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What do Indiana Jones and Frank Sinatra have in common? They both understood the style that a fedora offers. A fedora is a soft felt hat with an indented crown around 11 cm high and a soft brim 6.4 cm in width. The fedora shape has been applied to different hats, such as the Panama hat and trilby.
The fedora varies based on:
Brim – A fedora’s brim can be worn angled down, up, or, as the nickname ‘snap-brim hat’ implies, turned up in the back and down in the front. The brim can be finished in multiple widths, positions and materials with raw, sewn, trimmed, or finished edges.
Crown – The top of the hat, the crown, can be shaped in different ways with the most common being a teardrop crown. Diamond and centre creases are also popular.
Pinch – Sharpness and placement of the pinch vary between styles.
Material & Colour – Most men’s fedoras are made from wool felt. Felt is a material constructed of compressed, matted fibres. Fedoras come in a range of colours with black, grey, dark brown and khaki being the most popular.
Ribbon – Fedoras are synonymous with a fabric ribbon above the brim. Some also include a decorative feather.
The actual history of the fedora is an enigma. Many claim it originated in a play named ‘Fédora’ by the French author Victorien Sardou. One of the lead roles, Princess Fédora Romanoff, wore a hat similar to what we know as a men’s fedora hat. True or not, it’s a good story.
Prince Edward of Britain started wearing the fedora in the 1920s, and it soon replaced bowlers, flat caps and top hats. Its popularity rose in the 20s with Prohibition and gangsters and again with Hollywood stars in the 40s and 50s. While not as mainstream as it once was, the fedora hat is still a staple for the dapper, the hipster and even the modern man.
When choosing a hat, remember that the brim should be in proportion to your shoulders. Narrow brim for a slender frame. Wider brim for broader shoulders.
Place a tape measure around your head where the hat’s inner band will sit.
Let the ends meet on your forehead.
Make sure the tape measure is not too tight.
Read the circumference from the tape measure and choose your size.
Different hats sit differently on your head. You may even prefer to tilt your hat in a certain way. Measure so that your tape measure falls where the hat’s inner band will sit. Hats usually sit most comfortably about 1 cm above the ears.
If your head circumference is in the lower end of a size interval, a pair of hat sizers will ensure a snug fit.
If it’s a Cavanagh Edge you’re after, you’ll need to shop for a proper vintage fedora as this hand-felted edging technique isn’t used anymore. Otherwise, Fawler offers options ranging from cotton to wool and even fedora-inspired Panama hats woven from Ecuadorian Toquilla straw. We’re confident that Frank and Indiana would approve of our selection.