Tag Archives: Mens hats

Vintage Classic hats for men

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Vintage classics, the gentleman’s hat.

Historically, hats were always an essential element of any man’s wardrobe. Worn to denote occupation, worn to denote class, to keep the elements at bay, to protect the wearer from missiles and blows, and to make a statement about culture, taste and style….hats were worn with pride and with dignity. In the liberal 1960s and 70s, men’s wear in general became more casual and individualised, and the classic hats of former eras fell from grace, or were worn for more limited occasions as a part of formal dress.
With the renewed interest in styles of the past, lovers of vintage, watchers of costume dramas etc., have discovered a new love of classic hats, and their many forms. A man can create a particular vintage look more effectively by including a hat in his ensemble. There are many styles to choose from, but I am particularly fond of those classic styles that can be worn by Everyman, looking stylish without looking as if in fancy dress!

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The British Bowler.
I love the bowler hat, as it is quintessentially British in origin and in nature. I always associate the bowler hat with suave Patrick MacNee…Steed in The Avengers (1960s). He was the epitome of London cool sophistication in his sharp suit, with rolled umbrella and bowler hat. The bowler is a classic, created by the eponymous Bowler Brothers, William and Thomas. They were commissioned by the 19th century hat retailer Lock & Co. To create a sturdy low crowned hat for their aristocratic client Mr.Edward Coke. This was in the mid 1800s, and for the next 100 years it was a popular style with city gents and politicians. In general, the bowler hat is no longer worn by the man in the street but is still a popular choice for high society occasions. For an authentic look, the bowler should be worn with a classic suit or with a well cut overcoat, smart shoes and gloves.

The Trilby and the Fedora
These classic styles are similar, and are perhaps the most commonly worn and popular of hats, particularly in the first half of the 20th century. They were both invented in the early 1890s.
Generally made from wool felt, the Trilby has a narrow brim and an indented crown, and is usually tightly turned up at the back ( and less so at the sides). The Fedora has a wider brim, and also has an indented or pinched crown. Both usually have a hat band, often of ribbon, and may either be stiffened or soft. Right up to the 1960s these were everyman’s hats, but the Fedora in particular is associated with glamour….often worn by film stars of the era….and by gangsters!
The Trilby and the Fedora are having a revival, and in my shop there is always a lot of interest in both styles. For a touch of glamour, 1930s to 1960s style…..wear with a classic trench coat ( incidentally, it’s a style that looks great on men and equally good on women!)

The Panama and the Boater
The Panama hat and the Boater are both men’s lightweight Summer hats, originating in the 1800s. The Boater is a flat crowned, stiff brimmed straw hat, with a ribbon band, often worn by tradesmen, barbers shop quartets, and particularly by butchers. It is also the classic hat for wearing when messing about on the river…..punting or rowing. Wear it with a good striped blazer and white bags for an authentic vintage look.
The Panama hat is finely woven from palm fronds and is as flexible as the Boater is rigid. The Panama usually has a pleated or dimpled crown and a ribbon band. It is an elegant hat popularised in the movies and beloved of both screen stars and public notables. Wear it best with a lightweight linen suit.

Of course, there are many other styles of classic hats to explore and enjoy, and it’s good to see men using these vintage styles to add a touch of individualism to their outfits.
N.B. The archive Photographs of Patrick MacNee and of Maurice Chevalier are not my ©

The stylish man….

https://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/coolclobber

Coolclobber shop has a men’s department! Well, it has several sections devoted to men’s vintage clothing and accessories. Traditional men’s dressing gowns and pyjamas are always popular, as are hats and wallets. And, for the discerning traveller….what better than a shaving/grooming kit all zipped up in a leather case!

I always have favourite items. At the moment, one of my favourites is an immaculate silk lined British Bowler hat. Think Steed in the Avengers and there you have it….animal magnetism and elegance under one hat!

Featured here…..gorgeous brown leather wallet (un-used) with pre-decimal markings. Tootal 50s/60s Tricel dressing gown, traditional Paisley cotton pyjamas, neat and compact shaving/grooming kit in amazing condition….and hats…..Harris tweed countrymans hat, Jackaru black leather bushmans hat, Kangol street style black felt cap, beautiful British Bowler, traditional cloth cap……..

Vintage menswear and accessories
Vintage for the elegant gent.
A hat for every occasion

What is Tricel?

The British company Courtaulds, developed Tricel in the 1950s. A cellulose acetate spun fibre, it was a popular substitute for silk.  Tricel is a trademarked name owned by Courtaulds and British Celanese. Among its many qualities, it was easy to wash, retained its shape and retained its colour.  Acetate fibres are still used in garment construction, mainly for clothes linings. Tricel itself was superseded in the 1960s by Polyester, which has numerous extra properties and  can be crease resistant. The Tricel dressing gown by Tootal, shown above, is a great example . The colours have not faded and the fabric feels and handles like Medium weight silk.

What is felt?

Felt is a non-woven fabric created by wetting and aggitating natural fibres, like wool or fur, until they merge together, forming a mat.  Felt is a popular fabric for use by hatters and milliners as it can be cut without fraying, and can be steamed and shaped over blocks to form permanent shapes. Felt can be made in various thicknesses and densities, and left soft or treated to become stiff.  The classic British Bowler and the Kangol street cap are great examples of men’s felt hats.

What’s so special about Harris Tweed?

Every length of Harris Tweed, every garment made from Harris Tweed, has its origins in the Outer Hebrides . Harris Tweed is made from pure virgin wool, spun and dyed in the Outer Hebrides and woven by individual weavers , often crofters who live off the land and weave at home.  Harris Tweed is protected by its own Act of Parliament, and always carries the Orb logo that distinguishes it as unique to the Outer Hebrides. Weavers have developed their own colour blends and the fabric is much sought after for both traditional suiting and by contemporary designers.  Harris Tweed is special . It is hand woven by individual artisans. It is only produced in one place and is both beautiful and hardwearing.

If you find a Harris Tweed jacket or hat….treasure it!

Pre-decimal markings?

The first decimal coins were introduced to the British population in 1968. The five new pence and ten new pence coins, the equivalent of    a shilling and a florin, were used alongside the old coins, as the old coins were phased out. Other coins followed, and in February 1971 Britain was fully decimal.  In the old coinage there were twelve pence to a shilling and twenty shillings to a pound.  Old money was £sd, £ or pound after a pound weight of silver, s or shilling and d for pence, after the Roman coin the denarius. If you hunt, you can still find items like the 60s vintage leather wallet shown above, marked with pre-decimal markings.