You may have noticed a lot of men and women reinventing older styles of hats to create new iterations of fashion accessories. Fedoras, Panama Hats, and similar designs that have been around for decades are now making a huge resurgence. The Pork Pie hat is no exception.
However, many people are unfamiliar with the Pork Pie hat design. While it never had the mainstream appeal of the classic fedora, Pork Pie hats have remained popular since their inception nearly 200 years ago. Consequently, many modern fashion enthusiasts want to learn more about this elusive, yet popular fashion accessory.
In today’s guide, we are going to take a closer look at the Pork Pie hat, including what it looks like, how it’s made, its history in the world of fashion, and even how to wear it for modern consumers. So, let’s get started!
What Is A Pork Pie Hat?
Though the Pork Pie hat (sometimes written as “porkpie” or even the “English Pastry” hat) encompasses a wide range of specific styles and materials, all of them conform to the same basic design. The Pork Pie hat has a circular or oblong brim that is usually upturned at the edges. The brim is always stingy, while the crown is flat or slightly round on top. Most variations have indentations around the top edge of the hat. Like fedoras, Pork Pie hats usually feature black or dark-colored ribbons that provide a visual separation between the brim and the crown.
So why is it called a Pork Pie hat? Oddly enough, the name comes from the small crease around the top of the hat. This feature is often known as a “telescoped crown,” which creates a top-down image that resembles the popular meat pies of England. As a result, people just started calling it the Pork Pie hat!
The first Pork Pie hats came into existence in the early 19th century, when they were especially popular among middle and upper-class women in England and the United States. These hats often featured small flowers and flourishes that were appropriate for the times. By the late 19th century and early 20th century, the hat was adapted for men to wear while working or going out on the town.
During the Silent Film era, Buster Keaton popularized a variation of the traditional Pork Pie hat for his comedic films. It became a key part of his signature style, and subsequently a popular choice among American men. Pork Pie hats were also highly accessible to people from different socioeconomic levels, as they could be produced using cheaper materials (like straw and cotton) or more expensive materials (like felt and satin). Consequently, the Pork Pie hat helped democratize fashion, particularly in the United States and parts of Europe.
By the mid-20th century, demographics were shifting dramatically in the United States, as was fashion, music, and culture in general. Many Latin and African American musicians used the Pork Pie hat as part of their signature look. This helped popularize the style even further, with people throughout the Americas adopting the Pork Pie hat and its associations with American Jazz.
Today, the Pork Pie hat remains a popular choice among multiple generations — from Baby Boomers to Gen Z consumers. It simply has a classic appeal (with roots in so many different eras and locations), making it popular for people of all ages. The Pork Pie hat was popularized even more thanks to its adoption by Walter White, the main character of the popular television series, Breaking Bad.
How To Wear A Pork Pie Hat
While the basic design of the Pork Pie hat has not changed much over the years, the way in which it is worn has evolved since its inception in the 19th century. Even today, there are various ways to wear the Pork Pie hat; it depends on several different factors, from the surrounding environment to your personal style.
That said, the way that people wear Pork Pie hats now is largely influenced by the Jazz musicians of the 1950s and 60s. While today’s fashion enthusiasts like to put their own personal spin on classic styles, the “correct” way to wear Pork Pie hats has remained the same (more or less) for nearly half a century. So, let’s take a closer look at how to wear a Pork Pie hat for both men and women.
There are essentially three ways for men to wear a Pork Pie hat: flat, inclined, or declined at an angle. The “flat” look is very common, as it is the easiest to maintain. You simply put on the hat, ensure that it fits comfortably, and position the bottom of the brim so that it is perpendicular to the ground. This is the style that you might have seen Walter White use in Breaking Bad.
Alternatively, the “inclined” style is a more casual style that comes from the Jazz musicians of years past. This allows you to keep the front of the hat turned upward, giving you greater visibility. Thus, this style is popular, fashionable, and practical — making it one of the best choices for most Pork Pie hat owners.
Finally, the “declined” style offers a much more distinct look. In essence, you bring the edge of the brim downward, while shifting the front of the hat approximately 45 degrees to one side. This style has also been popular among many Jazz musicians (both past and present), though it is not as common for everyday use. It’s also important to note that it is relatively uncommon to see a Pork Pie hat that declined without any rotation to one side or the other.
Fortunately, women wear Pork Pie hats in much the same way as men. However, the flat and declined looks are a little less popular among women. It is far more common to see the inclined look, as this is both casual and comfortable, especially for women with longer hair. This makes it easy to wear a Pork Pie hat with a bun or with hair styled down.
Pork Pie Hats Vs Fedora Hats
Since both the Pork Pie hat style and the fedora hat style became extremely popular around the same time, many people get them confused. Moreover, both hats feature indented crowns and classic brims. However, there are some important distinctions.
Typically, fedora hats have much greater brim versatility. Fedora hats can have upturned, downturned, flat, or mixed-style brims of varied lengths. Alternatively, Pork Pie hats always have stingy (short) brims, and they are almost always upturned. Additionally, the way in which a fedora’s crown is indented differs from the Pork Pie.
A Pork Pie hat only has one circular crease around the edge of the crown, often creating a stark contrast between the vertical and horizontal areas of the hat. Alternatively, fedoras often feature deeper and larger indentions that encompass the entirety of the top of the crown, as well as smaller indentions of the sides of the crown (which make them easier to take on and off). So, while they may share some basic similarities, the Pork Pie and Fedora hats are extremely different in both style and form!
We hope you found this Pork Pie hat guide useful! If you’d like to find the perfect Pork Pie hat for you, be sure to check out Bellissimo Hats today!