A collection of 18th and 19th century hats
Ancient Greek statue of a lady with blue and gilt garment, fan and sun hat, from Tanagra, 325-300 BC, Altes Museum, Berlin.
Paris millinery shop, 1822

A hat is a head covering. It can be worn for protection against the elements, for ceremonial or religious reasons, for safety, or as a fashion accessory.[1] In the past, hats were an indicator of social status.[2] In the military, they may denote nationality, branch of service, rank and/or regiment.[3]


A woman with a hat. Ancient Greek Attic red-figure pelike, 440–430 BC, from Nola, Italy. Musée du Petit Palais, Paris.

One of the first pictorial depictions of a hat appears in a Thebes tomb painting which shows a man wearing a coolie-style straw hat. Other early hats were the Pileus, a simple skull cap; the Phrygian cap, worn by freed slaves in Greece and Rome; and the Greek Pestasos, the first known hat with a brim. Women wore veils, kerchiefs, hoods, caps and wimples. St. Clement, the patron saint of felt hatmakers, is said to have discovered wool felt when he filled his sandals with flax fibers to protect his feet.[4]Structured hats for women similar to those of male courtiers began to be worn in the late 16th century.[5] The term ‘milliner’ comes from the Italian city of Milan, where the best quality hats were made in the 18th century. Millinery was traditionally a woman’s occupation, with the milliner not only creating hats and bonnets but also choosing lace, trimmings and accessories to complete an outfit. In the most aincient of aincient times, people would wear hats on their heads, necks, elbows, and feet as well. [6]

In the first half of the 19th century, women wore bonnets that gradually became larger, decorated with ribbons, flowers, feathers and gauze trims. By the end of the century, many other styles were introduced, among them hats with wide brims and flat crowns, the flower pot and the toque. By the middle of the 1920s, when women began to cut their hair short, they chose hats that hugged the head like a helmet.[7]

Since the early 21st century, flamboyant hats have made a comeback, with a new wave of competitive young milliners designing creations that include turban caps, tromp l'oeil effect felt hats and tall headpieces made of human hair. Some new hat collections have been described as "wearable sculpture." Many pop stars, among them Lady Gaga, have commissioned hats as publicity stunts.[8]

Hat design

A hat consists of four main parts:[9]

Famous hatmakers

One of the most famous London hatters is James Lock & Co of St James's Street.[12] Another was Sharp & Davis of 6 Fish Street Hill.[13] Stetson is a well-known American hat company.[14]In the late 20th century museums credited London-based David Shilling with reinventing hats worldwide. Notable Belgian hat designers are Elvis Pompilio and Fabienne Delvigne, whose hats are worn by European royals.[15]Philip Treacy OBE is an award-winning Irish milliner whose hats have been commissioned by top designers[16] and worn at royal weddings.[17]

Hat collections

The Philippi Collection is a collection of religious headgear assembled by a German entrepreneur, Dieter Philippi, located in Kirkel. [18] The collection features over 500 hats.[19]

Hat styles

Further information: List of headgear

Image Name Description
Ascot cap A hard men's cap, similar to the flat cap, but distinguished by its hardness and rounded shape.
Akubra Australian felt hat with a wide brim.
Ayam A Korean traditional winter cap mostly worn by women in the Joseon period from 1392 – 1910.
Balaclava A form of headgear covering the whole head, exposing only the face or upper part of it, and sometimes only the eyes. Also known as a ski mask.
Balmoral bonnet Traditional Scottish bonnet or cap worn with Scottish Highland dress.
Barretina A traditional style, in red it is now used as a symbol of Catalan identity. It is worn with the top flopping down.
Baseball cap A type of soft cap with a long, stiffened and curved peak.
Beanie A brimless cap with or without a small visor once popular among school boys. Sometimes includes a propeller.

In New Zealand, Australia, the United States and the United Kingdom, the term "beanie" may also be applied to a knit cap known as a tuque, see below.

Bearskin The tall, furry, full dress uniform hat of the Brigade of Guards designed to protect the footguards against sword-cuts, commonly seen at Buckingham Palace.
Beaver hat Hats made of felted beaver fur.
Beret Soft round cap, usually of wool felt, with a flat crown, worn by both men and women and traditionally associated with France. Also used in the military.
Bicorne Military hat with two corners, also known as a cocked hat.
Biretta A square cap with three or four ridges or peaks worn by Roman Catholic clergy and some Anglican and Lutheran clergy.
Boater Flat-brimmed and flat-topped straw hat, formerly worn by seamen, and now mostly at summer regattas or garden parties, often with a ribbon in club or college colors.
Boonie hat A soft cotton wide-brim hat commonly used by militaries. Similar to a bucket hat.
Boss of the plains A lightweight all-weather hat designed by John B. Stetson for the demands of the American west.
Bowler / Derby A hard felt hat with a rounded crown created in 1850 by Lock's of St James's, the hatters to Thomas Coke, 2nd Earl of Leicester, for his servants. Sometimes known as a derby hat.
Bucket hat A soft cotton hat with a wide, downwards-sloping brim.
Busby A small fur military hat.
Campaign hat A broad-brimmed felt or straw hat, with a high crown, pinched symmetrically at the four corners (the "Montana crease").
Capotain A hat worn from the 1590s through the 1640s in England and Northwestern Europe. It is also commonly called a Pilgrim hat.
File:Zitoune cyclisme.JPG Casquette A small-peaked cap often worn by cyclists.
Caubeen An Irish beret.[20]
Chilote cap A woven cap typical of Chiloé Archipelago made of coarse raw wool, usually with a pom-pom at the top.
Chullo Peruvian or Bolivian hat with ear-flaps made from vicuña, alpaca, llama or sheep's wool.[21]
Chupalla Straw hat made in Chile.
Cloche hat Popular bell-shaped ladies hat of the 1920s.
Cricket cap A type of soft cap that is a traditional form of headwear for players of the game of cricket.
Cordobés Flat-brimmed and flat-topped traditional hat originating from Córdoba, Spain, associated with Flamenco and popularized by characters such as the fictional Zorro.
Conical Asian hat Simple straw hat associated with East and Southeast Asia.
File:Coonskin cap.JPG Coonskin cap Hat fashioned from the skin and fur of a raccoon that became associated with American and Canadian frontiersmen of the 18th and 19th centuries.
Stetson Also known as a "Cowboy Hat". A High-crowned, wide-brimmed hat, with a sweatband on the inside, and a decorative hat band on the outside. Customized by creasing the crown and rolling the brim.[22]
Custodian helmet Police helmet worn by British constables while on foot patrol.
Deerstalker Warm close-fitting tweed cap designed for hunting in the wet and windy Scottish climate, with brims in front and behind, and ear flaps which can be tied together either over the crown or under the chin; closely associated with Sherlock Holmes.
Dunce cap A hat that was used to punish and humiliate students in school during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. It is shaped like a cone and often has a big capital 'D' inscribed on the front.
Fascinator A small hat commonly made with feathers, flowers and/or beads.[23] It attaches to the hair by a comb, headband or clip.
Fedora A soft felt hat with a lengthwise crease.
File:Fes.jpg Fez Red felt hat in the shape of a truncated cone.
Flat cap A soft, round men's cap with a small brim in front.
Gat A traditional Korean hat worn by men.
Gatsby A soft brimmed hat popular in New York after the turn of the century made from eight quarter panels. Also known as a newsboy cap.
Garrison or Forage cap A foldable cloth cap with straight sides and a creased or hollow crown.
Gaung Paung Headwrap worn by the Bamar, Mon people, Rakhine and Shan peoples.
Ghutrah Three piece ensemble consisting of a Thagiyah skull cap, Gutrah scarf, and Ogal black band. Gutrahs are plain white or checkered, denoting ethnic or national identities.[citation needed].
File:Ts17army.jpg Glengarry A traditional Scottish boat-shaped hat without a peak made of thick-milled woollen material with a toorie on top, a rosette cockade on the left, and (usually) ribbons hanging down behind. It is normally worn as part of Scottish military or civilian Highland dress.
Hard hat A helmet predominantly used in workplace environments, such as construction sites, to protect the head from injury by falling objects, debris and bad weather.
Hardee hat Also known as the 1858 Dress Hat. Regulation hat for Union soldiers during the American Civil War.
Homburg A semi-formal hat with a crease and no dents.
Icelandic tail-cap Part of the national costume of Iceland.
Jaapi A traditional hat of Assam, India. There both plain and decorative japies are Available.
File:Jinnahsideposecap .jpg Karakul (Qaraqul) A hat made from the fur of the Qaraqul breed of sheep, typically worn by men in Central and South Asia and popular among Soviet leaders.
Kepi A French military hat with a flat, circular top and visor.
Kippah or Yarmulke A small close-fitting skullcap worn by religious Jews.
Kolpik Brown fur hat worn by Hassidic Jews.
Kofia Brimless cylindrical cap with a flat crown, worn by men in East Africa.
Kova tembel Cloth hat worn by Israeli pioneers and kibbutzniks.
Kufi A brimless, short, rounded cap worn by Africans and people throughout the African diaspora.
Montera A crocheted hat worn by bullfighters.
Mortarboard Flat, square hat with a tassel worn as part of academic dress.
Mother of the Bride Hat A large yet lightweight lady's hat with a wide-brim worn regularly in pre-victorian era Britain, and now mostly at garden parties and weddings.
Pakul Round, rolled wool hat with a flat top, common in Pakistan and Afghanistan.
File:PanamaHatHarryTruman.jpg Panama Straw hat made in Ecuador.
Papakhi Also known as astrakhan hat in English, a male wool hat worn throughout the Caucasus.
Party Hat A conical hat, similar to the Dunce cap, typically worn at birthday parties. It is frequently emblazoned with bright patterns or messages.
Patrol cap Also known as a field cap,a scout cap, or in the United States a mosh cap.; a soft cap with a stiff, rounded visor, and flat top, worn by military personnel in the field when a combat helmet is not required.
Peaked cap A military style cap with a crown, band and peak (also called a visor). It is used by many militaries of the world as well as law enforcement, as well as some people in service professions who wear uniforms.
Phrygian Cap A soft conical cap pulled forward. In sculpture, paintings and caricatures it represents freedom and the pursuit of liberty. The popular cartoon characters The Smurfs wear white Phrygian caps.
Pith Helmet A lightweight cloth-covered helmet made of cork or pith.
Planter's Hat A lightweight straw hat, with a wide brim, a round crown and narrow round dent on the outside of the top of the crown. Worn by Clark Gable in 'Gone with the Wind', and Paul Bettany in 'Master and Commander'.
Porkpie Circular, flat topped hat.
Rastacap A tall, round, usually crocheted and brightly colored, cap worn by Rastafarians and others with dreadlocks to tuck their locks away.
Sami hat Also known as a "Four Winds" hat, traditional men's hat of the Sami people.
Šajkača Serbian national hat.
Salakot A traditional hat in the Philippines.
Santa Hat A floppy pointed red hat trimmed in white fur traditionally associated with Christmas.
Shako A tall cylindrical military cap, usually with a visor, badge, and plume.
Shtreimel A fur hat worn by married Hassidic men on Shabbat and holidays.
Slouch Generic term covering wide-brimmed felt-crowned hats often worn by military leaders.
Sombrero A Mexican hat with a conical crown and a saucer-shaped brim, highly embroidered made of plush felt.
Songkok A cap widely worn in Indonesia, Brunei, Malaysia, Singapore, the southern Philippines and southern Thailand, mostly among Muslim males. May be related to the taqiyah.
Student cap A cap worn by university students in various European countries.
Tam o' Shanter A Scottish wool hat originally worn by men.
Taqiyah A round fabric cap worn by Muslim men.
Top hat A tall, flat-crowned, cylindrical hat worn by men in the 19th and early 20th centuries, now worn only with morning dress or evening dress.
Toque A tall, pleated, brimless, cylindrical hat traditionally worn by chefs.
Trilby A soft felt men's hat with a deeply indented crown and a narrow brim often upturned at the back.
Tricorne A soft hat with a broad brim, pinned up on either side of the head and at the back, producing a triangular shape.
Trucker hat Similar to a baseball cap, usually with a foam brim and front section and a breathable mesh back section.
Tubeteika A round, slightly pointed cap with embroidered or applique patterns worn throughout Central Asia.
File:Tudor Bonnet.JPG Tudor bonnet A soft round black academic cap, with a tassel hanging from a cord attached to the centre of the top of the hat.
Tuque In Canada, a knitted hat, worn in winter, usually made from wool or acrylic. Also known as a ski cap, knit hat, knit cap, sock cap, stocking cap, toboggan, watch cap, or goobalini.

In New Zealand, Australia, the United States and the United Kingdom, the term "beanie" is applied to this cap.

Turban A headdress consisting of a scarf-like single piece of cloth wound around either the head itself or an inner hat.
Tyrolean hat A felt hat originating from the Alps.
Ushanka Russian fur hat with fold down ear flaps.
Vueltiao A Colombian hat of woven and sewn black and khaki dried palm braids with indigenous figures.
Zucchetto Skullcap worn by clerics.

Hat size

Hat sizes are determined by measuring the circumference of a person's head about 1/2 inch (1.3 cm) above the ears. Inches or centimeters may be used depending on the manufacturer. Felt hats can be stretched for a custom fit. Some hats, like hard hats and baseball caps, are adjustable. Cheaper hats come in "standard sizes", such as small, medium, large, extra large: the mapping of measured size to the various "standard sizes" varies from maker to maker and style to style, as can be seen by studying various catalogues, such as Hammacher-Schlemmer.[24]

Traditional hat size is worked out by adding the fore and aft and side to side measurements (in inches) then dividing by two. In the UK, an equivalent hat size is an eighth of an inch smaller than in the US.

Hat sizes
size Youth S/M Youth L/XL XXS XS S M L XL XXL XXXL
Age (years) 0 ½ 1 2
Circumference in cm 34 43 47 48 49 50 51 - 52 53 - 54 55 - 56 57 - 58 59 - 60 61 - 62 63 - 64 65 - 66
Circumference in inches 13⅜ 17 18½ 18⅞ 19¼ 19¾ 20⅛ - 20½ 20⅞ - 21¼ 21⅝ - 22 22½ - 22⅞ 23¼ - 23⅝ 24 - 24⅜ 24¾ - 25¼ 25⅝ - 26
UK hat size 5⅞ 6 6⅛ 6¼ - 6⅜ 6½ - 6⅝ 6¾ - 6⅞ 7 - 7⅛ 7¼ - 7⅜ 7½ - 7⅝ 7¾ - 7⅞ 8 - 8⅛
US hat size 5⅞ 6 6⅛ 6⅜ - 6½ 6⅝ - 6¾ 6⅞ - 7 7⅛ - 7¼ 7⅜ - 7½ 7⅝ - 7¾ 7⅞ - 8 8⅛ - 8¼
French hat size 0 ½ 1 2 - 2½ 3 - 3½ 4 - 4½ 5 - 5½ 6 - 6½ 7 - 7½ 8 - 8½ 9 - 9½


  1. ^ Pauline Thomas (2007-09-08). "The Wearing of Hats Fashion History". Fashion-era.com. Retrieved 2011-07-02.
  2. ^ "The social meanings of hats". Press.uchicago.edu. Retrieved 2011-07-02.
  3. ^ "Insignia:The Way You Tell Who's Who in the Military". Defense.gov. Retrieved 2011-07-02.
  4. ^ "History of Hats". Hatsandcaps.co.uk. Retrieved 2011-07-02.
  5. ^ Hat history
  6. ^ Vintage fashion guild
  7. ^ Hat history
  8. ^ Millinery Madness: Hat Makers With Attitude
  9. ^ David Morgan: Hat Care
  10. ^ Puggaree, the hat band, it's origins (sic) diggerhistory.com
  11. ^ Puggaree: Definition at lexic.us
  12. ^ See Whitbourn, F.: 'Mr Lock of St James's St Heinemann, 1971.
  13. ^ For an account of the Sharp family's hat-making business, see Knapman, D. - 'Conversation Sharp - The Biography of a London Gentleman, Richard Sharp (1759-1835), in Letters, Prose and Verse'. [Private Publication, 2004]. British Library.
  14. ^ Snyder, Jeffrey B., Stetson Hats and the John B. Stetson Company 1865-1970, 1997 p.57 ISBN 0-7643-0211-6
  15. ^ "Brussels life". Brusselslife.be. Retrieved 2011-07-02.
  16. ^ "Philip Treacy 'Hatforms' at IMMA Thursday". Raidió Teilifís Éireann. 5 April 2001. Retrieved 11 December 2010.
  17. ^ Philip Treacy: King of Royal wedding hats Irish Independent, 2011-04-29
  18. ^ Neue Züricher Zeitung FOLIO
  19. ^ Der Spiegel
  20. ^ "caubeen". Oxford University Press.
  21. ^ Klinkenborg, Verlyn (2009-02-03). "Season of the chullo". International Herald Tribune. Retrieved 2011-07-02.
  22. ^ Snyder, Jeffrey B. (1997) Stetson Hats and the John B. Stetson Company 1865-1970.p5 ISBN 0-7643-0211-6
  23. ^ Millinery Madness: Hat Makers With Attitude
  24. ^ "Helmet sizes".