A hat is a head covering which is worn for various reasons, including protection against weather conditions, ceremonial reasons such as university graduation, religious reasons, safety, or as a fashion accessory. In the past, hats were an indicator of social status. In the military, hats may denote nationality, branch of service, rank or regiment. Police typically wear distinctive hats such as peaked caps or brimmed hats, such as those worn by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. Some hats have a protective function. As examples, the hard hat protects construction workers' heads from injury by falling objects and a British police Custodian helmet protects the officer's head, a sun hat shades the face and shoulders from the sun, a cowboy hat protects against sun and rain and an ushanka fur hat with fold-down earflaps keeps the head and ears warm. Some hats are worn for ceremonial purposes, such as the mortarboard, which is worn (or carried) during university graduation ceremonies. Some hats are worn by members of a certain profession, such as the Toque worn by chefs. Some hats have religious functions, such as the mitres worn by Bishops and the turban worn by Sikhs.
While there are not many official records of hats before 3,000 BC, they probably were commonplace before that.
The 27-30,000 year old Venus of Willendorf figurine may depict a woman wearing a woven hat. One of the earliest known confirmed hats was worn by a bronze age man (nicknamed Ötzi) whose body (including his hat) was found frozen in a mountain between Austria and Italy, where he'd been since around 3250 BC. He was found wearing a bearskin cap with a chin strap, made of several hides stitched together, essentially resembling a Russian fur hat without the flaps.
One of the first pictorial depictions of a hat appears in a tomb painting from Thebes, Egypt, which shows a man wearing a conical straw hat, dated to around 3200 BC. Hats were commonly worn in ancient Egypt. Many upper-class Egyptians shaved their heads, then covered it in a headdress intended to help them keep cool. Ancient Mesopotamians often wore conical hats or ones shaped somewhat like an inverted vase.
Other early hats include the Pileus, a simple skull-like cap; the Phrygian cap, worn by freed slaves in Greece and Rome (which became iconic in America during the Revolutionary War and the French Revolution, as a symbol of the struggle for liberty against the Monarchy); and the Greek petasos, the first known hat with a brim. Women wore veils, kerchiefs, hoods, caps and wimples.
Like Ötzi, the Tollund Man was preserved to the present day with a hat on, probably having died around 400 BC in a Danish bog, which mummified him. He wore a pointed cap made of sheepskin and wool, fastened under the chin by a hide thong.
In the Middle Ages, hats were a marker of social status and used to single out certain groups.
The 1215 Fourth Council of the Lateran required that all Jews identify themselves by wearing the Judenhat ("Jewish hat"), marking them as targets for anti-Semitism. The hats were usually yellow and were either pointed or square.
In the Middle Ages, hats for women ranged from simple scarves to elaborate hennin, and denoted social status. Structured hats for women similar to those of male courtiers began to be worn in the late 16th century. The term 'milliner' comes from the Italian city of Milan, where the best quality hats were made in the 18th century. Millinery was traditionally a woman's occupation, with the milliner not only creating hats and bonnets but also choosing lace, trimmings and accessories to complete an outfit.
In the first half of the 19th century, women wore bonnets that gradually became larger, decorated with ribbons, flowers, feathers, and gauze trims. By the end of the century, many other styles were introduced, among them hats with wide brims and flat crowns, the flower pot and the toque. By the middle of the 1920s, when women began to cut their hair short, they chose hats that hugged the head like a helmet.
Extravagant hats were popular in the 1980s, and in the early 21st century, flamboyant hats made a comeback, with a new wave of competitive young milliners designing creations that include turban caps, trompe-l'oeil-effect felt hats and tall headpieces made of human hair. Some new hat collections have been described as "wearable sculpture." Many pop stars, among them Lady Gaga, have commissioned hats as publicity stunts.
One of the most famous London hatters is James Lock & Co. of St James's Street. The shop claims to be the oldest operating hat shop in the world. Another was Sharp & Davis of 6 Fish Street Hill. In the late 20th century, museums credited London-based David Shilling with reinventing hats worldwide. Notable Belgian hat designers are Elvis Pompilio and Fabienne Delvigne (Royal warrant of appointment holder), whose hats are worn by European royals. Philip Treacy OBE is an award-winning Irish milliner whose hats have been commissioned by top designers and worn at royal weddings. In North America, the well-known cowboy-hat manufacturer Stetson made the headgear for the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and the Texas Rangers. John Cavanagh was one of the notable American hatters. Italian hat maker Borsalino has covered the heads of Hollywood stars and the world's rich and famous.
This is a short list of some common and iconic examples of hats.
There is a longer version at List of hat styles.
|A hard men's cap, similar to the flat cap, but distinguished by its hardness and rounded shape.|
|Traditional Scottish bonnet or cap worn with ScottishHighland dress.|
|A type of soft, light cotton cap with a rounded crown and a stiff, frontward-projecting brim.|
|A brimless cap, with or without a smallvisor, once popular among school boys.Sometimes includes a propeller.Note:In New Zealand, Australia, the United States and the United Kingdom, "beanie" also or otherwise refers to thetuque.|
|The tall, furry hat of theBrigade of Guards'full-dressuniform, originally designed to protect them against sword-cuts, etc. Commonly seen atBuckingham PalaceinLondon, England.Sometimes mistakenly identified as abusby.|
|A soft round cap, usually of woollen felt, with a bulging flat crown and tight-fitting brimless headband.Worn by both men and women and traditionally associated withBasque people, France, and the military.Often part of [European?] schoolgirls' uniform during the 1920s, '30s and '40s.|
|A broad-brimmed felt hat with brim folded up and pinned front and back to create a long-horned shape.Also known as acocked hat.Worn by European military officers in the 1790s and, as illustrated, commonly associated withNapoleon.|
|A hard felt hat with a rounded crown created in 1850 by Lock's ofSt James's, thehattersto Thomas Coke, 2ndEarl of Leicester, for his servants.More commonly known as a Derby in the United States.|
|Peruvianor Bolivianhat with ear-flaps made fromvicuña, alpaca,llamaor sheep's wool.|
|Abell-shaped ladies' hat that was popular during theRoaring Twenties.|
|A type of soft cap traditionally worn bycricketplayers.|
|A traditional flat-brimmed and flat-topped hat originating fromCórdoba, Spain, associated withflamenco dancing and musicand popularized by characters such asZorro.|
|Aconicalstraw hat associated with East and Southeast Asia.Sometimes known as a "coolie hat", although the term "coolie" may be interpreted as derogatory.|
|A hat, fashioned from the skin and fur of araccoon, that became associated with Canadian andAmerican frontiersmenof the 18th and 19th centuries.|
|Ahelmettraditionally worn byBritish policeconstableswhile on foot patrol.|
|A warm, close-fittingtweedcap, with brims front and behind and ear-flaps that can be tied together either over the crown or under the chin.Originally designed for use whilehunting intheclimate ofScotland.Worn by –and so closely associated with – the characterSherlock Holmes.|
|A soft felt hat with a medium brim and lengthwise crease in the crown.|
|Red felt hat in the shape of a truncated cone, common to Arab-speaking countries.|
|A conical plant fiber hat covered in leather both at the brim and top, worn by men of the Fulani people in West Africa.|
|Three piece ensemble consisting of a Thagiyah skull cap, Gutrah scarf, and Ogal black band.Gutrahs are plain white or checkered, denoting ethnic or national identities..|
|A rounded rigid helmet with a small brim predominantly used in workplace environments, such as construction sites, to protect the head from injury by falling objects, debris and bad weather.|
|A hemispherical cap worn by Jews to fulfill the customary requirement held by halachic authorities that the head be covered at all times.|
|A brimless, short, rounded cap worn by Africans and people throughout the African diaspora.|
|Distinctive hat worn by bishops in theRoman Catholic Church, Eastern Orthodox Church, and theAnglican Communion.|
|A crocheted hat worn bybullfighters.|
|Straw hat made inEcuador.|
|A soft conical cap pulled forward.In sculpture, paintings and caricatures it represents freedom and the pursuit of liberty.The popular cartoon charactersThe Smurfswear white Phrygian caps.|
|A small hat with straight, upright sides, a flatcrown, and no brim.|
|A lightweight rigid cloth-covered helmet made of cork or pith, with brims front and back.Worn by Europeans in tropical colonies in the 1800s.|
|A tall, round, usually crocheted and brightly colored, cap worn byRastafariansand others with dreadlocks to tuck their locks away.|
|A floppy pointed red hat trimmed in white fur traditionally associated withChristmas.|
|A Mexican hat with a conical crown and a very wide, saucer-shaped brim, highly embroidered made of plush felt.|
|A traditional flat, roundScottishcap usually worn by men (in the British military sometimes abbreviated ToS).|
|Also known as abeaver hat, a magician's hat, or, in the case of the tallest examples, a stovepipe hat.A tall, flat-crowned, cylindrical hat worn by men in the 19th and early 20th centuries, now worn only with morning dress or evening dress.Cartoon charactersUncle SamandMr. Monopolyare often depicted wearing such hats.Once made from felted beaver fur.|
|(informally, "chef's hat") A tall, pleated, brimless, cylindrical hat traditionally worn by chefs.|
|A soft hat with a low crown and broad brim, pinned up on either side of the head and at the back, producing a triangular shape.Worn by Europeans in the 18th century.Larger, taller, and heavily ornamented brims were present in France and thePapal States.|
|In Canada, a knitted hat, worn in winter, usually made from wool or acrylic.Also known as a ski cap, knit hat, knit cap, sock cap, stocking cap, toboggan, watch cap, or goobalini.In New Zealand, Australia, the United States and the United Kingdom, the term "beanie" is applied to this cap.|
|A headdress consisting of a scarf-like single piece of cloth wound around either the head itself or an inner hat.|
|A Russian fur hat with fold-down ear-flaps.|
|Skullcap worn by clerics typically in Roman Catholicism.|
Hat sizes are determined by measuring the circumference of a person's head about 1 centimetre (1⁄2 in) above the ears. Inches or centimeters may be used depending on the manufacturer. Felt hats can be stretched for a custom fit. Some hats, like hard hats and baseball caps, are adjustable. Cheaper hats come in "standard sizes", such as small, medium, large, extra large: the mapping of measured size to the various "standard sizes" varies from maker to maker and style to style, as can be seen by studying various catalogues, such as Hammacher Schlemmer.
|size||Youth S/M||Youth L/XL||XXS||XS||S||M||L||XL||XXL||XXXL|
|Circumference in cm||34||43||47||48||49||50||51–52||53–54||55–56||57–58||59–60||61–62||63–64||65–66|
|Circumference in inches||13⅜||17||18½||18¾||19¼||19¾||20–20½||20–21¼||21–22||22–22½⅞||23–23½⅝||24–24⅜||24¾–25¼||25–26|
|UK hat size||5||5¾||6||6||6–6¼||6–6½||6–6¾||7–7⅛||7–7¼||7–7½||7–7¾||8–8⅛|
|US hat size||5⅞||6||6⅛||6¼||6–6½||6⅝- 6¾||6–7||7–7¼||7–7½||7–7¾||7–8||8–8¼|
|French hat size||0||½||1||1½||2–2½||3–3½||4–4½||5–5½||6–6½||7–7½||8–8½||9–9½|
List of headgear
List of hat styles
List of outerwear