Like hairstyles, women’s hat styles are always changing. In the 1920s, turbans and musketeer hats were popular. Today, fedoras and cowboy hats are more common. No matter the decade, the types of hats for women generally stay the same. It’s which ones are stylish that changes.
These days, women’s hat styles run the gamut from knit beanies to floppy sun hats to straw boater hats. As gender identification becomes less binary, modern women wear a wider assortment of hat styles and shapes than ever before.
Here’s your scannable, comprehensive guide to Women’s Western Hat Styles over the ages.
Women's Western Hat Styles
These are the two main hat shapes that women in western countries tend to wear, and some notes on how they wear them.
Women's Cowboy Hats
A cowboy hat has a high crown and a wide, upturned brim on either side. Cowboy hats are unisex, but bright colors with decorative hatbands, bows and ribbons are typically more popular among females. The front brim of a lady’s cowboy hat is narrower than the back, and they are made of leather, straw, and felt.
How to Wear a Women's Fedora Hat
The fedora is an incredibly versatile lady’s hat style. You can wear one over unwashed hair with jeans to the farmer’s market. Alternatively, you can wear it with a pinstripe pantsuit on date night, or walking the red carpet into a benefit or ball. Here are the different factors to consider when styling a fedora.
- Brim - Some versions can have a floppy brim, while others are stiffer. A stiff brim works well worn halo style, while you can snap down a flexible brim over your eye line. Fedora brims are typically at least three inches wide.
- Hairstyle - Fedoras work well with loose hair handing, or in a low bun just below the brim line. Fedoras have at least a 4.5-inch crown, so they make you look taller, especially in heels.
- Color - Traditional fedoras are black, gray, brown, or white. You can add some flair by choosing a unique color like purple or red. Lately, fedoras with bright-colored edge trim and red under brims have become quite popular. More on this later.
- Tilt - The classic look is with the fedora centered on the head. However, you can go for more of a “Casablanca” style and tilt the tip to one side.
Women's Straw Hats
Straw Panama Hats for Women
When considering the Panama hat vs fedoras, they are actually very similar, except that Panama hats are made of straw from the Jipijapa plant. Most Panama hats are natural straw color, but you can find them in white, brown, black options, too.
The trilby hat is like a smaller version of a fedora with a narrower, fixed brim. Trilby brims are less than two inches wide. So a trilby is more of a fashion accessory because it doesn’t protect you from the sun or rain. Women’s trilby hats often have bows and decorative hatbands. Trilbies may be made of straw and felt, but we make a leather trilby as well.
Floppy Hats for Women
Floppy Sun Hats for the Beach
Another term for this hat is the harvest hat or lifeguard hat, which is designed to protect your face from the sun. Typically, a floppy sun hat will cover the entire head and some of the shoulders. Brim widths are often wider than four inches, and these hats are made from straw with beaded hatbands.
Floppy Fedora Hat Made Out of Felt
Traditional fedoras have a two to three-inch brim. A floppy fedora hat will be on the wider end of the spectrum, but the brim won’t be as stiff.
Floppy Winter Hats
Winter hats are often made of felt or wool to help keep the head warm. Floppy winter hats may also have an adjustable brim so that they curve up or down in the front and back.
Bucket Hats for Women
Designer Bucket Hats
The grandchild of the cloche, bucket hats fit snug on the head with a down-turned flexible brim. Buckets are the rage these days. Gucci, Fendi, Kate Spade, Prada, Dior, and Burberry all make bucket hats. Sometimes, the hat will simply have the designer’s logo on it. Other times, the hat will have a unique print like the Coach signature handbags. These bags are easily identified by the traditional “C” logo pattern, or the popular Gucci print pattern with interlocking “Gs.”
Crochet Bucket Hats
Bucket hats are relatively easy to crochet, thanks to their simplistic design. The weave can be tight or loose, and hatmakers may incorporate different colors of yarn. Crochet is informal and works well for a garden party or a walk in Central Park.
Fur Bucket Hats
These hats use real or fake fur, and work well in winter because they keep you warm. These hats are often black or brown, but you can find other colors or designs, such as a leopard print version.
Red Brim Hats
Hats With Red Under Brim
Fedoras with red under the brim are quite popular these days. The crown and top of the brim is black, brown, white, and the bottom of the brim is bright red.
Hat With Red Brim
Just because a hat has a red brim doesn’t mean the rest of the hat has to be red. Our red-brimmed hat styles come with leather crows, which have become quite popular.
Hats with Bright-Colored Edge Trim Ribbon Sewn around the Brim
One of the easiest ways to add color to a hat is to add a bright ribbon edge trim around the brim. And this hat style has become quite popular as well. Hats with bright edge trim are available in the following shapes:
Cute Baseball Hats
Bling Baseball Hats
A bling baseball hat is decorated with flashy custom jewelry and rhinestones. These are often made from metallic surface fabric as well.
Pink Baseball Hats
These baseball hats can either be plain pink, or they might represent a specific sports team. Many teams offer pink versions of their hats for women.
Trendy Baseball Hats
“Trendy” can mean different things to different people. In some cases, trendy might mean a designer logo on a hat. In other instances, baseball hats can be made of unique materials, like denim, straw, or felt. We even make a leather bucket hat that’s one of our best-sellers.
British-Style Women's Hats
These hats often use roses or other flowers as an adornment. Many Victorian hats are smaller than the head, but some models may have a wide brim.
Pork Pie Hats
A pork pie has a relatively short (3.5 inches), circular crown with a telescopic crease. The hat also has a narrow, upturned brim of up to two inches. Pork pie hats became popular in England in the mid-19th century. The crown is trimmed with a hatband that may have a plume of exotic feathers on the right-hand side.
Australian Outback Hats
This hat is designed to protect you from the harsh elements in the bush. Outback hats have a wide brim (3+ inches) and can be made of felt, cotton, or leather. A classic military issue outback has one side pinned up and the brim curves down in the front and back.
Women's Russian-Style Fur Hat
This fur hat has two ear flaps that can attach to the top or tie under the chin. This hat, sometimes called a trapper, doesn’t have a brim or tall crown. The Shapka Ushanka, known as a trapper hat in the West, was originally made to keep Russian troops warm in the winter.
This style of hat may or may not have ear flaps. It also has a thick fur cuff on the bottom and a tall crown. Women’s Cossack hats have a broach or something similar to accentuate the fur. Some models may also have colored fur.
This hat was made famous by Sherlock Holmes. It has two brims - one in the front and one in the back. Like the Shapka Ushanka, the deerstalker hat also has two ear flaps that tie to the top or under the chin. But, unlike the Shapka Ushanka, deerstalker hats are made from striped or herringbone wool, instead of fur. Deerstalkers have been recently seen at Fashion Week on the runways of major fashion houses.
1940's Women's Hat Styles
Jackie Onassis made this hat famous. It is a circular hat with no brim that sits on top of the head. Pillbox hats don’t cover the whole head, so wearers can tilt them to one side, like a fascinator. This low-profile hat is often less than two inches tall.
This hat is a French icon, with a flat crown that can be worn tiled to one side. A Parisian beret usually has a small stalk at the top and doesn’t have a brim.
The turban is a form-fitting hat made of cloth. You can either tie a turban yourself or get a pre-tied model. Most turbans are plain, but some may have accessories like a flower, pin, or feather sticking out.
Small Hats With Veils
One example of a small hat with a veil is the fascinator. The hat itself is small and often doesn’t have a brim, so they are purely decorative and popular at houses of worship. The veil can cover the face or be held up to make it more accommodating. Some models may have flowers or feathers sticking out.
1930's Women's Hat Styles
The name cloche is French for “bell,” thanks to its curved shape. Cloche hats are worn close to the head with a short brim. The brim turns down on one side and curves up on the other. These hats often have a bow or flower attached to a hatband.
This hat was made by famed hat-maker Elsa Schiaparelli. The “mad cap” was made of felt and could be shaped however the wearer wanted it. This cap doesn’t have a brim and molds to the head.
1920's Women's Hat Styles
Women's Top Hat
This iconic hat style has a tall crown (usually five inches or more), short brim (around two inches or fewer), and a hatband. The top is flat, and the front and rear brims are often longer and curved down while the sides are curved up.
Wide hats were pretty popular at the turn of the century, with many of them adorned with feathers or flowers. These hats often sat at the back of the head, creating a halo effect with the brim. The front could turn up or be turned down. Another term for this style was the picture hat.
Sailor Brim Straw Hat
Sailor or boater hats also became popular, particularly with a long ribbon at the back that dangled off the brim. Sailor hats are often made of straw, making them lightweight and breathable. Boaters have a low-profile crown (around three inches) and a two-inch circular brim.
Musketeer Hat With Feathers
In 1921, the film The Three Musketeers came out, so women started wearing hats that emulated the style of the movie. This hat has a front, upturned brim that resembles a bicorn or tricorn hat. Women often adorned their hats with feathers in the front or on one side.
Women’s hats have transformed a lot over time, and women continue to push the boundaries of fashion and practicality. This guide to women’s hat styles illustrates how designers have adapted hat styles to the times. We've also seen how women have worn different hat styles to illustrate their personalities.