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What is a Kettle Brim Hat?

Here's a closer look at the kettle brim hat where you can learn about its name's history, what it looks like, what it's made from, and who wears it. We've also listed down the stores where you can buy one.

A gray kettle brim hat with black ribbon.

Hats have interesting names. Many of these names are very descriptive, but some are a bit confusing. For example, it is difficult to understand why a kettle brim hat has its name as kettles do not have brims.

This article will investigate why this hat got that name and what a kettle brim hat looks like.

A kettle brim hat has a rounded crown that sits comfortably on the head. It has a medium, circular brim that is turned up evenly around the rim. The upturn can be half to one inch in width.

There may be a ribbon around the crown and decorations that sit on the junction of the crown and brim. 

Kettle brim hats have a fascinating history and have been used across the globe by many different people. They can be very functional hats or used as a fashion accessory. 

Where did the Name Kettle Brim Come from?

Back profile of knights wearing tin helmets.

In medieval Europe, a rounded helmet with a short to the medium-wide brim was popular as part of a soldier’s uniform. The helmet with its rounded crown resembled a pot and was made of metal, usually steel, iron, or tin. In medieval English, a metal cooking pot was called a kettle, which is why the helmet became known as a kettle hat.

The style and shape of these hats were copied and worn by various citizens. They were manufactured using materials other than metal as citizens did not participate in war. The design of this hat is very old, and it has been seen in various forms in many different cultures and continents.

The brims of the original helmets were straight, but as fashion developed, the brims of the hats were turned up to give them more style and charisma. The notable up-turned brim resulted in the name kettle brim hat or up-turned hat.

Breton farmers adopted this style of hat and made it from felt or straw. The hat is sometimes also called a Breton hat, but this name is not commonly used outside of France.

What Does a Kettle Brim Hat Look Like?

Sunday Afternoons Kauai Hat (Cream)

Kettle brim hats have a relatively deep rounded crown that sits fully on the head. The brim can be of varying widths, but the common feature is that the brim is circular and has an up-turned rim. The up-turn is generally a half to an inch wide and is even around the entire brim.

Some kettle brim hats have a draw-string attached to keep the hat firmly on the head. Draw-strings are found more commonly on kettle hats that are functional rather than just worn for fashion. For example, a gardening kettle brim hat may have a draw-string.  

You will be very familiar with this hat as it is commonly seen in many countries and has multiple uses.

What are Kettle Brim Hats Made from?

Kettle brim hats are made from almost as many materials as you can think of. Straw or canvas hats are most popular as practical kettle hats worn to protect the face from the sun and provide some shade for the wearer.

Kettle brim hats can also be made from felt, poly-ribbon, velvet, wool, cotton, satin, and taffeta.

Who Wears Kettle Brim Hats?

CACUSS Women's UPF 50+ Foldable Linen/Cotton Hat Big Brim with Big Bowknot and Inner Drawstring(Black)

At various stages in history, kettle brim hats have been worn by both men and women. In the agricultural era, where many people needed a hat to protect them from the sun, peasants and farmers popularly wore the kettle brim hat. These hats were usually made from durable materials and had a draw-string.

In our modern fashion, kettle brim hats are generally worn by women. These days though, boundaries between men’s and women’s fashions are blurring, and you may find some men wearing kettle brim hats.

The British Queen Elizabeth seems to have a fondness for kettle brim hats and can often be seen wearing one at official events.

When Should You Wear a Kettle Brim Hat?

Kettle brim hats can be worn on almost any occasion, depending on the fabric and decoration of the hat.  

Gardeners, tourists, and outdoors people may choose to wear a canvas, straw, or cotton kettle brim hat. These hats may be plain or have a ribbon around the crown. Straw kettle brim hats with a fabric flower attached to the ribbon around the crown are popular as beach hats.  

Kettle brim hats can also be worn to stylish occasions. The younger generation often prefers hats made from straw or poly-ribbon, and the older generation may choose felt or velvet hats. At events such as these, the hats are usually decorated to give them some extra interest and individuality.

How Should You Wear a Kettle Brim Hat?

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Older ladies or those concerned with protecting their faces from sun damage usually wear kettle brim hats straight on the head with no tilt.  A kettle brim hat that is worn tilted slightly to the back of the headframes a face charmingly. This tilt is the typical style in which the Breton farmers wore their hats.

Where Can I Buy a Kettle Brim Hat?

Kettle brim hats can be bought at most milliner shops as they are a common and popular design. Local clothing shops may stock some kettle brim hats, and they can be purchased online at the following shops:

  1. The Village Hat Shop
  2. Amazon
  3. Hats Unlimited
  4. Setar Trading

Should I Buy a Kettle Brim Hat?

Back profile of a woman wearing brim kettle hat.

If your lifestyle revolves around the outdoors, gardening or hiking, then a straw, canvas, or cotton kettle brim hat would be a good buy. If you add one of these kettle brim hats to your wardrobe, you can also wear it to the beach. Be sure to buy a kettle brim hat with a draw-string to keep your hat firmly on your head.

If you want a stylish kettle brim hat, you could choose a velvet, felt, or even tweed hat. Decorating your kettle brim hat with a ribbon, bow, and other tasteful accouterments can increase the flair of your hat.