Homburg hat

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Former UK Prime Minister Winston Churchill giving his "V" sign during World War II on Downing Street, London, wearing a homburg hat with a black lounge suit with formal trousers, dotted bowtie, dark waistcoat, and a walking stick
Konrad Adenauer and Willy Brandt (1961), both wearing homburg hats
Hugo Resinger holding a fashionable grey homburg hat (1907). Painting by Anders Zorn.

A homburg is a hat of stiff wool felt, characterized by a single dent running down the center of the crown (called a "gutter crown"), a wide silk grosgrain hatband ribbon, a flat brim shaped in a "pencil curl", and a ribbon-bound trim about the edge of the brim. It is typically found in dark colours, although variations occur. The original homburg conceived in the 19th century was of slightly more generous proportions than seen in 21st-century versions.[1]

The homburg is usually worn with clothing appropriate for semi-formal occasions, as well as informal attire.[2]

The name comes from Bad Homburg in Hesse, German Empire, from where it originated as hunting headgear. It was popularised in the late 19th century by King Edward VII as a less formal alternative to the prevalent top hat along with the bowler hat and the boater hat.

As with most hats for men, it largely fell out of everyday use for Western dress codes in the 1960s.


The Homburg was popularised in the 1890s by Edward VII after he visited Bad Homburg in Hesse, Germany, and brought back a hat of this style.[3] He was flattered when his hat style was mimicked, and at times he insisted on being copied.[4]

Anthony Eden made the dark homburg so fashionable in the 1930s that it became known as "the Eden" on Savile Row.[5] At his 1953 inauguration, Dwight D. Eisenhower broke with tradition by wearing a black homburg instead of a top hat. He also wore a homburg at his second inauguration,[6] a hat that took three months to craft and was dubbed the "international homburg" by hatters, since workers from ten countries participated in its making.[7]

Like other formal Western male headgear, the homburg ceased to be as common in the 21st century as it once was. Al Pacino gained some renewed fame for the homburg by wearing one in the film The Godfather, for which reason the hat is sometimes called a "Godfather".[8] Some Orthodox Jewish rabbis wear black homburgs, though this practice is also in decline. The homburg was always considered to be more traditional and distinguished than the fedora.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Kilgour, Ruth Edwards (1958). A Pageant of Hats Ancient and Modern. R. M. McBride Company.
  2. ^ "Hat Museum Bad Homburg". Retrieved 2019-07-28.
  3. ^ Chico, Beverly (3 October 2013). Hats and Headwear around the World: A Cultural Encyclopedia. ABC-CLIO. p. 245. ISBN 978-1-61069-063-8.
  4. ^ Donaldson, Frances (1974). Edward VIII. Weidenfeld & Nicolson, p. 42.
  5. ^ Graves, Robert; Hodge, Alan (1994). The Long Week End: A Social History of Great Britain, 1918-1939. Norton. p. 364. ISBN 978-0-393-31136-5.
  6. ^ "Eisenhower Second Inaugural Speech". Retrieved 2019-03-27.
  7. ^ Wilcox, R. Turner (2013) [1959]. The Mode in Hats and Headdress: A Historical Survey with 198 Plates. Dover Publications. p. 333. ISBN 978-0-486-31830-1.
  8. ^ Kramer, Johnny (29 August 2008). "The Courage to Wear Hats". LewRockwell.com. Retrieved 2014-03-20.

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