A Little Known History
Is the Fedora American?
Few people know the history of the fedora hat. Many assume its origins come from early 20th century America as every notable man in film and television between the 20's and 50's was seen wearing some version of it. Gangsters, movie stars, and entertainers all wore them. Even the insurance salesman wore one. But the fedora existed long before the height of its popularity when everyone from Al Capone to Frank Sinatra donned one.
Origins Traced to Austria
The fedora has been traced to Tyrol, Austria. In this mountainous region, the hat was worn as a traditional accessory. Different fashionable styles developed in Tyrol in the early 1830's, as exemplified by this oil painting titled "Boy with Tyrolean hat and monkey," 1830.
The Fedora Began On Stage.
The story begins with French dramatist Victorien Sardou. In 1882, Sardou wrote the play, Fédora for "the most famous actress the world has ever known," Sarah Bernhardt. In the play, Bernhardt plays Princess Fédora Romanoff. The princess wore a soft felt hat that, you guessed it, became known as the fedora.