Perfect for cool days and even colder nights, felt hats are a go-to for many customers during the winter months. Traditionally, felt hats are worn for a variety of reasons, including weather protection, important or ceremonial occasions, social status, or just as a fashion accessory. While straw hats are great for sun protection and warm weather, felt hats are a bit more versatile. Whether a fedora hat, a cloche, or a wide-brimmed spectacle, the intricate detail on these hats will turn your casual daytime outfit into “going out” dress attire.
Felt has been around for centuries and is possibly the oldest textile material. Archaeological evidence shows that people discovered that material fibres matted together when warm and damp, years before they knew how to spin yarn. As decades went by, people started integrating properties of wool and fur felt, to create softer, textured felt hats. To this day, we still use the same materials and processes to create felt hats. Certainly, when you put your new felt boater hat on, you aren’t harkening back to the 1300s, but each intertwined piece of felt tells a story, much like the history of felt hats.
Over the years we’ve evolved in the way we wear felt hats. Hats are no longer an indicator of social status, but they are still commonly worn to ceremonial or formal functions, like church services, weddings, traveling abroad, or just a night out with your loved one. No matter where you wear it, each felt hat has its own history and its own legend woven into its shape and feel.
While felt hats range in size and shape, popular forms are that of the fedora and the cloche. Until the late 19th century, fedora hats were commonly worn by lower and middle class men, until 1924, when the prince of Wales was spotted wearing a fedora, launching the style into the mainstream. Simultaneously, the cloche, invented more recently, in 1908, was right by its side, peaking in popularity from 1922-1933 and becoming a womens’ fashion staple. The hat even inspired popular hairstyles; short-slicked down bobs gained popularity, as they were ideal to showcase the shape of the cloche. Today, fedora and cloche hats have adapted to today’s modern head-wear, blending easily with a mid-length dress or skirt or knit sweater. Despite the ancient history of the felt hat, you can be rest assured that whatever design you decide upon will offer a truly modern take on a historical classic.
Though the hat racks are numerous and the aisles endless, your visit to our hat store won’t be complete without a trip to the felt hats. Felt hats are a nod to the vast, stretching history that binds all of us together. Try on a new felt hat today, and appreciate its sturdiness, the fine details in the stitching, and the blend of textiles to create its superb quality. Though you’re someone born of this age, you’re carrying history along with you. Don’t be surprised if the fibres of your wool felt hat turn heads each and every time you wear it.