Is it a Trilby or a Fedora?

Saturday, 4 February 2017  |  Admin

 

 

 

Is it a Trilby or a Fedora?

 

Some items in one’s ideal wardrobe are so ubiquitous that we don't consider their origins. Hats are one of those objects and in particular the Trilby and Fedora.

 

Generally made of wool felt or fur felt with the crown creased and pinched, with a narrow brim, the Trilby could be termed a subset of the broader brimmed Fedora.

 

Both were originally styles for women, but which came first…the Trilby or the Fedora?

 

The Trilby stems from a 1895 stage adaptation of George Du Maurier's novel of the same name.  The eponymous heroine wore wore a newly shaped hat with a narrow brim, promptly named the Trilby.

 

As men rejected the over-formal attire of the 19th century, and with it, the top hat, fashionable men sought a new type of headwear.  HRH Prince Edward, always a style setter, adopted the Fedora in the mid 1920s.  We like to think it was a political statement too: The Fedora was previously much favoured by women's rights activists.  Could HRH’s approval have been tacit support for the movement?

 

HRH Edward-1.jpg

 

The Fedora quickly gained the upper hand when it was subsequently adopted by Hollywood, in a strange twist of fate, as shorthand for virile manliness (think Humphrey Bogart).  The Fedora was worn de rigueur by every tough guy.  Only the feistiest female characters ever wore a Fedora on the silver screen.

 

As the 20th Century progressed, the Trilby once again surged ahead in the 1960s as fashions changed again (think Frank Sinatra).  The Fedora wasn’t finished and made a comeback in the 1980s with a certain Dr Indiana Jones.

 

In our opinion the Trilby spawned the Fedora, however, it is the vagaries of fashion that have changed their relative fortunes.  After a century, both are in good health, even though they are no longer mainstream attire.

 

The sartorial significance of a hat and gloves is sorely underestimated in 2010s.  The old advertising slogan (whose origin is claimed by many) “Get Ahead, Get a Hat” still has merit:  Wearing a hat gives you added confidence, swagger and style.  A good hat marks you out as a man or woman of independence and good taste.  

  
Fine Fur Felt Fedoras and Trilbys
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