The Tom Smarte Guide to the Fedora Hat

The Fedora

A good quality hat is the most versatile item of clothing a man can own. Not only can it be a functional piece that keeps you warm, dry and free of glare, it also complements the rest of your look.

Different styles of hat also have the illusory effect of changing your face shape. For that reason, it is important to choose the correct type of hat according to the shape of your face.

Over the years, I’ve often heard people say that hats just don’t suit them. They may have tried one on in a generic high street store, which normally stock one or two hat styles in a couple of sizes, which has led them to their conclusion. It’s the equivalent of trying on a pair of walking boots that are three sizes too large and concluding that sandals aren’t for you.

So to help make an informed choice, I’ve decided to pen a series of guides on 5 different hat styles, starting this week with the ‘Fedora’.

The word fedora comes from the title of an 1882 play by Victorien Sardou. It evolved from the very formal homburg style hat and became widely popular in the 1920s. A fedora is characterised by having a wide brim, 5 to 6 cm, snapped down at the front and normally with a pinched crown. It is mostly made from felt as a winter hat or from panama straw as a summer option.

Who the fedora hat suits

The fedora is very easy to wear and suits all face shapes except for those with a short face. You should think of a hat as a way to provide symmetry and balance to your face and if the length between your eyebrows and chin is on the short side, a fedora would look too top heavy.

How to wear it

Place a fedora from the front of your head to the back and adjust with a very slight tilt to the side. Pair a felt fedora with a trench coat, tailored suit or leather jacket (think Indiana Jones) or a panama fedora with flat front slim fit chinos or tailored shorts and a linen shirt.