is the reason for its evolution into a fashion accessory that contributes to the style and defines the social standing. Wearing hats is customary in many cultures, and the most prominent are the Cowboy hats, the quintessential American Hats that gained worldwide acclaim and popularity.
Hats turn into fashion accessories
In ancient times, hats represented people’s social status, which continued through the centuries and especially implied the wealthy status of the people who wore them. It will not be wrong to say that the common man never considered wearing a hat which made it more evident that it was the privilege of the rich and elite to wear hats. Hats hold a place of pride in the American culture, and with time it carved a place of their own as a fashion accessory that demonstrated the social status of people who wore them. The first hints about hats turning into fashion accessories for women became evident during the Kentucky Derby in 1875, which many hailed as the times’ biggest fashion event.
Men, too, have embraced hats that became a status symbol over time. A typical example is the long top hat worn by American President Abraham Lincoln, which he was wearing even at his assassination time. However, the tall hat became shorter as time passed and acquired a more stunted and conservative form now available in the form of derby or bowler hats.
American hat shapes
On browsing the website Americanhatmakers.com, you will come across various hat styles, shapes and sizes. The hat styles are sometimes location-specific, and most of the time, it is a personal choice influenced by the individual’s lifestyle. Most hat makers create handcrafted styles to meet customized requirements of shapes and sizes, and you can choose the material that best upholds your fashion and social status. From leather hats to straw hats, you can now shop for hats based on your material preference or style preference and then fusing the two to create the unique style that becomes your signature style. Wearing such hats will not only make you stand out from the crowd but also make your heads turn.
Many kinds of hat styles are gender-specific, and some are universal in their appeal that cuts across genders. Here are some hat styles that have remained popular over the years.
Floppy hats for women – The wide brim floppy hat, well known for its versatility and the extensive protection it provides from the sun, is often a must-have for women who spend long hours on the beaches. Mostly made from straw or some polyester material, the hat provides endless styling opportunities while helping to make a fashion statement. Such is the versatility of the hat that it goes very well when you are in a bathing suit and is equally appealing when you are dressed up to light up the stage at the derby. The hat is a must-have for summer because of the excellent protection of the extra-wide brim that can even cover your face if you like.
Western hats are unisex – Better known as cowboy hats, the Western hats that used to be for men only have now transgressed the gender divide and find favor with women too. A wide brim and a distinct high crown are the most defining style elements of the hats that proudly represent the Wild West. The Western movies of the 19th century contributed handsomely to popularizing the hats which are still worn by ranchers, cowboys, farmers, and those who work with or handle horses. Most importantly, it is now a part of fashion wear too. The hats are generally waterproof and offer adequate sun protection due to the wide brim. The modern cowboy hat that we see today has undergone some style and material changes that range from felt and wool to leather and even include buckle and bows.
Panama hats and Fedoras – The soft brimmed, center-creased hat that first made its appearance on the stage in 1892 in the play Fedora and worn by the woman who played the title role is still a favorite of fashion lovers. In 1924, Prince Edward of Britain wore it for the first time to replace the flat caps and bowlers, and today it is a unisex fashion accessory. Fedoras have a pinched crown, a wide brim, and a ribbon. Straw and paper are the materials now used for Fedoras.
Panama hats have a close resemblance to Fedoras but are typically made from light-colored and a special lightweight type of straw from the toquilla palm.