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What is a Homburg?

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  • Written By: Douglas Bonderud
  • Edited By: Michelle Arevalo
  • Last Modified Date: 08 November 2016
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A homburg is a type of men's hat that features a tall middle section, or crown, as well as a brim that is worn curled up. The middle section is oval-shaped and has a dent along its center, from front to back. These hats are typically made from felt or wool. They were originally worn in the town of Homburg, Germany — from which they take their name. The homburg became popular in Europe after England's King Edward VII visited Germany and returned with a hat of this style.

Often confused with a fedora or bowler, the homburg has some notable differences. A homburg hat's crown is typically four and one-half in (11.43 cm) tall. The brim can vary between two and one-quarter in (5.71 cm) and two and five-eighths in (6.67 cm) wide. The fedora, in contrast, has a smaller crown and the brim is often worn partially flattened. A bowler or derby, as it is know in Britain, has a rounded crown with no dent. The homburg always features a high crown with a dent, and the brim is always worn curled up around its entire edge.

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This is regarded as a semi-formal hat. It is considered to be less formal than a top hat, but more formal than a pork pie or fedora. The homburg was considered a middle ground between the stiff material of a top hat, worn by the upper class, and the flimsy felt hats worn by the average citizen. It was a popular choice among diplomats and government officials in the early part of the 20th century, but gained more widespread appeal with the advent of the movie The Godfather. In recent years, the hat has also come to be known as a godfather hat due to the film.

A homburg should fit snugly on the head without being loose enough to slip down, or so tight that it produces a headache. The bottom edge of the hat should sit just above the wearer's eyebrows. An authentic hat features a hatband that separates the crown and the brim. Some also feature a feather tucked in to the back of the hatband.

Hats of this type have seen a resurgence in popularity with the advent of online stores that can ship to almost any location in the world. Beginning in the 1990s, this hat also became popular among music performers, triggering another boost in its popularity. They are available in a wide variety of styles, colors, and prices.

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anon266364
Post 3

@Azuza: I'm a 31 year old gentleman who regularly sports a Fedora or Homburg with my suits. I personally tend to prefer the homburg with a black tie, while the Fedora works with any straight tie or even a turtle neck with a blazer. We're rare, but we are around!

Monika
Post 2

@Azuza - These hats are definitely available for sale online, like the article said. I just did a quick search, and I got a ton of results. Most of the descriptions did in fact reference the movie the Godfather! Which isn't surprising, as movies can make any obscure fashion quite famous.

Anyway, I'm a lady, so I don't think I'd ever have occasion to wear one of these hats. However, I'm allergic to wool, so I couldn't even if I wanted to! I wonder if they make these hats out of any material besides wool for gentlemen that have this problem?

Azuza
Post 1

I think a homburg hat can make a man look rather dashing. Unfortunately I've never seen a man wear one of these hats in real life. These days it seems most guy favor baseball caps over a hat like a homburg or a fedora!

However, I have seen some men wearing homburgs in old movies and pictures. From what I gather they were a bit more popular in the 1940s then they are now.

And, I'm fairly certain I've seen these hats for sale in department stores. So maybe one day I'll actually see someone wearing this kind of hat out and about.

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