The derby hat is a stiff man’s hat that dates back to the 1800s when it was first made in England. The first such hat was made in the mid-19th century by the London hat firm of Thomas and William Bowler, after whom it was named. They had received an order from another hat maker, Lock & Co. of St. James. Lock had been commissioned to create a hat to protect the heads of gamekeepers on horseback, from the branches of overhanging trees. The derby hats also known as a bowler or billycock. It’s a rounded, hard-topped hat with a small brim. This hat is an easily identifiable piece of headwear.
Derby hats are usually black, but can be found in many colors. They are commonly made from felt, and have been worn since the 1850s. Most popular at the end of the nineteenth century, these hats was worn by all social classes. From butlers to businessmen, it was the first mass-produced hat that was affordable to all social classes. Also, these derby hats became iconic in art, theater and literature. Sheep’s wool is the most common material for making felt derby hats; rabbit and beaver felt are used to make softer derbys.
Derby hats for women began to be sold in the 1920s. They were referred to as bowler hats, and came with a bowler handbag. In South American countries, the women’s derby hat is called a bombin. Women’s derby hats come in a variety of colors, and often have ornamentation such as feathers and bows. And another type of derby hat is the Kentucky derby hat. These hats are traditionally worn in parades at Churchill Downs. The hats are believed to bring good luck in horse racing, and is generally worn by women. The hat has a wide brim, and can be decorated with flowers, ribbons and bows. Men’s Kentucky derby hats generally reflect the styles of the 1920s.