Men have been wearing hats or forms of headwear for centuries, the most simplistic forms of mens hats came from necessity to keep warm or protect the head from the elements, these types of hats were made from animal skin, fur or pelt, and used more as a head covering, a rather primitive form of hat.
This is starting with the most basic forms of headwear and put together with todays selection of mens hats would not even remotely resemble a hat.
Throughout the world Mens hats have had different styles, meanings, or uses. Yet it is only in recent centuries that fashion has had anything to do with determining styles or comfort.
In the times of the Ancient Greeks, a hat would denote rank and status, this has continued to a theme within the military forces, with hats being a significant factor in being able to tell not only rank but battalion too.
As mentioned previously mens hats the primitive form, may have been primarily used as forms of protection, since then protective headwear has come advanced in so many ways, fire fighters wear protective head gear as standard when called to a shout, it is part of an essential uniform which is there to protect the fire fighter, police have many forms of head wear from the policemans helmet to riot head helmets which are shaped to protect the neck too.
If you list, off the top of your head (pardon the pun) all the mens hats that you can, you would probably end up with a similar list as me, the Trilby, Bowler hat, Top Hat, Fedora, Stetson (cowboy hat), Boater, Beret, Fez, and many more images of hats spring to mind that I don't have names for. Many of these mens hats I associate with famous faces, the top hat with Abraham Lincoln, Bowler Hats with Laurel and Hardy, the Fez with Tommy Cooper, Indiana Jones and the Fedora, and some of the greatest names in country and western films for the Stetson, John Wayne being at the forefront of my mind.
The boater conjures pictures of Cambridge university students punting along the river, the Beret of the cliche French mime artist, black beret, stripy black and white top, black trousers, white faces and strings of onions round the neck. It is strange how the mind connects.
These days mens hats and caps are all the fashion, not necessarily for a specific function other than to look good in. Baseball caps have held a very good position in the popularity stakes, they do serve a purpose to keep the sun out of your eyes, but not only this they have become a great accessory for the advertising world too, promoting all kinds a things from traditionally baseball teams to football teams, leading sports manufacturers as well as sponsers of sport for example, mobile phone companies, domestic power suppliers and beers etc.
Other types of mens hat which have risen in popularity include the beanie, this basically started as just a knitted hat for men, some now have a peak too, but when advertised and worn by icons such as David Beckham the popularity of this simple item of mens headwear exploded.
The deer Stalker or trapper hat has also made a comeback although not for hunting! The fashion scene has revived the trapper and is now a popular winter fashion accessory.
Caps such as the Baker boy style have caught on too, and military style hats are forever in and out of fashion.
There will always be a place for mens hats, whether that be fashion, the military services, protective headwear or simply to keep your head warm, but for every mens fashion hat available it will have come from a very primitive background.
Anna Stenning looks into a brief history of mens hats from the very first types of headwear to the latest mens fashion hats.