Throughout many centuries headwear has been worn by both men and women but it wasn't until the 14th/15th centuries that hats had started to be worn. Some of the first materials used for hat making in the early 15th century were silk, velvet, taffeta, leather, felt & beaver. Hat wearing during this period differed between men and women. Women hats tended to be worn by the middle to upper class whereas for men it was a fashion statement, an essential accessory. There was little difference in styles for men & women, many of the masculine styles were worn by fashionable women. 

Mens hats tended to make a symbolic statement, with the most notable being the formal tall stiff top hat representing those who were involved in the professions and trades.