Top Hat & Derby

Cheerio and good day to you all! It has been ages since the days when a fine gentleman never left the house without his top hat. Between the 1700s and early 1900s, every well-dressed chap, usually from the upper class, wore a top hat with his suit. The sight of a man wearing a cap automatically makes you feel more formal and proper. Just think of Abe Lincoln, who was seldom photographed without his trademark stovepipe hat. He always looked so stately and grand. The distinctive topper features tall sides, a wide convex brim and a flat top. They were commonly made of silk or beaver skin.

Move ahead in time to the Victorian era and you find that top hats began to fall out of favor. Men adopted a more casual cap called a derby, also known as a bowler. Whereas the top was associated with wealthy men, the derby was of choice for the common working man. When I think of derbies, I am reminded of images from the 30s and 40s when men always wore a suit jacket and a lid, whether they were going out for a special occasion or going with the fellas to the ball game, it was simply part of the everyday wardrobe.

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