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What Are the Different Types of Men's Hats?

Lumara Lee
Lumara Lee

Styles of men’s hats have changed through the centuries. The plumed hats and tricorns of yesteryear have been replaced by baseball caps, cowboy hats, and fedoras. Berets and newsboy caps are some other popular types of contemporary men’s hats.

The forerunner of the baseball cap appeared in the 1860s as part of a baseball team’s uniform. These earlier men’s hats were limp, while the modern version has a stiff brim in the front that extends several inches to keep the sun out of the wearer’s eyes. This brim is attached to a round cap that often has either elastic or an adjustment band in the back so that the hat can be fitted to any size head. Contemporary baseball caps commonly feature a company name or logo and are popular promotional items for corporate advertising and political campaigns.

Baseball caps have long bills to the front.
Baseball caps have long bills to the front.

Cowboy hats have a wide brim all the way around to keep the sun off the face and neck. They have a high, round crown and are commonly made of felt, although leather and straw versions are available. These hats come in different sizes, and there is usually a band inside the crown to help provide a snug fit. Cowboy hats are popular headgear in the western United States and among people who work with livestock and horses. They are also considered fashionable by those who enjoy the country and western look.

A cowboy hat.
A cowboy hat.

Fedoras appeared at the end of the 19th century. These men’s hats have a brim that is generally at least 2 inches (5 centimeters) wide and encircles a creased top that is often pinched in the front. Although it has remained in style since it first appeared, the fedora experienced a resurgence toward the end of the 20th century when the popular Indiana Jones series of films featured a heroic character who constantly sported a fedora. These men's hats can be found in many colors, but neutrals like brown, gray, and black are the most common.

Top hats were once a required part of formalwear.
Top hats were once a required part of formalwear.

The beret is a round hat without a brim. It has commonly been used as a part of a military uniform in various countries. Berets are made of various materials, with felt, wool, and knits the most common. Berets are often worn by those who want to sport an artistic, Bohemian style.

Another popular fashion in men’s hats is the newsboy cap. Also known as a fisherman’s cap, the newsboy resembles a beret, but has a short, stiff brim in the front. This casual style is still associated with newsboys, and has become popular with professional golfers.

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Discussion Comments


As far back as the Middle Ages, and maybe even before then, hats were worn in some societies as a means of distinguishing social and financial status. Specific hats were worn by people depending on whether they belonged to the lower class, middle class or upper class of citizens.

In some cases, people's choices of which hats to wear were dictated by the jobs they performed. For example, farmers might have chosen to wear a particular type of hat while city workers might have chosen another type of hat because that particular style of hat was more convenient or beneficial to their jobs.


More people, men and women both, are wearing baseball caps today than ever before it appears to me. While these hats are trendy, I would like to remind everyone that when you are spending a lot of time in the sun during those warm weather months, a hat with a full brim that shades more of the head and face is actually a better choice than the baseball cap.

A hat is a good way of protecting its wearer from harmful sun rays that can lead to skin cancer when a person spends a lot of time in the sun. The more cover the hat provides the better.


There was a time when the fedora was as common as today's baseball cap, but as its popularity waned, there was man who kept it in the spotlight.

Any American Football fan who followed the National Football League during the sixties, seventies and eighties knows about the famous fedoras worn by Dallas Cowboys' coach Tom Landry. He kept this style of hat in the spotlight long after most men stopped wearing them.

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    • Baseball caps have long bills to the front.
      By: cfarmer
      Baseball caps have long bills to the front.
    • A cowboy hat.
      By: Michael Flippo
      A cowboy hat.
    • Top hats were once a required part of formalwear.
      By: Tiler84
      Top hats were once a required part of formalwear.
    • Panama hats are sold in tropical areas.
      By: Samuele Gallini
      Panama hats are sold in tropical areas.
    • Many people pair a Western belt buckle with a Stetson hat.
      By: Nejron Photo
      Many people pair a Western belt buckle with a Stetson hat.