Iconic Fedora Hats and their legacy

Hundred years ago, no man of style or status would leave the house without wearing a hat. On this article, we’ll take a closer look at the iconic fedora hat and its legacy.

A fedora actually isn’t one specific kind of hat; it’s a basic set of characteristics that can then be turned in hundreds, if not thousands, of variations on the style. Over the years, history has shown us the appeal and versatility of the fedora, ranging from the wide-brim gangster hats of the 1920’s to the narrower, more modern fedora favored by crooner Frank Sinatra in the 1950s and 60s. Even though hats are no longer a wardrobe staple that every man owns, a classic yet unstuffy fedora still has a distinct place in the closet of the dapper gentleman who wants to stand out from the crowd.

By and large, the fedora is a hat that enjoyed most of its common use and popularity in the middle of the 20th century. Beginning in the 1920’s, when men’s classic style was approaching its heyday, the fedora was becoming an irrevocable fashion icon for gangsters like Al Capone and Hollywood characters film stars like Humphrey Bogart.

Only upper class and aristocratic men maintained loyalty to the old system of a different hat for each occasion; for the average man, the fedora was an all-occasion workhorse that men wore for formal and informal occasions alike.

The popularity of the fedora soared in the 1920s, peaked in the 40’s, and began declining in the 1950’s and 60’s. When JFK famously forwent wearing a hat to take his Oath of Office, the hat industry was said to have been dealt a fatal blow from which it would never recover. Narrow-brimmed fedoras and trilbies (a fedora with a very short brim) dominated the last decade of the hat’s popularity before giving way to the hatless, long hair based trends of the 1970’s.

In the 1980’s, the fedora hat experienced a surprising revival due almost single-handedly to one fictional character: the adventurer-archeologist Indiana Jones. The trilogy of Jones movies was set in the

1930’s, and Indy’s character was written as an homage to the action heroes of that bygone era, so it makes sense that he would wear a brown snap-brim fedora. In fact, Harrison Ford’s iconic performance is so connected with the fedora that it has become one of the hat’s most defining fashion history moments.