A fedora is a tall, felt hat with a broad brim, think Indiana Jones’ hat, but also covers smaller hats like the iconic hat Mad Men’s, Don Draper wears.
They can have a split crown, lengthwise, or have a C-crown, which gives a wider crown and looks like a teardrop crown. Often the Fedora will have a turned brim at the back of the Crown, and this is given as a distinguishing factor; known as the snap-brim, but can also be down-brim too in safari hat or country hat style.
Fedora vs Trilby
Though there is little definitive evidence, the Fedora generally seems to be American while Trilby is more commonly known in England.
The term ‘fedora’ was in the 1880’s in New York, originally a woman's hat until the 1920’s, and was made famous by Sarah Bernhardt, a hatter herself, as ‘Princess Fedora’. Richard Davy was said to be the first man to wear a Fedora in New York.
The Trilby, comes from the Du Maurier play of the same name, again from the 1880’s, performed in London, and here the transatlantic lines are drawn between the two hats.
The Fedora is ideal as both a town and country hat, for its’ stylish durability in all weathers, down-brim or crushable, makes it the ideal Safari, Country, City Hat or Travelling hat.
Eminently stylish, hats have been iconic throughout TV and Film, from Gene Kelly in Singing in the Rain, to Trevor Howard. Its’ drama made it a stalwart of ‘Film Noir’, and the Private Detective or as a Gangster hat, like the Corleone’s hats in The Godfather, and also Humphrey Bogart in Casablanca or Warren Beatty in Dick Tracey, but also music and Blues Brothers.
Thanks to characters like Don Draper and the Vintage hat fashion movement championed by The Chap Magazine, they are popular again.