Top Hats

Top Hats - All You Need To Know

Here at mens hat shop we only stock the best quality top hats. Every top hat you see is of the highest quality and suitable for any formal occasion from weddings to royal ascot. Our top hats are from two fine manufacturers Christys and Olney Headwear. Any top hat purchased will come with the corresponding hat box to keep it safe in transit and for storage whilst not being used.

There are 2 styles of top hats to choose from either the standard top hat which has a 5 1/4" crown or the tall top hat which has a 6 1/4" crown. Although an inch does not sound much but when worn this is a very noticable difference, both the tall and standard are popular for both weddings and royal ascot.

We also stock 3 finishes in the top hats, we have the wool felt finish which has a drab finish, the fur felt and the melusine fur felt finish. The Melusine finish is the top hats above which have the highly polished finish, these are very popular, a replacement for the no longer in production silk top hats. Melusine fur is a slightly longer fur than an average fur felt it is also brushed and has a highly polished finish.

Tall Top Hats Top Hats - Melusine  Top Hats
 Tall Top Hats Melusine Top Hats Grey Top Hats

Top Hats - The History Of This Famous Hat

We all know what a top hat is, widely associated with use for formal wear the top hat has been in use for centuries. Here will tell you about when the top hat was first worn, the materials used in making the top hat and how its becomming a fashionable item of headwear.

The top hat, or as its sometimes known, the silk hat, stovepipe hat or topper is a tall, flat-crowned, broad-brimmed hat, predominantly worn from the latter part of the 18th to the middle of the 20th century. The top hat is now predominantly worn only with morning dress or white tie occasions, including weddings, race meetings such as Royal Ascot, or just recently as a fashion statement.

Top hats started to take over from the popular and widely worn tricorne hat at the end of the 18th century. The first silk top hat in England is credited to George Dunnage, a hatter from Middlesex, in 1793. However  one of the earliest references to the top hat is in a 1747. The 1840s and the 1850s saw the top hats it reach their most extreme form, with ever higher crowns and narrow brims. During the 19th century, the top hat developed from a fashion into a symbol of urban respectability from when Prince Albert started wearing them in 1850. By the end of World War I, the top hat had slowly become a rare site, although it continued to be worn daily for formal wear, mostly throughout London in high powered jobs such as high positions in banks or stockbrokers for example. The popularity of the silk plush top hat quite possibly led to a decline in beaver hats, which are now rarely heard of in use of manufacture in any form of mens hat.

During the latter part of 18th century and the early part 19th century, the top hat which had always been made from felted beaver fur was slowly being replaced by silk, a silk top hat is made from hatters' plush, a soft silk weave with a very long, defined nap. The silk top hat is no longer in production, and it is thought that there are no looms capable of producing the traditional material  due to the last looms apparently being destroyed by the last owner after a violent breakup with his brother. The second hand silk top hat market is very lively, often refurbished and sold for extortionate amounts of money, a common problem with silk top hats is they tend to be very small in size, so any found in larger sizes do sell for large amounts of money. Now top hats are commonly made from fur felt, this may often be referred to as ‘melusine fur felt’ melusine is the the term used for a long fur which has been repeatedly brushed and polished to replicate that wonderful silk look top hat.

After the surge of top hats they were starting to be worn by all social classes, still being worn in the upper class after being manufactured of felted beaver fur, however the dominance of the top hat was evident when even workmen were wearing them. Top hats had became part of the uniforms worn by policemen and postmen as it was once again being associated with authority, due to the nature of these jobs being mainly outdoors their top hats were coated in black oil cloth.

In the present top hats are mostly worn for formal occasions and occasionally worn in grey which is an acceptable colour for a day race meeting such as Royal Ascot and also is worn for weddings by both the groom and his best man. Black is still the predominant colour for a top hat.