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A duckbill hat is a cloth hat with a peaked brim that is shaped rather like a duck's beak. This hat developed in design from the popular British flat cap in the nineteenth century, and it is similar to a duckbill ivy hat. The difference between the two is that duckbill ivy hats have flat brims, button snaps or running stitches at the top and generally roomy crowns. Duckbill hats, on the other hand, have bent downward and inward folded brims, and more form-fitting crowns that are stitched to the brims for a streamlined look.
Duckbill hats were once worn largely by working class men in the USA, UK and Ireland, and by upper-class men for sporting or countryside occasions. In modern times, these hats are favored as utilitarian or fashionable wear by varied social sections, including women. They may be worn in the usual way or may be worn back-to-front. There is usually a belt or strap at the back that allows for different head size adjustments.
Compared to full brim hats, duckbill hats are generally more convenient as they take up less space, especially in a crowded interior setting. With their short brims, they are also less likely to get tangled up with shrubbery, low branches and so on when worn outdoors. A duckbill hat works well as a sun protection hat, guarding the eyes and the face from the direct glare of the sun; the underside of the hat is often made of a dark material so as not to reflect the glare. The small brim also offers a good buffer against strong winds.
Duckbill hats are extremely versatile because they can be worn in all sorts of weather in different climate zones. The hat has an insulated neck flap that protects the ears and the neck from the chill in cold areas. In hot weather, this neck flap can be turned up and away. The crown may have an inside fleece lining fleece to keep the top of the head warm.
It is possible to get these hats in a variety of materials, patterns and linings. Popular materials include tweed, leather, and fleece for winter wear hats, and cotton for the summer ones. A duckbill hat is usually quite easy to maintain. It can be hand-washed and hung up with a clothespin to drip dry. It can also be machine washed, and dried in a dryer.