How much do you know about the different mens hat styles? If you’re like most modern guys, you know the basics–but the true variety is actually staggering. Today, we scratch the surface with descriptions of 20 types of hats for men (with pictures!)View in gallery
Practical, decorative, social, and occupational. These are some of the reasons men have worn hats over the years.
In the early days—which here include both a couple of centuries back and thousands of years BC—men wore hats purely as practical headwear that protected them from the sun, rain, wind, and snow.
Mens hats then evolved into important signs of social status and one’s occupation. In the second half of the 20th century, both practical and social reasons waned, leading to reduced use of the headgear. Fortunately, men found a new reason to wear hats—for style.
These reasons contributed to the hats’ designs, and that’s why we have so many types of hats for men. We can distinguish the different mens hat styles by their shape, crowns, brims, materials, and intended use.
Some have fascinating histories behind their existence, and we’ll get to that soon. But first, let’s learn the anatomy of a hat, which is crucial in understanding how hats differ.
Preamble: Anatomy of a Hat
Despite having different functions, the various men’s hat styles share most anatomical features.
The first part is the crown. This is the top-most feature on a hat covering the top of the head. Depending on the hat style, it can be short or tall.
Crowns in different hat styles also differ by the type of pinch on them. A pinch, crease, or dent is a stiff indentation a hatter makes on a hat’s crown to shape it. Types of creases include round, teardrop, and center.
The second part is the brim, found below the crown. This is a horizontal edge protruding from and encircling the base of the crown.
The brim provides shade and cover to the face, neck, and ears. Brims on men’s hats can be wide, narrow, upturned, floppy, stiff, or more. It all depends on the type.
Some types of hats have bills instead of brims. Also known as a visor or peak, a hat bill is a stiff protruding part at the front that only provides shade to the face.
A third crucial part of a hat is the hatband. A hatband is a decorative strip encircling the crown, found just above the brim. It’s usually made of fabric and is a prominent feature on many different types of hats.
15 Types of Mens Hats
You’re likely to see a myriad of mens hat styles if you take a walk outside. Some you may have seen before, and others may look new to you. Check out this list that’ll reveal all the trendy hats you need to know about today.
1. Panama HatView in gallery
The name suggests it, but this hat is not from Panama. It originated from Ecuador, where hatters still use traditional techniques to make it. The Panama moniker appeared in the 1850s when many Ecuadorian hatters moved to the island to tap into the thriving trade environment lacking at home.
Back then, gold prospectors were passing through Panama on their way to California, and they were the main buyers of the hat. When asked where they bought their hats, they would say Panama, and hence the name was born.
Enough with the history; let’s now see how you can tell a Panama hat from other traditional brimmed straw hat types.
Hatters make Panama hats using toquilla straw harvested from the Carludovica palmata plant grown on the Ecuadorian coast. They manipulate the straw through weaving and blocking techniques to produce the end product. The result is a lightweight and breathable hat ideal for tropical climates.
Panama hats have medium-height crowns creased in a variety of ways to suit the customer’s preferences. They have wide brims and a fabric hatband around the crown’s base making them appropriate to wear with suits.
2. FedoraView in gallery
Fedoras are some of the most popular men’s fashion hats today. They have an angled brim, which is around two and a half inches. Fedoras have three pinches, one on each side of the crown and a center, lengthwise crease at the top.
Hat makers typically use wool, rabbit felt, cashmere, or beaver’s felt to make fedora hats. Cotton, hemp, and leather are also used. To make the fedora, they press the felt to a metal mold in the hat’s shape.
3. Trilby HatView in gallery
A trilby is like a smaller version of the fedora, with a narrower brim and a shorter crown. It was first worn during the play adaptation of George du Maurier’s novel, Trilby, and that’s how it got its name.
Traditionally, hatters made the trilby hat using rabbit hair felt. Today, you can find one in tweed, wool, heavy cotton, or straw.
The trilby grew in popularity during the 1960s thanks to its shorter crown. This was when men were shifting from impractical, high-crowned hats.
4. BowlerView in gallery
The bowler, also known as a derby hat, is a hard-felt hat with a rounded, bowl-shaped crown. Its brim is narrow and tightly curled upwards.
The bowler hat originated when a customer ordered its design from James Lock & Co., a hat shop in London. The customer wanted a close-fitting design with a low crown that his gamekeepers could wear on horseback.
It was to replace top hats that usually got knocked down by branches, making them impractical for horseback riding. London hat makers, Thomas and William Bowler, made the hat in 1849.
The hat soon became popular among gamekeepers and the working class in the latter half of the 19th century. Later, the middle and upper classes opted for the bowler over top hats—same as with the trilby hat.
5. Top HatView in gallery
During the late 1700s and throughout the 1800s, the top hat was standard headwear for men in the upper class. The crown of is a tall, flat top, while the brim is medium width and curled upwards.
Top hats were typically made of either black or grey silk and a crucial part of the western formal dress code.
The top hat lost practicality in the 20th century and lost popularity to short-crowned hats such as the bowler. They are a rare sight nowadays, only making appearances at formal settings like weddings and the opera.
6. Pork PieView in gallery
This hat has a circular indentation on its crown, resembling the English pork pie. The pork pie hat has a short, round crown and a narrow, curved brim. It’s one of the fashion hats that fit perfectly into both casual and semi-formal settings.
7. Flat CapView in gallery
The flat cap first appeared in Nothern England in the 14th century, referred to as a bonnet. It’s a rounded cap with a small, stiff peak at the front.
Materials used to make the flat cap include tweed, wool, cotton, and corduroy. On the inside, it has a lining that enhances comfort and provides warmth.
After its introduction and through to the early twentieth century, the flat cap was a daily staple among the working class. It was not only worn by men but also by boys, both as casual wear and as part of school uniform.
Today, the flat cap is considered an old man hat that looks good on men of all ages. Plus, it’s one of the men’s designer hats that are popular with celebrities.
8. Newsboy CapView in gallery
A newsboy hat is similar to a flat cap regarding the visor design and shape. But, it’s made of eight panels, making its body rounder. It also has a button at the top, where the pieces meet.
Contrary to what its name suggests, men of all ages and occupations wore this cap during the 20th century, when it was popular in North America and Europe. Today, it’s one of the popular types of caps used toaccessorize men’s outfits.
9. HomburgView in gallery
The Homburg is among the most popular vintage hats men wear today. It was initially a hunting headgear in Bad Homburg, Hesse, German empire. It became popular in the 1890s after Henry VII brought one back to England after visiting Hesse.
A Homburg is a men’s felt hat with a medium crown sporting a single, central lengthwise crease. The brim is medium width and flat, but with curled edges.
It also consists of a wide silk hatband ribbon around the crown. Hat makers also bind the curled edge of the brim with a ribbon, matching the color of the hatband.
10. BoaterView in gallery
A boater is a men’s brim hat made of sennit straw. The Venetian canotier, worn by gondoliers in Venice, is the inspiration behind the modern boater hat.
The brim on this hat is stiff, wide, and flat, protecting from the sun. The crown is medium height and has a grosgrain ribbon around its base.
11. Baseball CapView in gallery
The Brooklyn Excelsiors were the first team to wear what came to be known as the baseball cap. That was in the 1860s. The hat had a long peak for sun protection and a button at the top of the crown.
More teams adopted the baseball cap style, and over the years, the cap has evolved into a soft cap made of mostly wool or polyester. The front of the cap displays the initials, logo, or mascot of the team involved.
At the back, these caps have fastenings such as zippers, Velcro, or tri-glide slides for adjustment to fit different head sizes. Others are fitting and don’t include the fastenings.
When it comes to men’s summer hats, the baseball cap is a common sight. Its visor protects the eyes from the sun, and it goes well with casual summer outfits.
12. Dad HatView in gallery
Don’t let the name fool you. While dad hats are a classic vintage accessory any dad can rock, it’s popular with everybody from outdoor enthusiasts to teenagers.
The dad hat is like a more relaxed, subtle baseball cap. Usually made with cotton or canvas, it has a slightly curved peak.
It is less structured than a baseball cap, meaning it fits more snuggly on the head. Dad hats usually have fastenings at the back, making them a one-size-fits-all cap.
Related Reading: Why Are Dad Hats Coming Back?
13. Bucket HatView in gallery
A bucket hat has a short-height crown and a narrow, downward-sloping brim. It’s made with heavy-duty fabric like tweed or denim.
It appeared around the beginning of the 20th century as a men’s outdoor hat. Back then, Irish fishermen and farmers widely wore bucket hats.
Today, it’s top on the list of cool hats for men, hailed as a viable alternative to the mighty beanie. It has maintained its stylish appeal since the 1980s when it became popular with rappers.
14. Boonie HatView in gallery
Boonies are lightweight men’s wide brim hats, commonly worn by military forces in tropical climates.
Their design is like a bucket hat, but the brim is stiffer. It also has a practical fabric band sewn around the crown—used by military forces to hold camouflage material.
Most Boonie hats have eyelets in the crown for ventilation, while others have breathable mesh panels. Boonies come with a string you can tie under the chin or drape around the neck for stability.
These durable hats are ideal for outdoor hobbies such as hiking, fishing, and camping.
15. BeanieView in gallery
The beanie is a man’s winter essential. It’s a brimless hat made to fit snuggly to the head and provide warmth. Materials commonly used to make beanies are cloth and felt. Fortunately, there are many styles of cool beanies for men that fit well with many casual outfits.
What Kind of Hat Should I Wear?View in gallery
Long gone are the days when social status dictated which hat a man could wear. While there are no fast and hard rules about what kind of hat to wear, you’ll do well to keep some considerations in mind.
Your outfit, the season, and the occasion are factors that will point you in the right direction.
For a casual outfit or occasion, laid-back hat styles such as baseball caps, beanies, or bucket mens hats can suffice. So will styles such as the flat cap and trilby that can suit both formal and non-formal settings.
When heading for formal events, choose from dress hats like fedoras, Panama hats, and bowlers.
You’ll want to go with warmer, heavier hats during cold months and lightweight, breathable options in the sun. Beanies are a winter staple, while baseball-style caps and wide-brimmed hats are great for summer.
How Do I Look Good in a Hat?View in gallery
Hats are a wardrobe essential anybody can rock, but not every type looks good on everyone. Many people shy away from hats because they tried them once and didn’t like how they looked. Or, they believe they are not ‘hat people.’
If you are wondering how to look good in a hat, know that there’s a trick.
The secret to looking good in a hat is choosing the right one for your face shape—besides matching your clothes, of course. If you have a short, round face, you’ll do well with hats that give you a little height—read higher crowns and upturned brims.
Hats with low crowns and a large brim will look great if you have a long, thin face. Such headwear will shorten your face without being overbearing.
Round crowned hats will suit you if you have a square face. The soft edges will take away from the sharpness of your features, giving you a more harmonized appearance.
A simple rule to remember—whichever your face shape, go for hat types with opposing qualities. Round for square, short for long, and vice versa. But, if you have an oval face, you’ll look good in just about any type!
When Did Men Stop Wearing Hats?View in gallery
Between the late 18th and mid-twentieth centuries, mens hats were standard daily headwear.
A look at photos or videos from this era will rarely reveal a man without a hat. Fast forward to the 21st century, and men with hats are now a rare sight, with the focus shifting to hairstyles.
When did this change?
The tradition of men wearing a hat as a staple in western society disappeared following the Second World War.
The habit had already started declining during the 1920s, and this continued until hats quit being mainstream headwear in the latter half of the 20th century.
Why Did Men Stop Wearing Hats?View in gallery
Reminders of War
There were several reasons men stopped wearing hats in the 20th century. The first reason relates to the reluctance of former soldiers to wear hats after the world wars.
Hats were a part of their military uniforms, and they were a stark reminder of the war. Hence, many men didn’t want to wear them with their civilian clothes.
Waning Social Significance
Hats losing their social significance was another reason the popularity of mens hats waned. Before the First World War, there was a lot of focus on the social divide between the working class, upper class, and the nobility.
Their flat caps could identify the working class, while the upper class and nobility sported high-crowned hats. After the world wars, many men seemed to care less about the social significance behind the types of hats they wore.
Of course, times are changing, and while no one will judge whether you wear a hat or no, they can be used effectively to communicate your personality through style.
The Rise of the Automobile
The increasing popularity of private cars in the 1960s was another reason men stopped wearing hats.
Manufacturers began making covered cars, different from their roofless predecessors. With car roofing, men no longer needed to wear hats for protection from the elements while traveling.
Secondly, the closed cars had low roofs without enough headroom for a hat. Thirdly, with more people using private transport, fewer people traveled in harsh weather to get to public transportation, which also did away with the practicality of hats.
How Do I Know My Hat Size?View in gallery
If you want to know how to measure men’s hat size, you must arm yourself with a tape measure. Men’s hat sizes are available from small to extra large.
The correct hat size for you corresponds with your head’s circumference, so that’s what you should measure.
To get the measurement, wrap a tape measure around your head, keeping it half an inch above your eyebrows and ears. Ensure it goes midways around the back.
Stick a finger under the tape, then record the resulting length in centimeters for accuracy. That’s your head circumference, and it’ll determine your hat size.
You can also use a string in place of a tape measure. After taking the measurement, compare the string against a ruler to discover the length.
Men’s Hats: Final Thoughts
As you can see, there’s a hat to wear to every occasion without looking out of place. That means every day is a great day to wear a hat, so there’s are plenty of chances to don one.
Whether you’re looking for one to hide a bad hair day, shield from the weather, or make a fashion statement, we’re confident you’ll find a style that’s perfect for you.
Don’t shy away from trying different hat styles; it’s the surest way to find a look that suits you. Plus, it’ll give you more ideas for spicing up your wardrobe.
Which of the mens hats above do you like or would love to give a try? We’d love to hear about it, so please let us know in the comments below.