A straw fedora is a short-brimmed hat. The crown is flat and wide, and the brim is often pinned up on one or both sides; one car wear is pushed back on the wearer’s head.
This fedora style began as a practical item of headwear for outdoor activities such as camping and hiking in the 19th century, made of straw material, and then later cotton twill before it was substituted by an oiled paper that became popular during World War II.
It has since become conventionally associated with various stereotypes, such as preppies and gangsters, and fictional characters such as Indiana Jones, Matthew Broderick’s Ferris Bueller, and Grease’s Danny Z.
The term straw fedora is sometimes used without the hyphen. The hat usually has a grosgrain hatband, sweat shield, and brim binding of either leather or ribbon. You may provide a paper or cloth lining.
Straw fedora hat have been worn by farmers in Judea and Phoenicia for centuries but were not widely known in other parts of the world until the latter half of the 19th century.
They began to be associated with summer leisure activities in the 1900s when they were almost always made of stiffened straw.
opular among boaters, these early straw hats would typically have had an open weave for ventilation; this was later discouraged because it made them too fragile.
Later versions (those shown at right) had a solid, more durable brim and weaved bands made of silk or leather to retain their shape.
Straw Fedora hats popularity
Straw hats became fashionable worldwide in the 1950s because they were cheap and easy to produce and thus mass-produce.
They could be decorated with prints, grosgrain ribbon, or other material woven through the straw.
Many schoolboys would wear them with short trousers while playing football in class at school during summer.
The fedora was also worn by some early rock ‘n’ roll singers, such as Elvis Presley. Other famous wearers include Fred Astaire (as Tony Hunter in “Royal Wedding”) and Humphrey Bogart (in his last movie, “The Harder They Fall”). Straw hats continued to be worn as leisure and workwear for many years.
What does it symbolize?
Today, the fedora is also used to symbolize gang culture, preppie fashion, or someone who enjoys “Frontiersman” living.
It may be worn by some members of the Women’s suffrage movement. Hip-hop musicians such as Ja Rule David Cassidy, and The Libertines have worn them.
Racers often wear a lightweight fedora that shades their eyes from the sun while driving open cockpit race cars at speed on sunny days.
Google has made much use of its logo depicting a grosgrain ribbon around the brim which they call “a hat tip to our startup roots” (Ruth Kedar initially designed it, and it can also be seen as a nod to the search engine’s original logo with its many exclamation points).
Today, straw hats continue to be worn by workers in specific industries that demand protection from the sun, such as agriculture and construction.
They are manufactured in various forms and colors. Better quality hats will last for years and possess the stiffened brim and thick weaved grosgrain ribbon necessary for everyday use (notable quality brand names include Borsalino Fedora Hats, Kangol Straw Hats, Brussells Men Hassocks Petasos Hat, Fedora Boss of New York Big Size, Aussiebum Cowboy Hat ).
In addition to being used as an item of clothing, it is often put over coffins funerals.