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January 19, 2016

Stove-Pipe Hat: A Favorite Fashion Style for Gentlemen From the Victorian Era

Hats were crucial to a respectable appearance for both men and women. To go bareheaded was simply not proper. The top hat, for example, was standard formal wear for upper- and middle-class men in the Victorian era.

The tall silk or top hat continued for formal day and evening wear; the opera hat (gibus), covered in corded silk, also continued for visiting the theatre, as it could be folded flat and put under the seat.

A light grey top hat was worn in the late 1860s for coaching or racing parties (and is still worn for Ascot Week in England).

The bowler (Derby) named after its designer, the hatter William Bowler, worn from 1860, was a hard felt hat with a domed crown, varying in height over the years, and a narrow brim rolled up at the sides. At first, when worn with the loungejacket, it was black, but as its popularity increased it was also made in brown or fawn and teamed with the Norfolk jacket.

A similar hat with a hard square crown was worn in the 1890s and much favoured by Winston Churchill, who continued to wear it into the 20th century.


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