The hat is generally known as an accessory designed to partially or totally cover the head, used to protect from the sun, from cold, from rain or simply for an aesthetic use.
Each shape and type has a name, a story and its own reason for existing…
BOATER: it’s a typical straw hat with a flat and straight crown, commonly known in the respective Italian and French variants as paglietta or canotier. Its use was often associated with the sport of rowing, as part of the uniform.
BASEBALL: often associated with the sporting discipline from which it takes its name, is a casual hat in cotton fabric with a wide curved or flat visor and round crown. Baseball caps are often fitted on the back of a rubber band or a velcro band, which serves to adapt the size of the headgear to the wearer’s head. The current style of the baseball cap was popularized by the New York Yankees player Babe Ruth in the late 1920s.
BOWLER: the classic bowler is a hard and convex felt hat. In the USA it is called the derby hat, a name deriving from the count Edward George Derby, who wore it. The bowler hat has been worn by many actors who have made it a hallmark of their characters; one above all is Charlie Chaplin (Charlot).
COCKTAIL: a small, extravagant female headdress, used for official occasions to replace the wide-brimmed hat. It is usually decorated with feathers, bows and veils.
FASCINATOR: it’s something between a hat and a hairband. It is considered as the most fashionable, whimsical headgear, often decorated with fabric flowers, veils and feathers.
HOMBURG: semi-rigid male felt hat, characterized by central hollow and wide brim with raised hem. Also known as Lobbia, this Italian name derives from the deputy Cristiano Lobbia who in 1869 was the victim of a brutal aggression along a street in Florence, at that time the Capital of Italy and seat of Parliament. He was struck by a big blow on the head (which hollowed his hat) and three stabs to his chest, between the indignation of Florence and the entire Regno d’Italia. An enterprising hatter took advantage of the publicity aroused by the story to sell Lobbia style hats.
PILLBOX: its shape is similar to a drum, the well-known musical instrument; it is a classic female hat, flat on top and without brim.
BEANIE: the classic “beret” or winter knit cap.
BUCKET: waterproof fabric hat, commonly known as a fisherman.
COWBOY: is a hat associated with the clothing of the American cowboy, has the crown carved in the middle and a large brim raised on the sides. The concept of a wide-brimmed hat used to ride comes mainly from the tradition of Mexican vaqueros. It is considered to be particularly functional as its breadth is capable of protecting from sun and rain, and in this sense it is still used today in the work field.
FEDORA: it is a winter hat of soft felt that is hollowed in its length under the crown. It has a crown like a truncated cone, pinched at the front on both sides with a brim of medium width. The term fedora came into use in 1891. The word comes from the title of a 1882 screenplay by Victorien Sardou, written for Sarah Bernhardt. Sarah played Princess Fedora, the heroine of the comedy, wearing a hat with this shape. It is also improperly known as Borsalino, since actually this would be the name and trademark registered by the Italian clothing company Borsalino, to which it is undoubtedly recognized the great contribution to make this model of headgear famous all over the world. It became famous for being habitually used by celebrities such as Al Capone, Federico Fellini, François Mitterrand, Humphrey Bogart, Harrison Ford, Dan Aykroyd, John Belushi in the film Blues Brothers and Robert Englund.
NEWSBOY CAP: a casual hat born in North America at the end of the 19th century, in soft wool with a rigid visor. The crown consists of segments, finished at the top of the crown with a button. The style was popular in Europe and North America between the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries among boys and adult men. As the name suggests, it is a model commonly associated with journalists.
TRAPPER: called in Russian ušanka (ушанка). It is a hat of Russian origin mainly used by the military, but also common among civilians. Fur-lined, it has a truncated cylinder shape with long side flaps to keep the head and ears warm. The Italian name colbacco derives from the French colback which in turn derives from the Turkish kalpak (fur headdress), although in French the word colback designates the tall military fur hat like the one supplied to the Granatieri di Sardegna.
BERET: in Europe commonly called also basque, is a cloth headgear, without flaps and visor. It is usually made of knitted wool or felt. Even if at first was used between soldiers, it then spread successfully also as a casual accessory. Basque became popular among the peasants of the Basque Country, from which, in Europe, it took its name, and in which it is the traditional national headgear.
CLOCHE: female bell-shaped hat from which it takes its name, is associated with the fashion of the ’20s and’ 30s, period of its maximum diffusion. Purchased by the Empress of Austria in Vienna and the Grand Duchess of Tuscany, the first specimens are made of straw. The Museum of Straw and Weaving in Florence preserves a very rare cloche – datable to the end of the nineteenth century and called Cappello della sovrana – made with a very fine straw braid.
DEERSTALKER: the investigator’s hat, made famous by the character of Sherlok Holmes, widespread almost exclusively in the UK countryside as a hunting hat.
PANAMA: Originally from Ecuador, it is traditionally woven by hand with fibers derived from the still tender leaves of a dwarf palm, called in Spanish toquilla palm. This hat has the name of the city of Panama only because this has been for centuries its main commercial port of departure. Depending on the quality of the weaving process, it can take from one day to eight months for production. In 2012, the traditional weaving of Panama is recognized among the oral and intangible heritage of the humanity of Ecuador.
TOQUE: The toque is a term that indicates a typology of caps deriving from the more distant term la toque, that is the long wig of the nobles of Spain and France of the fifteenth century. Later the term went to indicate caps that above all indicated a charge, a title, a profession: for example the touch of the judge, or the academic touch, or even the Toque blanche, that is the chef’s cap.
Today the term has instead passed to indicate the modern winter floppy cap in wool, handmade or industrially made, whose main purpose is to protect from cold in winter.