1950s Men’s Hats
The 1950s were a great time for men’s hats. After two decades of little change in style or variety, the 1950s came rolling in with splashes of color and fun new shapes. Little did they know that this would become the last decade of men wearing hats as required fashion. It was both the golden age and the end of an age for men in hats.
Let us take a look at the styles of 1950s men’s hats and see just why they were so special:
Hats of the 1950s – Fedora or Trilby Hat
This old hat style never went out of fashion but Old Blue Eyes, Frank Sinatra, certainly helped keep it in style throughout the 1950s. He wore all types of fedoras, but it was his late 1950s stingy brim fedora that really made a lasting impression on hat history. Today the stingy brim fedora is incredibly popular with fashionable young men, just as it was in the ’50s and ’60s.
- Colors: Brown, Tan, Green, Blue, Grey, Black
- Material: Fur felt or woven straw
- Shape: Center crown crease, usually pinch front
- Brim: Narrow brim, increasingly narrower as the 50s progressed. Brim turned down in front and up at sides with a deep turn up at the back. A narrow fedora brim is often called a Stingy brim.
- Band: Solid Petersham or silk ribbon colors that contrasted with the hat such as a green band on a grey hat. Flat bow on the side often with feather accent. Late 50’s brought in thin leather bands or felt bands to match the hat body and knotted instead of a bow. Hat brim was either unlined to lined in matching Petersham ribbon.
- Style: Centered on head with a slight tilt forward in the early 50s. Centered on head with a tilt back in the later 50s.
1950s Pork Pie Hats
The popular 1940s men’s hat returns in the 1950s with more colors and simpler, more refined style. It was usually called a telescope crown hat instead of pork pie. It went out of fashion by the mid 1950s except for the straw hat version, which stayed popular through the 1960s.
- Colors: Light browns, olive-green.
- Material: Fur felt or straw.
- Shape: Short, oval flat top with deep crease around oval.
- Brim: Flat brim all around or slightly curled just at the back.
- Band: Wide grosgrain or silk ribbon with flat bow or twist tie.
- Style: Worn at an angle or tilted back.
1950s Straw Hats
Straw hats came in different shapes and natural colors just like their felt cousins did. Boaters, fedoras, Panama, and pork pies all came in straw. The unique qualities of 1950s straw hats were in the bold and colorful hats bands. Wide silks and grosgrain ribbons in bold stripes, checks, and geometric print patterns matched the colorful suits 1950s men were wearing.
- Colors: Natural yellow straw, beached white straw and shades of coconut browns.
- Material: Thick, thin, natural and synthetic hand-woven straws.
- Shape: Same as felt varieties. Usually more brim in the front and less in the back for sun shading.
- Brim: Many curved to the back, some to the front.
- Band: Wide silk ribbon in early ’50s, thinner silk ties in later ’50s.
- Style: Worn same as felt varieties.
- Pictured below: Straw Boater, Straw Fedora, Straw Trilby, Straw Pork pie.
1950s Men’s Walking Hat
The hat that was more common in Europe than in the USA was the tweed walking cap. Many colorful patterns of Harris tweed made this a cool weather hat. It increased in popularity through to the 1960s.
- Material: Wool tweed, summer cotton plaids.
- Shape: Tall round crown shaped the head snugly.
- Brim: Narrow brim angled down all around and turned up at the back.
- Band: Thin self fabric band with tie, bow, or clip onside.
- Style: Worn snug over head and forehead.
1950s Men’s Caps
The most casual of hats was the flat cap. Common at the turn of the century, it never went out of style but lost popularity in the last few decades. It was mostly worn by boys and working-class men. In the ’50s it went mainstream again as casual sportswear for activities such as driving a car, playing golf, and hunting.
Solid and smooth colors as well as textured tweeds, herringbone, and plaid were all options. The cap fit flat and moderately wide on the head, with the top stitched down to the brim at the center. They could be traditional 8 panels or a single round panel on top.
Buying 1950s Men’s Hats
There are far too many hat styles worn in the 1950s to capture the details of every one. Some, like the Homburg, remained in the same style as the 1940s. The Ivy cap remained popular since the 1930s without any significant change. And the Straw Boater remained a classic since the 1920s. They are timeless hats, making the men who wore them the only new thing about them.
Whenever possible, purchasing a vintage 1950s hat is the best choice. Hats of this decade in particular have become quite collectible in the last 15 years. Prices of a name brand hat in good condition can sometimes make them unaffordable to the average man. If this is the case for you, purchasing a new vintage style 1950s hat is a great option. Many new hats are similar if not replicas of original hats. Stetson hats are one brand still making high-quality hats today. Some newer brands like Sinatra Hats are reinventing vintage hats of the 1950s and adding just a touch of the modern to bring them back into fashion today.
You can begin your 1950s men’s hat shopping here where I have handpicked the best vintage style hats online that embrace the classic 1950s style: