Copyright © 2009 by The Plain Ol' As Club  ·  All Rights reserved
Some of the material presented here may be posted by permission of the author

Send suggestions and comments to : WebGuy@plainolas.com
Home   |   About Us   |   Gallery   |   Fashion Sense   |   Links and Downloads 
Plain Ol' As Model A Ford Club
Plain Ol' As Model A Ford Club
              Serving Northeast Kansas
Introduction
     As a general rule, in the Model A era men wore hats.  Always.  Typically, a man might have any of a small number of hats from which he could choose to suit the occasion.  A hat worn on the golf course would never be seen at the work place, for example.  Hat types and appearance were very consistent throughout all four years of the Model A era.  (Not so for the women-folk, but that's a different story).  Let’s discuss each hat based on where it might be seen.

Hats for Dress Occasions and the Business Office
     You have two options, the Derby and the Homburg.  The Derby or Bowler is familiar to most of us who’ve seen old movies and it always seemed that it’s what the butler wore, but seems to have been pretty much on it’s way out in terms of popularity with the general public (Based on the fact that it's not featured in any of the era catalogs I've perused).  The black, rounded top (generally around 5” tall) and the flat rather slim brim (around 2”) are distinctive.  Less obvious is the 1 ½  inch black hatband. They were generally worn at daytime with a business suit or even with a tuxedo. 

     The Homburg was more often seen in daytime formal dress and in the business office and were either black (or very dark blue), brown, or grey colored.  It Featured a stiff brim about 2 ½ “ wide (sometimes narrower in the front) with an upward curl molded around the edge of the brim.  (Some catalogs call it a “rolled brim” hat.)  The crown was somewhat tapered and around 5 ½ inches tall featuring a lengthwise fold (the “center crease” style) running evenly from the front to the back of the hat.  The Homburg had straight, “un-pinched,” sides as befitting a serious hat and was set off with a 2 ¼ inch black (or complementary colored) hatband.  Some authorities rank the Homburg just below the top hat and above the derby, or order of formality.


         
1928                          1929                            1930                         1931
Men's Hats
Designed by GOEMO.de
1928 SR Fall-Win p400 Men Hats, Homburg 1
1928 SR Fall-Win p401 Men Hats, Homburg 3
Hats for The Work Place and Pleasure 
     The Fedora (or Trilby) is a catch-all title for a large variety of hats.  Offered in the same colors as the Homburg, and with the same mildly tapered crown, about 5 ½ inch crown and 2 ¼” black (or matching colored) hat band.  The Fedora also had the same “center crease” in the top of the crown but could also have “side pinches” or “puckers.”  Characteristic to all is the 2 ¼ to 2 ½ inch flat brim which can be shaped to the desire of the wearer.  Think Indiana Jones.  Also called the “snap brim” hat, the Fedora was worn by the larger part of the work force, and in most casual situations.  A variation of the “snap brim” is the “welt edge” hat where the edge of the brim is folded back on itself and sewn.  It gives a little more “structure” to the hat and perhaps made it a little more acceptable in an office

         
1928                          1929                            1930                         1931

Caps for Sports, Motoring and Out Doors
     Men who were out of doors didn’t always want to fight the wind.  For them, the Gatsby and the Golf (or Newsboy) caps were the perfect answer.  Understand, by the way, that these are their modern names…they were all simply “caps” back in the day.  Both had somewhat a similar appearance, differing only in construction.  Both ended up with a slightly “squashed” appearance, but the Gatsby hat is made from one piece of material, and was referred to as a “one piece top style.”  What we call the Golf has eight triangular panels meeting at the top of the cap with a small button and was called the “8/4” or “eight-quarter”  style.  Caps were made of wool - never broadcloth or other smooth material.  The folded forward top of the cap comes out nearly as far as the stiff visor, to which it usually attached with a snap. The fold-over front also hid the oft-seen adjustable buckle.  The sides of the cap should extend out so as to shade the ears.  These caps could be worn with almost any outdoor attire (from sports and outings) and work-a-day world (from factory work to farming).  Winter caps could have tuck-away flaps to cover the ears.

         
1928                          1929                            1930                         1931

Finding Modern replacements
   
Of course, you can always haunt internet auction sites and vintage clothing stores to get just the right chapeau.  To help, we offer this Vintage Hat Size Guide.

     Thanks to their popularity in equestrian events and costumes, Bowlers can still be purchased online from many sources, ranging in cost from $25 up to $125

      Straw Hats (the “Panama” hats), including Boaters, are around and are actually available in the right size (since the straw hats were shorter)  Make sure you get one with the center crease, as opposed to a cowboy style or “C” crease.  You may have to replace the ribbon

     A truly era-look Homburg and Fedora will be a difficult hat to locate just because of the height.  Most of the on-line “vintage-look” hats offered on line are of the shorter late 30’s style of about 4 ½ inches, a full inch shorter than we’re looking for.  Remember, too, that you're looking for a center crease that runs evenly across the top of the hat.  In some cases, you’ll have to replace the hat band with a thicker grosgrain ribbon which you can easily get from a fabric or hobby store.

     Still popular today, Caps (both Golf and Gatsby styles) are easily found in terms of both construction and wool material used.  HOWEVER, unlike many modern caps, the sides should come out just past the ears, giving it that somewhat “crushed on top of your head” look and, of course, the fabric should look like some kind of wool. 
1929  MW Fall-Win p366 Men Hats, Homburg 1
1929  MW Fall-Win p366 Men Hats, Homburg 2
1930 MW Fall-Win p246 men hats, Homburg 1

1930 MW Fall-Win p246 men hats, Homburg 1

1930 MW Fall-Win p246 men hats, Homburg 2

1930 MW Fall-Win p246 men hats, Homburg 2

1931 Sears Fall-Win p0364 Men Hats, Fedora

1931 Sears Fall-Win p0364 Men Hats, Fedora

1931 BB Nov p477 Men Hats, Fedora

1931 BB Nov p477 Men Hats, Fedora

1931 BB Nov p478  Men Hats, Fedora

1931 BB Nov p478 Men Hats, Fedora

1930 MW Fall-Win p246 men hats, Fedora 1

1930 MW Fall-Win p246 men hats, Fedora 1

1930 MW Fall-Win p246 men hats, caps 1

1930 MW Fall-Win p246 men hats, caps 1

1930 MW Fall-Win p246 men hats, caps 2

1930 MW Fall-Win p246 men hats, caps 2

1930 MW Fall-Win p246 men hats, caps 3

1930 MW Fall-Win p246 men hats, caps 3

Straw Hats for Summer Office and Outdoor Casual Wear
     For summer wear Straw hats were available and could even be worn to the office with a summer weight suite.  Many mimicked the looks of the Fedora although, with a crown of about at around 4 inches, they were somewhat smaller in height.  The hat band for casual occasions could be anywhere from 1 to 2 ¼  inch andd could be solid or “fancy.”  Fancy, in this case, seemed to mean it had one or two thin, contrasting stripes running lengthwise around the hat.  The brim was still about 2 ½ inches wide. The Boater (or Sennit) is a familiar version of the straw hat.  The stiff, 2-1/2 inch, almost plate-like brim and shallow pot-shaped crown of about 3 inches are easily recognized.  The Boaters always had a fancy hat band.

         
1928                          1929                            1930                         1931
1930 MW Spr-Sum p224 Men Hats, Straw

1930 MW Spr-Sum p224 Men Hats, Straw

MW Spr-Sum 1930 Fedora Style

MW Spr-Sum 1930 Fedora Style

MW Spr-Sum 1930 Optimo Style

MW Spr-Sum 1930 Optimo Style

Outdoor Work Hats
     Broad Brimmed Work Hats were even taller than “normal” hats and were the same across all four years.  Six inch perforated crowns and 3” brims weren’t unuual and you could always go with the one modeled after the cowboy hats:  7 ½ inch tall with a rolled brim 4 ½ wide.
1930 MW Fall-Win p245 men hats, Work

1930 MW Fall-Win p245 men hats, Work

1929 CMO Spr-Sum p239 Men Hats, Fedora

1929 CMO Spr-Sum p239 Men Hats, Fedora

1929 MW Fall-Win p366 Men Hats, Fedora

1929 MW Fall-Win p366 Men Hats, Fedora

1928 SR Fall-Win p400 Men Hats, Fedora 1

1928 SR Fall-Win p400 Men Hats, Fedora 1

1928 SR Fall-Win p401 Men Hats, Fedora 1

1928 SR Fall-Win p401 Men Hats, Fedora 1

1929 CMO Spr-Sum p238 Men Hats, caps

1929 CMO Spr-Sum p238 Men Hats, caps

1928 SR Fall-Win p398 Men Hats, Caps 1

1928 SR Fall-Win p398 Men Hats, Caps 1

1928 SR Fall-Win p398 Men Hats, Caps 2

1928 SR Fall-Win p398 Men Hats, Caps 2

1931 BB Nov p478 Men Hats, Caps

1931 BB Nov p478 Men Hats, Caps