Men’s Fashion History – The Origin of the Top Hat

Humans have covered their heads since the start of time. Initially the head wear was introduced as a protection product but then a whole generation of head wear came into being with top hats being the most favourite among people. The top hat, more commonly known by the nickname “topper” is a tall, flat-crowned, broad-brimmed hat. Starting from a mere head covering, this hat was worn mostly for ceremonial or religious occasions in the beginning but it ended up as a fashion accessory all around the world.

The origin of this hat dates back to the 17th century. It is difficult to exactly tell who invented these hats but generally the first silk top hat in England is credited to George Dunnage, a hatter from Middlesex, in 1793. John Hetherington was actually the person to invent this remarkable head wear. When he wore the hat in public for the first time, rumours have it that women fainted and children screamed, even the dogs got scared which caused an absolute uproar in the elite class and ultimately led to the arrest of this daddy of these hat. The charges filed included “intimidating people with a tall structure having a shining lustre.”

After this incident the game flipped, within the next twenty years almost all the social classes including the working class started wearing them and it was the 19th century when they started to get considered as being the symbol of urban respectability. Hat manufacturers in England made a good amount of money from these hats. These hats gained massive importance in politics and international diplomacy. They made so much of a statement that the word “Gentleman” got directly related to these hats.

This famous hat was not meant to be worn in a simple way. Style and fashion trends were introduced regarding the decision of how they should be worn. It is not known who set the standard but the fashion was to wear it tilted at 10 degrees, in any direction. This act shows that people had fashion and style sense even at that time.

In the 1950s, men wore these hats for business, pleasure and formal occasions, but later in the 1960s this trend started getting too old and classy, only the old men were seen wearing them. Soon the naked head became the new fashion. So, now the trend has become limited to people of a particular age. It’s really remarkable to see how fashion trends change over time.

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