1930s Mens Hat Fashion

The golden age of Hollywood immortalized the polished good looks of a well dressed man. The hat was not just an accessory it made the man who he was. Gangster or hero, ladies man or comedian 1930s men’s hats had a style for everyone. Which style fits you?

1930s Fedora or Trilby

One of the most popular hats for men in the 1930’s was the fur felt hat known as a Trilby or Fedora. They are nearly identical with the Trilby having a slightly shorter crown. These hats are worn in hollywood movies by both the smart and handsome detectives and the rough and dangerous gangsters.  Good or bad a few details make 1930’s fedora and Trilby hats different from their successors in the 1940’s, 1950’s and 1960’s.

1930's mens hats

1930’s Mens Dobbs Hats

  • Popular colors: dark brown, light brown, grey, black, olive green, medium blue
  • Tall crown
  • Made of fur felt
  • Featured a deep crease down the center top of the hat that angled toward the back of the head
  • Front pinch or crown sides were indented
  • The narrow brim was turned up all the way around or on the sides only
  • A wide Petersham band wrapped the hat
  • A flat Petersham bow was placed on one side of the hat band
  • Matching Petersham ribbon bound the hat brim
  • Sometimes they were worn tilted to one side

1930s Homburg Hat

The hat most gangsters preferred was the Homburg. A slightly more formal hat than the fedora it’s popularity was revived in The Godfather movie resulting in it being nicknamed “The Godfather Hat.” 1930’s Homburg hats featured:

1930s homburg hat

Homburg Hat worn in The God Father

  • Most popular color was grey followed by black.
  • Made of fur felt
  • Tall crown with center crease
  • Wide brim in the first half of the 30’s and narrower in the second half.
  • Curled brim with matching Petersham ribbon and band in the same color as the hat. A few versions had lighter color trim with a dark band.

1930s Bowler or Derby Hat

A carry over from the past four decades the classic Bowler Hat also called a Derby was just as popular as ever in the 1930’s. The traditional hard top felt was replaced by softer more breathable felt in the 30’s. Other details of 1930’s bowler include:

1930s derby hat

Patrick Macnee sporting a 1930’s Bowler/Derby Hat

  • Most popular color: Black
  • Tall and round crown
  • Narrow curled brim often curled higher on the sides
  • Petersham ribbon binding on brim
  • Matching black Petersham ribbon on crown with a flat side bow

1930’s Ivy Caps

Wool Ivy CapAnother carry over from decades past is the casual cap called an Ivy or driving cap today. The 1920’s style newsboy cap with an 8/4 panel design was still worn in the early 1930’s but eventually gave way to a more sleek and fitted Ivy style. Some other details are:

  • Colors: Brown and green tweeds, plaids, and herringbone patterns. Solid colors were less common.
  • Almost always made of wool, even in summer
  • Worn flat on the head or off to one side
  • Flat Ivy style with a triangle shape from ear to the base of the head (Pictured left)
  • Modern Ivy caps don’t have the triangle shape (pictured right)
  •  Another style had a peaked cap design that tilted to one side.

1930s Mens Porkpie Hat?

I put a question mark after Porkpie hat because the 1930’s style hat was similar to the 1940’s Porkpie but not called by any specific name. It was a little different:

Men's Biltmore Fur Felt Porkpie - The Porkpie

  • Colors: Black, browns
  • Made of fur felt
  • Oval flat top with deep crease around oval
  • Short crown
  • Wide straight brim. 1940’s Porkpies had curled brims.
  • Thin leather band matching color of the hat
  • Worn at an angle

1930s Walking Hat

1930s mens hats

Walking Hats aka Sport Hats

Another nameless style hat of the 1930’s is often called a walking hat, walker hat, tweed hat, or bucket hat today. This style hat came back in the 1960’s making little distinction  between the two decades. These hats had:


  • Tweed herringbone plaid, and check patterns
  •  Turned down wide brim (60’s hat had a slightly narrower brim)
  • Unstructured crown, rounded, usually no creasing
  • Thin self fabric band and flat bow

1930’s Straw Boater or Skimmer Hat

The last hat to carry over from the 1920’s was the straw boater. A nice summer time hat this was the last decade of its popularity. Lighter straw hats entered the picture in the 1940’s.

Maurice Chavelier wearing a Boater Hat

  • Made of hard woven straw
  • Shallow crown and flat top
  • Very wide striped silk band with flat double bow in sport team colors. Sometimes band was pleated horizontally.
  • Wide brim (Skimmer had a slightly narrower brim)
  • Worn for summer and sporting events
  • Worn straight or tilted to the side




Buying 1930s Inspired Hats:

Lucky for us most of these styles of hats can be purchased today. Granted, many don’t have all of the details vintage 1930s hats do but the overall shape and colors are present. One minor difference is that you won’t find Petersham ribbon on modern hats. Instead you will always see grosgrain ribbon used. Don’t know the difference? Read here. The overall look is the same but it is the one little detail I miss the most.
You can find my handpicked selection of the best 1930s inspired hats for men here. Or read about other mens 1930’s fashions.


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About VintageDancer

Debbie & Oscar have turned their hobby into a career by teaching others how to re-create vintage style with affordable new vintage inspired clothing and accessories. We connect shoppers to the best vintage inspired clothing, shoes and accessories and teach fashion history as it was worn by everyday people. Need help? Contact us anytime.

One thought on “1930s Mens Hat Fashion

  1. Jay Evensen

    Nice writeup on hats! Just FYI, a good source for new ’30s style hats is http://www.penmanhats.com/Home_Page.html. Also, this site — http://www.davidmorgan.com/index.php?cPath=2_22_28 — offers a good selection. Both sites ship hats that have open crowns. The wearer can shape, or “bash”, them as he likes, just as was the case in the ’30s. Many of us who own and wear these hats congregate at http://www.thefedoralounge.com/, where you can get more tips on where to find authentic old-style hats. it might be nice for you to link to these hats, which are a bit more authentic than many of the ones you link to. These hats are slowly making their way back into style. Thanks again for a great site!


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