With so many different types of hats to choose from, it can be hard to know which is which. Here’s our complete guide to the types of hats for men, from beanies to cowboy hats and beyond. By the end of this article you will able to identify each type of hat, learn about the different types of crowns, and discover the different elements of a hat. Let's get started.
Common Hat Terms: A Headcovers Dictionary
It’s the uppermost part, or central body, of the hat. Crowns are generally dome-shaped, but the curves can be more or less pronounced, depending on the style.
The pinch, or crease, refers to the indentations made at the sides and tops of the hat. Technically part of the crown, a pinch defines the nature of each style. For instance it helps distinguish a bowler from a fedora.
This decorative piece circles the crown, right above the brim. Some men like to tuck a feather into their hat band for a little extra pizazz.
The brim juts out horizontally from the crown, and is highly functional - count on it to protect you from rain and to provide shade on a sunny day.
Some types of hats for men have fabric wrapped around the interior; that’s called lining. It helps protect the fibers of your hat from dirt and grease, and can usually be cleaned with soap and water.
Exactly how it sounds, the sweatband it is a piece of fabric that diverts your perspiration from the inner brim of your men’s hats.
Beanie hats for guys are a relaxed, comfortable style. Beanies can either be fitted to the head or slouchy, and they come in a variety of fabrics and textures. They are commonly worn to either keep the head warm, conceal hair loss, or add a stylish look to an outfit (or all of the above!). In the early 1900's, the term "bean" was slang for head, leading to the coining of the name "beanie." Beanies are versatile and can be worn on the street with jeans, at home with sweats and a t-shirt, or even to sleep. Our relaxed version comes in 100% cotton and is perfect for everyday wear.
Fedoras have a rich (and relatively unknown) history. The fedora was originally created as a costume piece in the 1882 play Fédora by Victorien Sardou. Fédora, the play's protaganist (originally portrayed by actress Sarah Bernhardt), wore a brimmed cap with an indented crown throughout the play, which led to the cap being called a fedora.It was initally considered a women's style, and was especially beloved by women's rights activists and suffragettes; it even became a symbol of the women's rights movement. In 1924, Prince Edward began wearing fedoras, leading to their popularity amoung men. They were especially popular in the 1920s and 1940s-50s, leading to their association with gangsters and film noir stars. Fedoras are still a popular, fashion-forward style today.
Named after a hat worn in a stage production of George du Maurier’s novel Trilby, this men’s hat looks like a fedora but has a more casual intent. Its brim is short and static - permanently sloped down - and the dip in the crown is less pronounced.
A driver cap is a flat, rounded cap with a short brim at the front. First appearing in England in the 1400s, this cap became firmly rooted in English culture when, from 1571-1597, parliment decreed that all "common" men had to wear a woolen cap on Sundays and Holidays or they would have to pay a fine. Today, this cap goes by an almost limitless number of names, including golf caps, driver hats, driving caps, flat caps, scally caps, bunnets (Scotland), Dai caps (Wales), cheese-cutters (New Zealand), newsboy caps, and more depending on what part of the word you're in. Wear them out on the green, the town, and even to work.
A mariner's cap is a soft hat with a flat top and a visor brim. It first gained popularity as a practical option for sailors, fishermen, and factory workers. In the 1960's, it became popular amoung both men and women after being adopted by the Beatles and Bob Dylan. Today, it is a great casual style to wear out and about. Like Driver caps, mariner's hats go by many names including Greek fishermen hats, fiddler caps, and skipper caps.
Peaked hats are similar to mariner's hats, but they have a structured top. This style of hat is most commonly used in uniforms for police, firefighters, various military branches, and the post office.
Pith Helmets were first created from the soft material inside of Sola trees (called pith) to function as a military uniform in the British colonies on the Indian subcontient in the 1800s. Various militaries across the world use pith helmets as part of their uniforms, including the Royal Marines in the United Kingdom and the Royal Canadian Regiment. In the U.S., pith helmets are also associated with mail carriers.
You don’t need to hang a pair of binoculars around your neck to don one of these outdoor caps. Modern day safari hats developed from traditional pith helmets. Today, Safari hats usually resemble a modified fedora with a wider brim and a chin strap. They are great for outdoor adventures from camping to yard trips, and are often equipped with UPF protection.
Originating in the Australian outback, think of outback hats as Austrailian cowboy hats. This style all about functionality - expect wide brims meant to provide shade from the burning summer sun and protection from fierce winter winds. Though the name outback hat is sometimes used interchangably with safari hats, outbacks typically have a wider brim that is sometimes curled upwards. Some outback hats for men even have UPF built right in.
Panama hats are traditional straw hats from Ecuador, traditionally crafted from the leaves of the Carludovica palmata plant. They can be made in a variety of shapes, but are often the shape of fedoras or safari hats. Panama hats are lightweight and breathable; the perfect men’s hats for sunny days and tropical climates.
We’re guessing you already know this one! A baseball cap is a rounded soft cap with a hard, curved brim. You might know that the first baseball caps appeared as part of baseball uniforms, but you might not know that the earliest ball caps in 1860 were actually made of straw. Baseball caps are one of most popular hats out there, with almost everyone having a few sitting in their closet. They're the perfect casual solution for protecting your face from the sun and bad hair days.
These originated as cheap hats for cross-country drivers, with a bit of mesh aeration built-in at the sides. But today, trucker hats for men are cool street accessories that look best when not taken too seriously. Look for fun graphics and ironic logos.
In a culture that celebrates the “lawn-mowing look” - think “dad jeans” and “dad bod” - it should be no surprise that fashion snagged the hat as well. Dad hats tend to be distressed, with a ball cap brim and slightly shallower-than-normal crown.
If your head is sore from chemo or other illness - or if you just need an extra layer of warmth at night - a men's night cap is the perfect solution. Go for 100% cotton in warmer climates, and try out a fleece style during the colder months. Some styles, such as the 100% cotton sleep cap can even be pulled down over the eyes to double as a sleep mask.
Buckets hats are soft hats, often made from cotton, with downward facing brims. Bucket hats for men were originally designed to be purely functional - in the 1960s, the sloped brim protected Irish farmers and fishermen from the elements while working in fields. They quickly became popular among upper class englishmen for hunting and fishing because of their easy portability and practicality. In the 1990s, bucket hats were emblematic of hip hop culture. Today, bucket hats are worn as both stylish fashion accessories and practical caps for outdoor activities.
Boonie Hats were developed as part of U.S. (boonie or booney hats) and Austrailian (giggle hats) military uniforms. They are a type of bucket hat that feature a hanging chin strap.
Although these soft, flat hats have been around since the Bronze Age (around 5000 years ago), mass production of this style began in France and Spain in the 1800s; berets are still heavily associated with these regions. Berets are super comfortable and highly fashionable; Prince Charles and Michael B. Jordan alike have rocked them. Our men’s beret hat offers full coverage and can be worn on the street or to the studio.
Top hats have a tall, flat crown and a brim. The signature hat of both Abe Lincoln and the Monopoly Man, top hats were once the pinnacle of men's fashion for the upper crust. However, top hats became less popular after being replaced with more convenient styles. Today, you will probably only see top hats worn as costumes or part of formal uniforms.
Bowler hats have a round crown and short, upturned brim. Sometimes called derby hats, bowler hats were created in 1849 by hatters Thomas and William Bowler upon the request of Edward Coke, who wanted to replace precarious top hats with hard, low topped hats to protect gamekeepers from stray branches. Bowler hats became popular among many different groups of people, ranging from business men in London to cowboys in the American Old West.
Popularized by Edward VII, the homburg hat was born in Bad Homburg, Germany. Look for a crown with a single dent down to center, and a brim that’s bound at the edges and slightly curled inwards. Like the Bowler hat, Homburg hats were developed to be worn during hunting as a less cumbersome alternative to top hats. Today, they are typically worn to accentuate black tie attire.
Sometimes called skimmers, katie hats, can-can hats and more, boater hats are defined by an ultra-structured crown and super-flat brim, and are usually made of straw. Traditionally worn for boating and sailing, you might except to see this type of hat on an Italian gondolier, or atop the heads of singers in a barbershop quartet. These men’s dress hats add a sophisticated flare to a beach getaway or weekend barbeque.
Expect a squat crown that resemebles an English pork pie and a short brim. Porkpie hats often havea ribbon wrapped around the base of the crown as well. Buster Keaton, a 1920's actor, commonly wore porkpie hats that he made himself by modifying fedoras. In the 1930's and 40's, porkpie hats became associated with jazz and blues music, and were often worn with zoot suits. Lester Young, a famous jazz musician from 1930's-1950's, helped bring these bold men’s hat into the spotlight. Most recently, a porkpie hat was the accessory of choice for Bryan Cranston's character Walter White in the hit series Breaking Bad. Today, porkpie hats add a cool, vintage vibe to any look.
Spanish for "hat," a sombrero is a hat with a high pointed crown and an extra wide brim. This type of hat was designed to protect against harsh environments. Western hats developed from sombreros.
Cowboy hats feature a wide brim and tall crown to protect the wearer from the sun. They were most likely developed from hats worn by Mexican Vaqueros, but this style of hat has been worn by horsemen around the world for centuries. The true rogue rider knows that this style, now associated with country music and rodeos, is always in style. Pair with jeans and a rebel glow.
Imagine if a porkpie hat and western hat had a baby—you've got a gambler hat. Gambler hats have an oval crown and wide brim that’s slightly upturned at the edges. Another popular style of the Old West, this type of hat was originally adopted by wealthy landowners. Film aficionados may recognize the gambler hat as the hat worn by Rhett Butler in the 1940's film Gone with the Wind. Sport one of these and you’ll be touted in the top echelons of southern society.
Crown Shapes On Men’s Hats
While men’s hats can appear similar at first glance, one of the ways in-the-know folks differentiate between styles is by examining the crown shape. Here’s what to look for:
Where you’ll find it
From above, a diamond-shaped crown is pointier towards the front, back, and side corners.
Some western hats
An oval crown features a rounded indent at the top of the hat.
These men’s hats have a completely flat surface on the uppermost part of the crown.
Also known as open crowns, these have a smooth, 360° curve.
A central groove is the main feature of a center dent hat, sometimes dipping between 1-2 inches.
This crown type is more narrow over the forehead than at the back, and looks like a teardrop when viewed from above.