Fashion trends come and go but hats never go out of style. Their sartorial charm takes an already sharp looking outfit up a notch by adding a dash of personality and sophistication. Up until the 1950’s, men were rarely seen out and about without a hat sitting upon their head. The races is a chance for all gents to tap into that stylish heritage and bring back the hat! These dapper gents are a perfect example of how hats from a bygone era will always be a stylish option for any modern man.

The tradition of wearing hats to horse races began at the Royal Ascot in Britain which required that all guests within the royal enclosure must wear a hat. Top hats are the formal choice for men to wear to this event as an accompaniment to their Morning Dress suit. It’s probably not worth investing in one unless you really like the style or you happen to attend lots of formal events.

IMAGE: Zimbio

Hats come in all different shapes and sizes but the most important thing to remember is to match the material to the season. Heavy materials or fabrics like felt and wool are suited to cooler climates and straws or lighter fabrics are best for the warmer months. If you are thinking of entering Fashions on the Field wearing a season appropriate hat is a must!

These days many men are reluctant to wear a hat to the races but we encourage all the blokes out there to go outside your comfort zone and embrace the confidence and extra style points a hat will give you. Without a doubt the right hat will complete an outfit and  your masculine edge will not go unnoticed, we assure you. We’ve found some stylish options for the races so read on to find out how to stand out from the crowd at the track…

–FEDORA HAT–

Fedoras were once a must for men going out in public and a necessary accessory to formal and business attire. They were regularly seen on movie stars of the 1940’s adding an element of mystery to the wearer. Now days Fedoras are popular because they are functional, suited to most face types and are easy to wear.

The fedora’s crown is typically 4.5 inches high and pinched at the front with a crease down the middle. The brim size can vary between manufacturers and is soft rather than stiff or wired. Add some style, class and confidence to your outfit by wearing a tilted fedora to your next race meet.

–FLAT CAP • DRIVING CAP • NEWS BOY HAT–

This group of less formal hats are all similar in shape with their soft round crowns and short brims. They have a long association with working class men in the UK and can be an easy way to add some interest to an outfit for the races because they come in a variety of colours and prints.

Driving caps are higher at the back and taper to a thin brim. They are a more masculine and stylish choice than the puffy style newsboy hat. Both of these images show the tailored style of the driving cap and how it is a versatile accessory for a casual or formal outfit.

–PANAMA HAT–

A Panama hat is a brimmed straw hat that was originally produced in Ecuador in the 17th century. They have long been associated with tropical leisure time but wearing they can also be a sharp addition to a suit or formal outfit.

A Panama hat will look great and also keep shield you from the sun as you head out to the track to watch the action. They are traditionally made from straw so are well suited to the warmer months of the year as an alternative to felt fedoras.

–TRILBY HAT–

The trilby dates back to the turn of the 20th Century and is a shortened, more angular version of its larger cousin the Fedora. It usually has a similar shaped crown and short brim which is upturned at the back.

This style was famously worn by Frank Sinatra but it’s important to note that the thinner brim complimented his narrow body shape which highlights the importance of men choosing a hat to suit their build. The trilby is a neat and smart adornment to complement a 3 piece suit or a blazer/shirt/chinos combination.

–BOATER HAT–

Made from thick and rigid straw the boater is a perfectly acceptable summer alternative to a fedora. They are typically worn with a blazer or smart lounge suit and are associated with The Great Gatsby style of the 1920’s. It became popular for men to wear this style out boating and from then the term ‘boater’ became widely used.

Boaters typically have a solid or striped ribbon around the crown which in the past could be the wearers college or ‘gentlemen’s club’ colours. Recent racewear trends have seen this style of hat proving to be a very popular choice among women attending the races and competing in Fashions on the Field.

–PORK PIE–

IMAGE: MRC

This stylish hat dates all the way back to the American Civil War. Pork pie hats are rounded with narrow brims and partially domed crowns that have an indentation all the way around.

Since this style of hat is so round and short, it looks better on round faces and looks great tilted or worn further back on your head. Embellish the pork pie hat with some small feathers, a complementing ribbon or pins to add subtle details to your outfit.

Be sure to try on your preferred style to see which best suits your face shape and head size. Also keep in mind that a man’s hat brim should be in proportion to his shoulders. A narrow build suits a smaller brimmed hat while someone with broad shoulders looks better with a hat that has a wider brim. The right hat can easily become your signature piece and give you extra swagger so invest in one that fits well and it will be a wardrobe staple for years to come.

Want to know where to buy hats online? Browse the full list of websites on our Labels Directory.

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Feature Image: Myer Blog