Fedora vs Trilby


Initially I came today to write a post about hats, inspired by yesterday's submission by Samantha.  Little did I know that a little research was going to lead me to having 500 browser tabs open with an on-going debate about trilbies vs. fedoras.  It would seem that some call fedoras trilbies, and trilbies fedoras.  Some use either word as a catch-all for all pinched-front hats.

I'm going to go with what Village Hats has to say on the matter, which is that trilbies are the small-brimmed ones, usually with the brim curved in the back, and fedoras are the longer-brimmed ones (officially making Samantha's hat a trilby.)  Together, we can bring the world together and stop arguing about it!

Now on to the storytelling:


Contrary to popular belief, the fedora didn't really start out as a men's hat.  In fact, it was even named after the female character it was originally worn by.  In the late 19th century, Sarah Bernhardt played the title role in Fédora, in which she wore the hat in question.  After that, the fedora became a popular ladies' accessory for some 10-20 more years.

You probably know what happened after that.  It soon became popular as a men's hat, increasing in popularity in the 1920s and becoming the most popular hat until the mid-60s.  And in the last couple of years, both the fedora and the trilby have become more popular with both men and women.

Humphrey Bogart in Casablanca 


Johnny Depp in a fedora



Much like the fedora, the trilby was also named after a play: Trilby, based on George du Maurier's novel of the same name.  In the first production of the play a trilby hat was worn, and the trilby hat was born! (Fun fact: The title character of Trilby is also a woman.)  The trilby has a similar history as the fedora (perhaps because their names have been interchanged so much it's hard to know for certain), reaching its peak popularity between the 20s and 60s.

Brad Pitt in a Trilby Hat