According to Oxford Dictionary, a hat is a shaped covering for the head, worn for warmth, as a fashion item, or as part of a uniform. Once upon a time, you will hardly find anyone on the streets without a head covering of some kind – today this is not the case. But still, a hat is counted as an important fashion accessory.
This head covering has evolved in so many ways that you will lose count if I list all of the types of hats there are. Here are the best kinds of hats used as fashion accessories.
- Aviator hat
- Baseball cap
- Beret hat
- Bucket hat
- Bush Hats
- Cloche hat
- Cocktail hats
- Coonskin cap
- Cossack Hat
- Cowboy hats
- Crocheted hats
- Derby hat/Bowler hat
- Fedora hat
- Flat caps/Newsboy cap
- Fur hats
- Homburg hats
- Knit hat
- Mushroom hat
- Panama hat
- Pork pie hats
- Raffia hats
- Safari hats
- Skull cap
- Slouch hats
- Straw hats
- Sun hat
- Sun visor
- Top hat
- Trapper hat
- Trilby Hat
- Trucker hats
- Vintage hats
Aviator hat is a leather cap with large ear flaps and a chin strap. Usually there is a short bill at the front. This bill is turned upwards to show the lining made of fur or fleece. Originally it was a hunter’s gear protecting the ear, chin, and nape in harsh weather conditions. During the world war, it was adapted to protect the pilot’s head and ears from frosty winds.
A Balaclava also known as a ski mask is a knitted headgear covering the head and neck with an opening for the eyes and mouth. Named so because it was first made in the balaklava village in Crimea.
You can choose which part of your face to be exposed with the many styles available – the whole face, eyes only, eyes and nose only, or eyes, nose, and mouth. Balaclava is a very versatile fashion accessory as it can be rolled up and worn like a toque or rolled down and worn like a neck scarf. Balaclavas also provide you warmth and protection against wind and frost. It’s best used in motorcycling and skiing as headgear worn under a helmet.
The baseball cap has a soft rounded crown and a deep, curved and often stiff visor. Though it is usually associated with baseball players, it is worn by men, women, and children alike. The baseball cap comes with or without an adjuster at the back. There are mainly four types of baseball hats. Snapback hat, adjustable hat, flex fit hat, and fitted hat. It can be decorated with embroidery mostly to add an emblem or logo. Women with a high ponytail can wear this hat in a chic style by pulling the hair through the gap above the adjuster.
Beanie is a head-hugging felt cap with no brims. Four or six triangular panels of stretchy fabric pieces are stitched together and joined at the crown. There is usually a pouf-shaped ball at the top of a beanie. The cloth-covered button was often the size of a bean and the name ‘beanie’ must have originated from it. The term beanie is also used to denote a close-fitting knitted cap more like torque, made of wool, synthetic materials, or fleece. It is a unisex hat popular among men and women alike. While wearing a beanie, it is always better to stick to a classic cuffed beanie or a fisherman beanie or bobble hat and avoid the baggy beanie if you are not confident to carry it.
The beret is an iconic French-style cap. It is a round flat visor-less cap made of circular pieces of woven, knitted, or felted cloth attached to a band or leather thong to fit around the head. Loved by both the sexes, it can be worn in a variety of styles: halo style-set back on the head, pancake-style – flat on the head, winter style – pulled down covering the ears, or fashion style- dipping diagonally to one side.
Though associated with sailing and boating, this very popular semi-formal hat is known by many names such as boater hat, straw boater, skimmer, sennit hat, basher, Katie, cady, etc. Originally made of sennit straw, it has a stiff flat crown and brim and a ribbon around the crown. Today it is made in a variety of materials like wheat braid, Panama straw, and paper straw. It is a charming item of leisurewear for both men and women, especially during summer. The boater was a preferred ensemble for Coco Channel when her contemporaries wore elaborate hairdos.
Usually brimless fabric hat with a triangular shape with its brim forming a frame around the face and tied under the chin
A bucket hat is a simple soft cloth hat with a wide, downward-sloping brim – which looks as if a bucket has been placed upside down on your head. It is also called an Irish county hat.
Though they were originally used by Irish farmers and fishermen to protect them against rain, they became part of fashion in the 80s and 90s mainly due to hip hop culture when it became a favorite of rappers. Even before that, it was adapted as a ladies accessory in the 1960s by the fashion world. Nowadays it is worn by both men and women in plain or dark solid colors or even tie-dyed.
These are wide rimmed hats suitable for hunting and other outdoor activities. They are usually in neutral colors or camouflage pattern. Other names are Boonie hats, jungle hats.
The word ‘cloche’ means bell in French and a cloche hat is a close-fitting bell-shaped hat. It was designed by the French designer Caroline Reboux. Cloche found variations in the brim and seam styles, as well as things used for decoration – appliqués, brooches, feathers, beads, and the type of fabric used to make it. There are even lace and silk cloches that are meant to be worn with evening wear.
These are basically pretty hats with lots of embellishments – it is usually brimless and the portion that attaches to the head is small.
This is an oblong visorless fur cap with a tail made from the fur and tail of racoon.
This is a big oblong visorless fur cap.
It is a high crown hat with a broad, often curled brim usually associated with a cowboy’s iconic image. It is made of felt, straw or sometimes leather. There is a simple sweatband inside the crown for a better fit. Sometimes crowns are creased and they are decorated with a wide band. The hat was popularised by western movies and it also became part of law enforcement.
Crocheted hats are made by using a crochet hook to interlock loops of yarn. These hats come in various styles from close fit to wide-brimmed. Brands like Marc Jacobs and Prada have used crochet to make various styles of hats to add to their collection.
Derby hat/Bowler hat
Derby, also known as a bowler hat is a stiff felt hat with a narrow brim and dome-shaped crown that sits low on the head. It also has a hat ribbon or a hatband. Derby was designed by London hat-makers Thomas and William Bowler. It is a men’s headwear and was popularised by many actors like Charlie Chaplin, Laurel, and Hardy, John Cleese. It was also the favorite hat of British Prime minister Winston Churchill. At first, it was popular with the British, Irish, and American middle class who wore it with semi-formals and informal clothes, but it soon found its way to the fashion of upper classes.
Favored by both royals and fashion forwards, a fascinator is a stylish millinery for women. The term was used to cover designs inspired by 1960s small cocktail hats. Unlike other hats, a fascinator has no crown. It is a small adornment attached to the head by a clip, comb, or wire. Catherine Middleton, Duchess of Cambridge is often seen wearing fascinators.
It is a soft-felt hat with a lengthwise crease on the crown and is adorned with a ribbon or hatband. The fedora hat also has a wide brim. It first appeared as a women’s hat made famous by the character Princess Fedora Romanoff played by the famous actress Sarah Bernhardt. It became popular with men after Prince Edward of Britain started wearing it. The hat became popular for its fashionable style and practicality.
Flat caps/Newsboy cap
Also known as the newsboy cap, a flat cap is a rounded cap with a small stiff brim in the front. Originating from the British isles, this flat cap came into existence as a necessity and not as a trend. Another name for this type of hat is Driving cap.
Hats made of fur (original fur or fake fur) are very popular as a winter fashion accessory.
This is a felt hat with a heavily indented crown and slightly upturned brim. Also called godfather hat.
This is usually a casual head hugging cap.
It is a famous millinery style that resembles a mushroom with a drooping brim and a mushroom-shaped crown. In the 20th century a mushroom hat came with a wide drooping brim, but in the recent fashion trends, they have narrow or no brim at all but a mushroom-shaped puffy crown.
Panama hat also known as Ecuador hat is made of woven straw of South American toquilla palm plant. It is made in Ecuador and heavily exported to Panama. In existence for more than 100 years, this hat has been popular as tropical and seaside headwear and it has been worn by presidents, politicians, celebrities, and artists. There are two styles of Panama hat – Fedora style and Optimo style and comes in two patterns of weave – Cuenca, and Brisa. Cuenca has the appearance of a herringbone weave and Brisa, small diamonds or squares.
A style most commonly worn by women, a pillbox hat has a flat crown, straight sides, and no brim. Simple and elegant, in its basic form the pillbox hat was worn usually without any other adornment except perhaps for a simple veil. It was made from wool, velvet, furs of mink, Lynx, fox, or leopard. This hat was designed by milliners in the early 20th century. Jacqueline Kennedy was famous for her collection of pillbox hats.
Pork pie hats
Porkpie hats have a flat crown and turned up brim. It has been popular especially among men from the mid 19th century. It was also a favorite with American jazz and blues musicians. Even today it is a favorite hat of hipsters.
Raffia hat is an organic and sustainable hat made from the raffia palm. Natural resin in the raffia fiber gives it durability but also makes it flexible and pliant. Raffia hats come in a variety of styles. From visors to boaters to Panama hats, you can choose any that complements your style.
The above photo is of a traditional safari hat. Today any wide brimmed hat can be used as a safari hat, which will give you adequate sun, wind protection and be stylish at the same time.
This is a close fitting brimless soft cap that covers the top, dome-like part of the head. It is usually worn for religious purposes as in the case of jewesih priests and catholic priests and as prayer caps by muslim men. The snug fitting skull cap is also worn as sports gear under helmets for its cooling effect on the head and as a protection from abrasions and a barrier from sweat in eyes.
Primarily linked to Australian military identity, it is a soft felt or cloth hat with a brim that can be pulled down over the ears and often worn with a chin strap. Nowadays, it is worn by the military around the world. The army refers it by the name Hat Khaki fur felt or KFF. The slouch hat got its name because it is worn with one side drooping down as opposed to the other side.Tam is the name of a slouchie beanie hat which slouches to the back of the head.
Snood is a tube-shaped scarf designed to hold in the hair. Similar to a hairnet, snoods have a looser fit, coarser mesh, and thicker yarn. It is worn by pulling over the head like a collar. Though snoods can be made with a variety of materials, the trendy ones are those made with chunky wool and knits. If you go for neutral colors, you can wear them as an everyday accessory.
A straw hat is a wide-brimmed, flat crowned hat that is woven with natural or synthetic straw-like materials. Originally designed to get protection from the sun, the straw hat is used in uniform and also in fashion. It is worn by both men and women and comes in a variety of styles. Floppy beach straw hats are very popular among women. A tighter woven straw hat cuts off most of the sunlight and is very good protection against the sun.
A sun hat shades the face and neck from the sun with its wide brim ranging from 4 to 7 inches. Sun hats are common across the world, especially in tropical holiday spots. They are made of a variety of materials like cloth or straw. A sun hat is often held in place by a chin strap.
It is a crown-less hat with only a visor or brim attached to a strap. The strap is often adjusted with a Velcro fastener at the back. If you do not want to cover your head but still want to protect your face from the sun, a sun visor is the best choice. It was made for use for outdoor activities like golf, softball, volleyball, and tennis. Sun visors can be made of natural straw or cloth or other synthetic materials.
It is a tall, flat-crowned hat often made in black or grey color. It is a men’s hat worn with formal wear in western attire. The top hat is worn for formal functions like weddings, funerals or balls, horse racing events, or Royal functions.
Closely similar in looks to an aviator hat, a trapper hat is an ear covering hat with the flaps and ties fastened at the chin. They are often made of inexpensive furs like sheepskin, rabbits fur, or artificial fur. Trapper hats are used by the military of various countries especially in colder regions. They are often worn with their flaps buttoned up as it is considered more manly than with the flaps down.
This is a felt hat with a crease on the crown and ribbon around it. It is very similar to a fedora hat but with a less wider brim and a less taller crown
Trucker hat or mesh cap is a type of baseball cap. A mesh at the back and a broader brim differentiate it from the baseball cap. It was originally made as a promotional accessory to farmers, farmhands, and truck drivers. Truckers made it popular by driving them around the places. Thus the name trucker caps. Trucker cap soon became part of streetwear and became an integral part of pop culture. Many celebrities like Pyarelal Williams and Ashton Kutcher had been seen wearing this hat.
Turban is a headwear with a long cloth wound around the head. It is a common and fashionable headwear for many cultures, but for some, it has religious importance like the Sikhs of India and some Shia Muslims. In some cultures, turbans are worn by women, like in Africa or the Philippines.
This is a Russian fur cap with ear flaps.
Hat hoarders have a penchant for collecting antique or vintage hats. A hat is called vintage if it can be associated with any particular style of a particular decade. The size and shape often hint at the period when it was highly used. For example, the pillbox hat was popular in the 1960s.