A Hat-Full of History: On Hats, Caps and Beanies

A Hat-Full of History: On Hats, Caps and Beanies

Ever wondered why we’re wearing hats on our heads, and not – let’s say – headscarves made of sheep skin? Then this article is for you! We’ve put together a short history of the hat after the jump.

The history of the hat

If you’re thinking of “a hat”, the first thing that comes to mind is probably an Al Capone-style fedora or a peaky-blinder Stetson. But if you aren’t out to impress on a Halloween party, you probably won’t receive a lot of kudos from the random passer-by when sporting a top hat or similar. It’s amazing how history has produced an enormous variety of different hat styles that went out of fashion just as quickly as they became popular. Here’s a brief summary of the most important hat styles in history.

Custom hats made of feathers, flowers and other headdresses

People have been customizing their own hats for centuries, even though the first headgear looked startingly different from what we’re used to today. Our ancient forefathers and mothers wore ornamental headdresses made of feathers and flowers, just that little prettier. Then headbands – and also headscarves – became the ant’s pants, going in and out of popularity like the seasons. Historians assume that the first real hats were used in ancient Greece at the latest. Greek craftsmen wore a pileus, a pointy hat that resembled a cap. And in ancient Greece, the hat was already a class divider of the classes. Poorer people wore a kausia sun hat made of straw, and richer folks a petasos made of leather. A bit like ancient custom bucket hats.

The hat as we know it

In the 12th century, the profession of the hatter established itself as hats were super high in demand with anyone and their uncle. Both women and men wore gender-specific headgear, not all that different from what can still be seen today. Headgear became a meaningful accessory of everyday clothing, carrying a symbolic meaning for the wearer. Hats at the horse races in Ascot, England, have been a trademark accessory for visitor for centuries. The more flamboyant, the better! But most hats used to be – and still are – worn with functionality given priority over fun.

Hats today

Today the line between functional hats and ornamental headdresses can’t be easily drawn. A hat can express an affiliation to groups, communicate certain values, and is sometimes even worn to frighten the opposition. Remember that qAnon guy in a fur hat with horns who took both the Capitol and social media by storm? Scary stuff. However, most hats serve to protect against environmental conditions like cold winds and the rain. A wide brim ensures shading the scalp and face from strong sunlight. That’s pretty cool, because you can still watch a baseball game without losing your eyesight or suffering a sunstroke. As a fashion accessory, it is often used without making any practical sense at all. But that’s alright as well! Custom trucker caps are timeless classics.

Hats at Spreadshirt

Many categories of hats that you can buy from us combine fun and functionality. Our baseball hats offer protection from glaring light, and they can match any outfit with different colors and designs. When it gets colder, our winter hats and beanies will do just what you’d expect once temperatures drop below 40°F. Then there’s our floppy bucket hat that combines functional sun protection and a brit-pop-like fashion appeal. Best of all, you can create custom hats with fun designs and your own text to make the hat truly yours. 

And you know what? All the way through to January you’ll get 25% off Snapback Baseball Cap.

Are you one of those who won’t leave the house without your baseball cap on? And what do you do on bad-hair days? Let us know in the comments!

1 comment
Leave a Reply