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What Does a Fedora Hat Look Like?

A fedora hat was a staple for men in the late nineteenth century, and today is coming back into style. This top hat style features a tall crown, teardrop-shape cap, and a moderately wide brim. The hat is versatile and can be made of felt, wool, or even straw.

A dark gray fedora with a gray band adorned by feathers.

The fedora is a style of hat that features a 4 to 4.5-inch crown, teardrop pinched cap and a moderately wide brim. Most commonly made of felt or wool, the fedora can be used for both casual and formal events. A straw fedora hat is a perfect way to blend style with function, providing shade and protection from the sun. 
A fedora is a wonderful hat that is versatile and still relevant, even 100 years after its creation. The fedora can be dressed up or dressed down and is the perfect accessory to bring your outfit together. Often confused with other similar style hats, the fedora is easy to identify once you know what to look for.

Below, let’s examine what a fedora hat looks like in more detail and compare it to other similarly styled hats. 

What Does a Fedora Hat Look Like?

This is a brown fedora with a matching brown leather satchel.

A fedora is a top hat style that was really popular through the latter end of the nineteenth century. This style of hat was versatile, practical, and necessary for a part of everyday life. The fedora could be dressed up or dressed down and was a wardrobe staple.

Today, the fedora remains popular and is coming largely back into style as part of the retro movement. While this hat was traditionally worn as a man’s hat, today, wearing a fedora is widely accepted for both men and women alike. 

The fedora is a top hat that features a crown, cap, and brim. The crown usually stands about 4 inches tall. The top of the crown shape can be several different variations, but a teardrop crown is the most common in a classic fedora.

These fashionable hats sometimes also have a pinched crown at the top. The teardrop or pinched shape creates at ridge or centerfold through the hat, making this hat appear very similar in style to other popular hats through the nineteenth and early twentieth century. 

The brim of the hat is usually not particularly wide and is only about two inches. The hat’s brim can be more significant if the hat is a Panama hat or a straw fedora. These hats are commonly used to shade the face from the sun casually, so a wider brim is essential. On a standard wool fedora, though, expect to see a slightly smaller brim. 

Traditionally, the fedora hat has a feature to snap the brim up or keep the brim exposed. While this brim style is not commonly found today, it had a function in the nineteenth century. A snap-brim was the perfect way to adjust your brim and hat to the changing weather conditions, making this hat style an all-purpose and practical accessory. 

What Materials is a Fedora Hat Made of?

A black fedora seen from various different angles.

One of the best features of the fedora is that it is incredibly practical and versatile and can be made of several different materials. Often, the material will dictate how casual or formal the hat is. Most commonly, the fedora hat is made of felt or wool.

These two materials are thick, durable, and warm. The felt hat or wool hat could be died any color and could work to coordinate with any outfit. Some fedora hats will feature a thin band of contrasting material and color around the crown or may feature a decorative pin like a feather or emblem. 

For casual hats that are meant to protect you from the sun, fedoras are often made of straw. A straw hat is lightweight and cool and will help to protect you through the summer. The perfect example of a straw fedora hat is the Panama hat, which is extremely popular today to keep yourself stylish and your face shaded from sunlight. 

Is a Fedora Hat Formal or Casual?

One of the best features of the fedora hat is the ability to dress this hat up or down depending on the hat style and situation. In some cases, a fedora hat can be highly formal. Usually, these hats are made of wool and are dark in color, with black and dark gray being the most popular. A black fedora hat is considered the most formal. Felt fedora hats can also be formal but not quite as formal as a wool fedora. 

Alternatively, wool or fur felt fedora hat in a lighter color could be considered a casual hat and perfectly acceptable for everyday wear. Lighter-colored hats are great for a hat to wear around town simply. Of course, fedora hats that are made of straw are always considered casual. 

What Hats Look Similar to a Fedora Hat?

A close look at a black bowler hat with a black band.

The fedora hat is a popular style that many people enjoy wearing. As such, several other hats similar to the fedora style came into popularity in the nineteenth and twentieth century. Some men’s hat styles similar to the fedora include:

Pork Pie Hat

A pork pie hat is a similar top hat style with a short crown and wide brim. The cap of the pork pie hat is flat compared to the teardrop shape of the fedora hat. The hat’s crown also has a thin indentation that runs along the outside perimeter of the hat. Similarly, though, the pork pie hat can be made of fur felt or wool and dressed up or dressed down. 

Homburg Fedora Hat

Although the homburg fedora hat looks similar to the fedora, the center crease along the hat’s crown is slightly different. Instead of having a teardrop shape, the Homburg hat has one even indentation or crease along the center. This dent makes the top of the hat look like a gutter, which gives the hat its nickname as a gutter hat. 

Bowler Hat

A popular hat is the bowler hat. This style is similar to the fedora and is a top hat that can be made of felt or wool. The crown of the bowler hat is just as tall as a fedora, but the cap is rounded rather than dented. There is no indentation surrounding the crown or cap of the hat.  Often, bowler hats will have very short brims compared to a fedora hat. 

Trilby Hat

Probably the most similar in style to a fedora hat is the Trilby hat. This hat was modeled after athletic wear and become incredibly popular in the early twentieth century. This hat was also a luxury and often referred to as the rich man’s hat. The most significant difference between a fedora hat and a Trilby hat is the way the hat is worn. While a fedora can be used for formal events, the Trilby hat is only worn as a casual hat. 

How Should I Wear a Fedora Hat?

A woman with long wavy hair wearing a fedora and a pink blouse.

The fedora hat is a very versatile accessory that can be worn in several ways. Consider adding a fedora hat for your next formal event. Worn in fur felt or wool, the fedora can be a formal accessory to help bring your outfit together.

Or, consider adding a casual fedora to your ensemble by introducing a hat in a fun and unique color. Still, other options exist for wearing a fedora, and this hat can be incredibly functional. A straw fedora hat is an excellent way to protect your head and face from the sun while still looking fashionable. Although this was a men’s hat originally, today, the fedora hat is perfect for both men and women. 


A straw woven fedora as seen from three angles.

The fedora is a popular hat because of its iconic style. Of course, several other hats look very similar to a classic fedora, so it is easy to get the hat confused with other popular styles. Below, let’s take a closer examination at some commonly asked questions related to the fedora hat so you can better understand how to identify and wear this popular accessory. 

Who wears a fedora hat?

Today, in modern society, just about anyone can wear a fedora hat. Although this hat was traditionally styled for men, today, it is quite acceptable for women to wear the fedora as well. The fedora is perfect for formal or casual settings and is a great way to introduce a practical, functional, yet stylish accessory into your wardrobe.  

Are fedora hats in style?

The fedora really came into popularity around the end of the 19th century. During this time, it was expected for men, in particular, always to wear a hat. Although the hat faded out of style, being replaced with more popular styles like cowboy hats or baseball caps, the fedora is coming back into style with the retro movement. Today, it is commonplace to see people wear the fedora.

When should you wear a fedora?

A fedora can be worn in just about any setting, and the versatility of this hat is what makes it so popular. The fedora can be a formal hat if worn in fur felt or wool in a dark color or worn casually if the fedora is a lighter color. Further, the fedora hat made of straw is an excellent way to keep your head and face protected from the sun while providing a lightweight and cool hat option.  

What is the difference between a Trilby hat and a fedora?

The Trilby hat and fedora are the two most commonly confused hats. These two hats are basically identical in appearance. The most significant difference between the two hats is the way the hat is worn.

A fedora hat can be used for formal or casual settings, while a Trilby hat is always used in casual settings. The Trilby hat was modeled off athletic wear, so it is never acceptable to wear a Trilby hat in a formal setting.