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What is a Fedora?

A Fedora is a typical kind of hat, it is typically creased lengthwise down the crown and “pinched” near the front on both sides. The fedora hat’s brim is usually wide, approximately 2.5 inches (6.4 cm) wide, can be left “raw edged” (left as cut), finished with a sewn overwelt or underwelt, or bound with a trim-ribbon. Fedora hats are not to be confused with small brimmed hats called trilbies.

Fedoras can be made of wool, cashmere, rabbit or beaver felt. They can also be made of straw, cotton, waxed or oiled cotton, hemp, linen or leather.

The term fedora was in use as early as 1891. Its popularity soared, and eventually it eclipsed the similar-looking homburg. The word fedora comes from the title of an 1882 play by dramatist Victorien Sardou, Fédora, which was written for Sarah Bernhardt. The play was first performed in the United States in 1889. Bernhardt played Princess Fédora Romazov, the heroine of the play. During the play, Bernhardt – a noted cross-dresser – wore a center-creased, soft brimmed hat. The hat was fashionable for women, and the women’s rights movement adopted it as a symbol. After Edward, Prince of Wales started wearing them in 1924, it became popular among men for its stylishness and its ability to protect the wearer’s head from the wind and weather. Since the early part of the 20th century, many Haredi and other Orthodox Jews have made black fedoras normal to their daily wear.

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