Skip to Content

Fedora Hats Vs. Trilby Hats

Fedora hats and trilby hats have many similarities, but also vary in some of their characteristics and features. Discover the differences and similarities between Fedora hats and Trilby hats, and learn how both the Fedora and Trilby hat surpass the fashion expectations of today. Fedora Hats Vs. Trilby Hats.

A close look at a bowler hat, a fedora hat and a trilby hat.

Nothing says: “Hello Gorgeous!” like accessories—especially hats. Both men and women love shopping for hats because, no matter what, the number on the bathroom scale does not play a part in whether a hat looks cute, fashionable, or flattering—including Fedora hats and Trilby hats alike.

But what are the differences between them? What similarities do they share?

Read on and learn more about each fashion statement these dress hats make to determine if they belong in your fashion arsenal to style.

Table of Contents

Fedora Hats

A woman wearing a white suit and matching white fedora.

With a soft brim and indented crown, fedora hats have come a long way from when their name was first coined in 1891. Although there are several ways to wear a classic Fedora hat, they are typically worn with a crease down the length of the “pinched crown” on the front and back ends. Fedoras commonly have a crown that measures 4.5 inches tall with a wide brim measuring 2.5 inches wide.

Often made from wool, cashmere, or felt, Fedoras can also blend with other materials. Fedoras can also be made from straw, hemp, or leather.

Fedoras are a unisex accessory, can complement the attire and benefit the wardrobes of both men and women alike.

Humphrey Bogart famously wore a men’s Fedora hat in the popular, “Here’s looking at you, kid” scene from the 1941 film noir classic, Casablanca. Other Fedora hat-wearing notables include Edward G. Robinson, Al Capone, Benjamin “Bugsy” Siegel, and George Raft.

Popular between the 1920s and 1950s, the Fedora hat often coincided with a gangster or two during America’s Prohibition era. From tough guys to jazz and from alcohol to tobacco, the Fedora hat has witnessed American history and has evolved as a fashion trend over the decades as only a few other fashion pieces have.

Trilby Hats

A man wearing a gray shirt and brown trilby hat.

Frequently seen at the horse races and known as the “brown trilby” in Britain, the trilby hat is a narrow-brimmed hat that people once considered the “rich man’s favorite.” Unlike the leveled, wide brim Fedora, the Trilby has a shorter brim that angles down in the front, slightly turns up in the back, and has a shorter crown.

After the hat first came to prominence in a stage play of George du Maurier’s 1894 novel Trilby, the fashion accessory became known as the Trilby hat, taking after characteristics of the Tyrolean hat.

Although currently made from tweed, straw, heavy cotton, wool, or a blending of varied materials, companies once used rabbit hair felt to manufacture Trilby hats.

At first, geared primarily towards men at its peak in the 1960s, Trilby hats increased in popularity after a decline in the 1970s by jumping on the 1980s “retro fashion” bandwagon.

Frank Sinatra made the Trilby hat a personal trademark—one signature Trilby design even bears his name. Two inspectors also wore a Trilby hat: the animated cartoon character, Inspector Gadget, as well as Inspector Clouseau (played by Peter Sellers) in Blake Edward’s second Pink Panther film, A Shot in the Dark made in 1964.

Similarities and Differences: Fedora Hats Vs. Trilby Hats

A close look at a man holding a trilby hat.

While both stylish and classic, fedora hats and trilby hats have a very similar structure, prevalent in the center-creased crown of both designs. Each hat has a wider front brim, and both have similar stories of origin.

However, despite their similarities, each hat is distinctly different from the other as well.

To start, trilby hats have a more compact design while fedoras have a more open one. Fedoras have deep pinch creases at each end while trilbies have small pinch creases. Trilbies have a more pointed crown than fedoras do.

Fedora hats are often worn while dressed up, while trilby hats are more casually worn.

Pros and Cons of Fedoras and Trilbies

A man wearing a dark suit with a trilby hat.

While the pros and cons of fashion, including accessories, remain mostly subjective, fedora hats and trilby hats do have their advantages and disadvantages.

Fedora Hats

Fedora hats are gender-neutral, thereby making them a unisex accessory. They are classy for anyone at any age, regardless of the many materials and styles they come in. They are perfect for dressing up or dressing down.

On the other hand, fedora hats have been reclaimed by the “hipster” populace and are often overworn. They have a tendency to be too flashy and mysterious in settings and at events where wearing them is inappropriate.

Trilby Hats

Trilby hats have an adjustable and narrow brim, while simultaneously being both stylish and sophisticated.

However, with trilby hats, there is no protection from the sun while wearing them. Someone may also run the risk of looking odd as people tend to wear the wrong hat size. Trilby hats also have a history of their identity being mistaken for a different kind of hat and causing fashion faux pax.