panama hat by American Hat Maker


The rich history of hats, a fashion accessory

The use of a hat goes far long back in time. It can be challenging to determine when precisely these came into existence. However, what is easy to comprehend is that humankind invented it from animal hide and organic materials, seeking protection from the natural elements. Eventually, this piece of ensemble secured its place as an integral part of clothing for various reasons.

In earlier times, you would commonly come across straw hats with wide brims. These essentially provided safety from harsh sun rays. People made headgears by weaving straws or sewing them into a braid in circles. You can attribute the use of straws in hat making to their ready availability because of grain cultivation. Plus, ease of replacement can be another factor behind them being the popular hat material in those times.

While these mainly had to do with protection earlier, hats gained a unique status for their decorative and symbolic values. For example, freed slaves in ancient Greece and Rome wore a type of skullcap known as the Phrygian cap. Royal families, priests, and other clergies started using distinctive headwear to depict their wealth, social rankings, etc. Quite interestingly, the accessory also came in handy to end the trend of boasting of the class divide created through them.

A brief background of hats in men’s wardrobe

Top hat styles have always been famous with men. They proudly wore one to show off their status in society. When you think of this specific design, your mind can conjure up the image of the 16th president of the US - Abraham Lincoln. In almost every snap, you can see him donning one. At the time of the assassination he indeed was wearing the top hat.

These headgears have undergone height transformation. They gradually became short and conservative until turning into what you call derby or bowler hats today. These hats are functional more than anything else.

A look into the addition of women’s hats

Hats used to be the sign of wealth of a woman wearing one. Some would wear such large fashionable hats, which almost extended beyond their shoulders. Hence, it was not unusual to find a lady stagger a little while handling a huge head covering. On the other hand, another trend was bonnets. These types of hats emerged in the 19th century familiar with women across different classes. Bonnets helped protect women's profile from the unwanted male gaze. These soft material hats came with a string for tying under the chin and rarely included brims, which mainly formed fancier designs. Women adorned their heads with bonnets for shading against the sun and dust.

If you wish to experience authentic American hat fashion, you must attend the Kentucky Derby. It started back in 1875. Women still don’t go to the race without their hats as everyone considers this a social faux pas.

The origin of modern hats

You may not often think about hat history. But when you don that fedora or something else, you can wonder how these came into use and why. Here is a brief timeline of the different types of hats to give you some idea.

Flat cap

Bonnets or flat caps made their appearance in England in the 1300s. The term 'cap' was not prevalent until 1700. However, they became commonplace during the 19th and beginning 20th centuries. You can find their use in popular television series of that era.

Top hat

A replica of sugarloaf hat, top hats didn't take much time to rob tricorne hats of their popularity. Top hats marked their presence in 1793. However, they saw a peak during the late 18th and mid 20th centuries. Uncle Sam of the United States and this hat style had some intimate relation.

Pork Pie hat

Although this style emerged in 1830, it ruled the fashion scene from the 1930s to 1940s among American and British women. It continued to enjoy a special place throughout the Civil War. These flat crown hats with turned-up brims usually featured one or two feathers affixed to a bow on one side.

To explore modern designs, you can check American Hat Makers once.

Panama hat

If you relate Top Hat with Uncle Sam, you will associate Panama Hat with US President Theodore Roosevelt. This hat style made its entry in 1834. They got tremendous fame during the California Gold Rush. Some studies suggest that Straw Panama hats are so-called because they used to reach Panama first after being woven in Ecuador. From Panama, these hats used to get transported to other destinations.

Bowler hat

The hat formed an integral part of a horse rider's attire as it provided them protection against low dangling branches. Their origin goes back to 1849. However, they became popular in the 19th century when American and British wagers started donning them. Even the most celebrated comic actor, Charlie Chaplin, also wore this style.

Cowboy hat

Today's cowboy hat is no different from its origin in the 19th and 20th centuries. It entered the market during the American Civil War. At that time, people referred to it as the “Boss of the Plains." If you are curious to know how it looked in its earlier form, check the looks of actor John Wayne.


Inspired by the eponymous play, Fedora hats were among the most fashionable accessories for women and contributed to their rights movement. The same style became famous with men after Edward (Prince of Wales) donned one in 1924. This style is quite a rage even today. For new choices, you can visit our website

The symbolic essence of these headgears has melted into a more fashion and lifestyle choice. Today, both genders wear hats on different occasions as a mark of style statement and personality. Although their practical utility is still strong, you cannot wear something that doesn't align with your taste and interest. Hence, it has become quite an individualistic thing. 

Whether you want to appear attractive, at your usual best, or just at ease, you can explore different varieties on our site to dig out the ones that meet your purpose. You would get various designs in coveted materials.