Trilby Hats

Top It Off with a Trilby

The trilby and fedora, especially in this day and age, often seem like interchangeable hat styles. Yet, while the fedora has its roots as a dress hat, the trilby remains a casual brimmed style.

What is a Trilby?

Men's trilby hats can trace their roots in popular culture to George du Maurier's novel, Trilby, published in 1894 and later adapted to the stage in London. On the stage, Maurier's artist characters sported short-brimmed hats, and the name stuck in the U.K. and beyond.

Into the 20th century, the trilby continued to coast on its informal, bohemian reputation, but was dubbed a "rich man's hat," likely for its leisurely character. While the fedora, with a similar and parallel history, lasted through most of the 20th century as a men's dress hat, the trilby's periods of popularity tended to be short lived as they waxed and waned.

Its next incarnation occurred in the '70s as a revived retro trend, and it experienced a similar resurgence in the 1980s. As fedoras returned in the 2000s, reworked as a casual hat trend for an edgy consumer, the trilby trailed along, offering a structured, short-brimmed alternative. In turn, the era's top stars, from Justin Timberlake to Ne-Yo, were occasionally spotted sporting this silhouette.

Characteristics of a Trilby

On a general level, a short, fully surrounding brim is the trilby's definitive feature. Building off this distinction, the brim historically has been angled lower in the front and higher in the back. A fedora's traditional brim, by contrast, was level all around.

Today, however, that aspect has changed. Because trilbies typically have a narrow, level brim, men simply wear this hat at the back of their head and tilted upward. As such, the design in this configuration offers little to no sun protection and is one of the few men's hats to function strictly as an accessory.

Along with these aspects, the trilby's crown tends to be shorter than other dress hats' and utilizes a straighter, almost cylindrical shape with a modest dent down the middle.

Initially, trilbies were constructed with rabbit hair felt, but today, you'll spot them in wool, tweed, cotton or woven straw for breathability in adapting them to warm weather.

Find Stylish Men's Trilbies

Finish your look today with men's trilbies from our own Belfry brands as well as our store's exclusive selection from Biltmore. Browse classic, solid options, as well as color-blocked and multi-patterned combinations that get your headwear seen.

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