Tuesday, September 4, 2007

The Fedora at a Glance


When you hear about men's vintage fashion what is the first thing that pops into your mind?

Chances are it's a picture of a fedora, maybe Indiana Jones' now famous head topper. Fedoras are iconic. They represent a bygone era of style and, for many, of mystery.


Unfortunately for too many today, especially the younger generation, anyone wearing a fedora is a "pimp" or Indy. The fedora has been bastardized. The original context of the fedora is more or less forgotten and like many things today fedoras have become part of popular culture. Wal-Mart sells cheap 'gangsterized' fedoras to the in crowd; movie and music stars wear a variety of fedoras in trendy ways. Yet this new trend of fedora wearing (even if they are cheap and ugly) may be ushering in a new era of fedora wearing. Many of the kids who are wearing the cheap Wal-Mart fedoras today will discover real, classic fedoras tomorrow. Wearing fedoras is on the rise...

The trendy stingy brimmed hats of today's popular culture will decide whether the classic fedoras of yesteryear will return for good or fade from our memory once again.

Let's not kid ourselves, wearing fedoras will never reach the level that it did back in the early part of the last century. That is quite unfortunate. Even so, it allows a small 'cliche' if you will to strive. Imagine if everyone began wearing classic fedoras again. The supply of vintage beauties would dry up, leaving us fedora enthusiasts at the mercy of modern production fedoras which, at the moment, are horribly lacking in the quality of felt, construction and often shape. This, however, may change in the near future.




Well, I've rambled on about fedoras long enough. Perhaps you would like to see some of my own fedoras? Of course you would.


Here is a family photo of my fedora collection as of three months ago. All of the hats shown are vintage, dating from the 1930s to the 1970s. I am a fan of the larger brim and higher crown with little to no taper.

Nothing overly spectacular. Front right is a Penny's Marathon. Front center is a Stetson panama. The brown fedora on the left in the second row is a well used Portis from the 1930s. The gray hat in the very middle is a Churchill I use as my everyday hat and the blue fedora to the right is a Royal Stetson.



Of course I've added hats since that photo was taken.


Here is a rare white Mallory I recently added to the collection.




It has ventilation in the crown!



























Here's a silverbelly Stetson 'Open Road' that was originally from my great great-grandfather's clothing store.



















J.C. Petersen Co.

"A boy can buy as cheap as a man."





Last but not least is this Champ given to me by a friend. It looks very much like a Stetson 'Whippet'.
























As you can see there are many different styles of fedoras that suit any type of face. I've heard many men say "I'd love to wear a fedora but I think they just look silly on me". Pish posh! Either they did not find the right fedora or they weren't use to how it looked. Anyone with a face can look dapper in a fedora if they wear the right one in the right way. Take a look at the link below if you need help finding/wearing a fedora that suits you. If you're a young trendy guy you might consider a Stingy fedora (with a brim 2" or less); if you're into a more classic look go with a wider brimmed hat.

Miller Hats


This isn't the last time we'll take a look at fedoras but it is enough to get us started off.


Billy

9 comments:

Roger K said...

Thanks. Where do you suppose all the millions and millions of older fedoras went?

Will said...

I suspect they went to the trash when they were worn out (everything back then was completely used up before being thrown out, unlike our throw away society of today). Or, also very likely, relatives threw them out when the owner passed away.

Quite unfortunate either way, as is the loss of the people who wore them.

atoutlem0nde said...

Good to see this. The day after Thanksgiving last year, I was going through my Grandparent's basement, and found a "Superior Quality Marathon Hats, JC Penny Co." brown hat, exactly like Indiana Jones'.

I do prefer these kind of hats.

Brett said...

i got a royal whippet churchhill with apenny box like to sell them help me out

Miriam said...

I just bought a (well worn but still relatively good condition) Stetson that looks very much like the one of yours that you said was from the 1930's. Same fawn color, wide brown ribbon and wide brim. Paid 20$. Size 7 1/4. It roks. Btw, I'm female.

Miriam said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
David55 said...

Love all of your hats ! I have at last count 14 assorted hats . Mostly Fedoras , three different style " Pork Pies " and some houndstooths from the fifties also a " Tyrolian " style panama and a Stetson Genuine Panama. I'm fifty four and have been waring hats all of my adult life !

Love your site ! Keep up the good work !
Cheers !

David

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