Fashion Accessory or Symbol of Power : A Quick History of the Fedora

Having been giving the opportunity to get back in the music industry as a local town DJ,  I wanted to come up with something that would help people remember me. Even if they couldn’t remember my name, I wanted an accessory that they could connect with and would be easy to spot from the DJ booth.  Something that not just anyone would wear but everyone would love.  This is how I came up with the idea to wear a fedora.

One of my Fedoras from the collection.
One of my Fedoras from the collection.

I really didn’t know much about  the Fedora except having seen it in movies about gangsters or on Indiana Jones. Yet the thought of doing a job that is still mainly filled by males and wearing a hat soceity associates with powerful men would be funny and sexy at the same time.

The hat was an instant success. I received compliments right away and almost every night. When someone new sees the Fedora it’s an instant ” I love your hat.” When the regular clientele spot it they usually say, “Hey it’s the DJ” and ask to put in some song requests. I grew my collection from one Fedora to four and I hope to get some more.

Still I’m a curious soul and I started to wonder about the hat I had upon my head. I wanted to know where the Fedora started, who wore the first one and how did it become such a fashionable accessory? I had to know more about the style I had come to love.

The story of the Fedora went farther back in history and was more interesting then I expected. The first time the word Fedora was used in history was in 1882 when Victorien Sardou wrote the play Fedora. He did this with the actress Sarah Bernhardt in mind. Bernhardt was known for playing both female and male roles and women idolized her for the power she seemed to exude over the stage. In 1889 Bernhardt starred in the lead role as Princess Fedora and part of her costume was a different styled hat, which we have come to know as the Fedora.

The woman of the time loved the hat. It was very different to any of the very feminine styles that had come before and it’s popularity took off. They even adopted the Fedora as the symbol for the women’s rights movement. I have to say I was surprised. I always found the Fedora style to be very masculine and yet I come to find out that not only did it start as a lady’s hat, but a symbol of feminine power to boot. So where did the switch occur to the media showcasing it as a predominantly male hat?

Well it seems in 1924 Prince Edward of Britain decided he liked the hat’s style. The brim kept the rain and sun off his face and it was very practical yet stylish to wear with his suits. Other men agreed and soon the Fedora’s popularity skyrocketed. Now this occurred between 1920-1950 where prohibition and the gangsters the media love to make movies and TV shows about were powerful men. Women still wore the Fedora but since it didn’t suit the fancy dresses of the era sadly it faded away with the help of media portrayal of the fashion of the times.

Even men slowly stopped wearing the Fedora as times were changing and informal clothing was becoming more popular. So today’s hats like the ball cap or sun hat really show how are need for comfort killed style. Still the Fedora lives in movies and TV shows and from time to time a few stars like coach Tom Landry will bring it back. I am always estatic when I see someone else wearing a Fedora and will tell them how much I love their hat. I truly am happy to know I chose a hat with such a rich history. It has come full circle from Princess Fedora to DJ Jen aka DJ Fedora.

~ The Incidental Scribe


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s