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Tell Me More: Boater Hats vs. Pork Pie Hats

A Look Into 2 Hat Styles with Deep Cultured Roots

Bold, classic and iconic, pork pie hats and boater hats have deep roots in American culture. 

Boater headwear is often made from high-quality flat straws braided or plaited at an angle and typically consists of a neutral color. The elliptical shape, flat brim and crown can be seen from a mile away, especially when accompanied by a thick solid or striped grosgrain ribbon. To further paint the picture, think travel bloggers and yacht-lounging fashion icons.

The pork pie, also dubbed English pastry hat, came to us from Britain around the late 19th century, but gained popularity in the 1920s after silent film star Buster Keaton sported them in several of his black and white movies. Pork pie hats are unmistakable, standing on their own with a narrow curled-up brim and slightly domed crown. The slender brim — typically one inch, like its namesake’s pinched pie crust edge — was sent mainstream by jazz musicians and, more recently, Walter White in the hit series Breaking Bad.

Boater Hats with History: A Summer Love, Then and Now

The boater hat — synonymous with basher, skimmer and sennit hats — provides a classic straw look that’s made for warm weather. These hats were initially famous among women in the 1800s, and then started taking a turn towards the male population. Once they got an entry into men’s wardrobes, the boater hat swiftly gained widespread popularity. 

In the 19th century and the early part of the 20th century, fedora-esque boater hats were regarded as an item of leisure wear for both men and women. While often worn by sailors and boaters, they quickly began showing up at more formal social events.

Today, the straw boater hat serves as formal summer wear whereby functionally it is called on for its wide-brimmed sun protection and fashionably for its elegant ability to pair well with lightweight laid-back trousers or a flowing summer dress. As an accessory with distinct style, boater hats are often worn with great pride and amusement by those that possess an air of scholastic class. The Venice Natural Straw Boater is a prime example of this type of prestige. 

The Pork Pie Hat: Underground Jazz Star to Hipster Headdress

The pork pie hat’s slightly squatty appearance with colorful and playfully embellished bands make these hats a more casual option for sporting events or jazz clubs. The style flatters any event that emanates culture, such as horse-racing, golf or art showings, and those that wear them are aware of the statement they make while doing so. With a simplistic and straightforward display of cool personality, icons such as Tom Waits and Johnny Thunders amplified the sweet zestful vibe of the pork pie hat.

The recognizable styling of the pork pie has made it a favorite of hat enthusiasts. Men's pork pie hats like the Cancun Palm Hat are big statement makers with an unmistakable shape and style. This top-seller dares to be bold on the brightest of days with edgy style that retains the lightweight, breathable and comfortable feel of a straw hat.

Another favorite is the Folsom Black Pork Pie which combines elements of style that are part pork pie fedora and part bodacious crusher. It brings its own steadfast style with a short one-inch brim and black leather with a sleek pop of white. The head-turning hat comes in moody black and midnight hues.

American Made Hats That Shape History

American Hat Makers has been proudly handcrafting hats in the U.S.A. for over 40 years. It’s your style, your way. Our trend-bending designs and dedicated craftsmanship help you express yourself, write your life script and share your fashion tale with the world. We offer superior quality and design across 6 distinct product lines, and guarantee that we have a hat for any occasion. Whether you need something functional for everyday work or are looking for that perfect fashion accessory that will wow the crowds at a red carpet event, we can help. Our custom hats are built to last and to make a striking statement.