Bowler hat Vs Derby

Bowler hat Vs Derby hat

Hats are something we all love wearing. Adding a hat always gives your outfit a new look. Not only for outdoor events or parties but we also use hats in movies, parties, and even at work. In fact, hats these days also symbolize something. A police officer wears a hat and so does a chef. But they both look different and you can recognize their work just by looking at their hats. Moving further with discussions on hats, in this article, we will study the difference between a Bowler hat Vs a Derby hat.


Hat makers Thomas and William Bowler, popularly known as the Bowler brothers, designed the bowler hat in 1849 for Hatters James Lock & Co in London. This was a custom order as the hat used before the bowler hats was too high for gamekeepers’ regular use. It used to get hit and damaged easily.

So they gave an order for a hat that is quite short and is solid. In the early 19th and 20th centuries, the working class and business class used this hat.


The Bowler became famous in America due to horse riding and later came to be known as Derby. They made it out of wool or rabbit fur that are tightly spun. These hats give a tight fitting. These hats are among the top 10 hats that people look for online.

It is also said that Bowler hats and Derby hats are the same. The only difference is that its British term is Bowler while the American term is Derby. There is no specific distinction for Derby hats, it’s just a term used by the Americans.

In Spain, this hat is called bombín. Apart from Bowler and Derby, people also call this hat the billycock and bob hat. They made this for horse riders but now people from all over the world use it because of its formal, decent and rich look.


Both these hats look the same. The hat is a hard round-shaped crown consisting of a thin ribbon/band and a brim.

Best time to wear: though there is no specific time to wear this hat, hat lovers usually wear it at informal meetings, especially at night time. A long coat best suits these hats.


In America, the horse riders highly preferred the hat because it didn’t fly or fall on the ground because of the strong winds.

Notable bowler/derby wearers:

Laurel and Hardy, Charlie Chaplin, Boy George, Winston Churchill

Fictional characters:

Cornelius Fudge (Harry Potter), Riddler (DC comics), Timothy ‘Dum Dum’ Dugan (Marvel comics), Professor Calculus (The adventures of Tintin)

It’s a simple hat but we can wear it on unique occasions. Originally connected with horse riding and middle-class people, this hat is now worn by king’s guards, at parties, informal meetings. Many fashionistas including celebs from TV, movies and the internet also don this hat.

Both these are used in various countries and at multiple events because of their charm. It’s the same hat with different names in different places.

What would you like to call it? Bowler or Derby?

Is a derby hat a bowler?

The Bowler (or derby) hat is a popular style of hat with a rounded crown and a short brim. In 1849 Thomas Coke commissioned the first Bowler hat from Lock & Co. Hatters in London. … By the 20th century the hat had become a symbol of the middle and upper class in the British Isles.

Why do Americans call a bowler hat a derby?

A bowler hat or a derby hat is a classic hard felt hat with a well-rounded crown, thin grosgrain band, and short curved brim. This iconic hat traces its origin in London, where it is believed to have been designed by London hat-makers in 1849. … The Americans named it ‘Derby hat.

Is a derby a hat?

A derby is a type of hat that’s round, felt, stiff, and has a narrow brim. Wear one with a little mustache and a cane, and you’ll look just like Charlie Chaplin.

What’s the difference between a bowler hat and a fedora?

A bowler or derby hat has a round crown with no indentation, and a narrow brim curled on the side. A fedora has a tear-drop shaped crown, low sitting, and a slightly wider, flat brim. … Each hat style can be modified slightly but is usually unmistakably a bowler (or derby) or a fedora.

What does a bowler hat represent?

They were popular among the working classes in the 19th century, but from the early 20th century bowler hats were more commonly associated with businessmen working in the financial districts, also known as “City Gents”. The traditional wearing of bowler hats with City business attire declined during the 1970s.

Why do Orangemen wear bowler hats?

The Orangemen of Northern Ireland wear bowler hats because the hats are associated with loyalty to Great Britain and a symbol of authority that was.

When would you wear a bowler hat?

The bowler (or coke hat) is a traditional style originally designed by William Coke in 1849. It’s a hard hat with a short, rolled brim and a thin grosgrain band. Favoured by none other than Sir Winston Churchill himself, the Homburg is a strictly formal hat, best worn with evening wear.

Are bowler hats in style?

But, after that point, it truly did fall out of fashion. These days, bowler hats are exceedingly rare, though they are still worn by vintage hat enthusiasts and by hipsters, of course, in a more casual way. And more feminine versions of bowler hats, more similar to a cloche style, can also be seen in women’s fashion.

What hats did cowboys wear?

The working cowboy wore wide-brimmed and high-crowned hats. The hats were most likely adopted from the Mexican Vaqueros before the invention of the modern design. John Batterson Stetson is credited for originating the modern day American Cowboy Hat.

Is a bowler hat a top hat?

The bowler is a brother to the top hat. Where a top hat has a flat crown, the bowler has a round, stiff crown. In America, the bowler is considered the “hat that won the West,” as it was the preferred hat worn by men, rather than the cowboy hat.

Are bowler hats British?

A bowler hat has a hard rounded crown, originally developed in the mid-1800s for British soldiers. The bowler hat quickly gained a foothold in England, even outside the army and was popular among the working class in the second half of the 1800s. It later also gained a lot of ground among the middle and upper classes.

How is a bowler hat made?

All the first bowler hats were made using fur felt. This not only ensured their robustness and style but also made them water repellent. The today’s bowler hat is made of rabbit fur or wool felt that has been tightly spun, a process that ensures that they are still as robust and long-lasting as the original hats.

What hat did Churchill wear?

While Churchill favored softer, less structured headwear as he grew older, he continued to wear Homburgs to the end of his life. His large collection of hats included a straw Panama, a dark brown Homburg, a black “John Bull,” and a gray top hat. All were made for him by Scott & Co. of Old Bond Street.

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