Much like the Ray-Ban Wayfarer, one can argue that the fedora is a classic item that will never really disappear. This may be true…to an extent.
The fedora first came into fashion in the 1880s as an accessory for women. Then it fell out of favor with the girls, and men co-opted it in the 1920s. The fedora had a long run of popularity, eventually fizzling out as a common menswear item in the early 1960s.
However, it has reared its jaunty head frequently in popular culture since then. The Blues Brothers. Indiana Jones. Annie Hall. Freddie Krueger? Yes, icons all. But no one really wore the hats in real life. They felt costumey.
Then the mushy straw version of the fedora started appearing on slouchy hipster guys and Brad Pitt. In a textbook case of runway following the street, we started to see designers styling with fedoras.
They figured prominently in the SS 2009 shows at Gucci and Emanuel Ungaro. The trend really exploded on the runway during the SS 2010 shows, in both women’s and men’s ready-to-wear. Rochas, Vivienne Westwood, and countless menswear designers showed them.
When I first started seeing people wearing them, particularly women, I was blown away. They looked modern, über-stylish, and downright rakish. The kind of look where I would say to myself, “Damn, I wish I could pull that off.”
But now that every starlet and random person on the street is wearing one–usually ill-fitting or horribly styled–I’m losing patience. The look is tired. I think the final nail in the coffin was seeing a rack of them at my local supermarket.
Perhaps this is just sour grapes because I look horrible in hats, but I would be happy if another 50 years went by before the fedora became popular again.