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I am thinking about purchasing a Homburg style hat. I already own a brown fedora and I think that it is a little too casual to be worn all the time. Would a Homburg be considered more formal? Is a homburg a good style to go with for my 2nd hat purchase?
I am a rookie when it comes to chapeaus and any insight you gentlemen can offer would be greatly appreciated.
 

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I am partial to fedoras to wear with business suits. Some colors look more formal than others, black looking the most formal, and medium brown having the ability to look both business-like and adventuresome.

A homburg is clearly more formal. I have a gray one that I wear with a gray herringbone chesterfield coat when wearing black tie. Do make sure you go to a good hatter and try them on. The fedoras look good on me with the front brim snapped down, and not so good in the up position. A homburg's brim has a finished edge and sweeps upwards. It took me a while to find one with "enough brim" to go with my face shape and broad shoulders.

Bowlers and derbys are also seen as more formal than fedoras, but, again be sure to try them on before buying. They are not for everyone.

If you are trying to go slightly more formal than your fedora, to wear with a business suit,try fedoras with darker colors and a black hat band, especially a black fedora with a black hat band. Also make sure your fedoras are made of fur felt, not wool.

Good luck and enjoy. I would love to see the fedora become, once again, standard dress for men. I am doing my best by wearing one every day.
 

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I too have become interested in Homburgs. And while I'm not nearly as familiar with hats as JWM1960, I think he made a number of good and important points regarding selecting one. I've found when I've browsed on-line that the selection of Homburg shapes and colors is very limited compared to what I've seen depicted in older illustrations. This isn't surprising. But even my limited familiarity has shown that small differences of shape, color and brim size can make huge differences as to whether a hat is becoming, or not.
 

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If in Baltimore (or passing through) try Hippodrome Hatters in the 300 block West Baltimore Street (just a block or two east of UM Law School). The store has brand names as well as its own label (which is extraordinary and affordable), and has a very large selection of styles, colors, and sizes. Best of all, the owner has a very good eye for what will look on you and what will miss. He also is a perfectionist at fitting your hat to your head. Wear your favorite overcoat and he will get the perfect colors for you. He is also a full service hatter, so he will give attention to any hat that you wear into his store whether you bought it there or not. His web site is hiphats.com, but do go see him. His expertise is worth the trip.
 

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My understanding is that next to a top hat, a homburg is the most formal style available.

Arn't bowlers and derbys the same thing?
Yes, that is my understanding. I see the terms used interchangeably. It may be my imagination but it seems that English hatmakers tend to use the term "derby" and US hatmakers tend to use the term "bowler", but certainly, not exclusively. In any case, some might argue that all hats are out of style, but certainly bowlers/derbys are rarely seen anymore. Christy's makes a great looking (albeit expensive) bowler.
 

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HATS OFF! AND ON.

The Homburg is most definitely a formal hat, with only the top hat "topping" it in formality.

I have always been a "hat man" and most of my hats have been vintage ones purchased through antique dealers. I have a true navy, a black, a coffee brown, a slightly lighter brown and three shades of gray Homburgs I wore them in Washington to "state" occasions, formal dinners etc., but now mainly wear them to funerals. The blue and black and dark gray ones with navy, dark gray or black suits and overcoats; the brown ones on formal daytime occasions that involved being outdoors at least part of the time -- usually with a camel hair polo coat, brown tweed overcoat or (occasionally) a Burberry trench.

Fedoras are superbly versatile and, as JWM1960 notes, can dress up or down with a variety of suits and sportcoats. I have a rule that I generally do not wear a brown hat at night -- only grays or blacks (or that true Navy Homberg, which looks black).

Hats are immensely practical. The really good ones (fur, prefferably beaver) can withstand rain and snow just fine if you just set them aside and let them dry (after which they will need a gentle brushing). They keep your head warm; they pull together your whole look with a topcoat (I happen to think men look incomplete with a trench or topcoat and no hat, but then, I'm hopelessly old fashioned).

Hats also allow you to show proper respect when greeting someone, especially a lady, by their removal. Incidentally, men who know hats never remove them by grasping the top front, or "nose" with their thumb and forefinger. The remove it with thumb and curled forefinger grasping the brim. This prevents the nose from becoming gradually matted with body oils, which attract dirt. Well, there, more than you need or want to know from someone who loves hats.l
 

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I own a black homburg which I wear exclusively with semi-formal wear.
That being said, it is a fine hat for daytime wear with a suit. Over at the fedora Lounge there ae any number of men who swear to the versatility of the homburg.
 

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I am thinking about purchasing a Homburg style hat. I already own a brown fedora and I think that it is a little too casual to be worn all the time. Would a Homburg be considered more formal? Is a homburg a good style to go with for my 2nd hat purchase?
I am a rookie when it comes to chapeaus and any insight you gentlemen can offer would be greatly appreciated.
Wall:

You might consider an investment in the CD-Rom, The Encyclopedia of Men's Clothes. The Hat Chapter is full of good information, styles, hat care, history, etc.
 

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My own (entirely subjective) impression is that, sadly, homburgs nowadays come close to crossing over into the realm of "costume" while bowlers/derbies/coke hats (another name that I believe is associated w/ the model sold by Lock of London) almost certainly do. Both lamentable developments, but if you happen to worry about such things, it's best to be aware of that before you buy one of these stylish yet somewhat archaic skypieces. If not, wear away and wear in good health.

Having said what I have about bowlers and homburgs, I wear brown and gray fedoras all the time (I more or less have to wear hats, being bald), and I'm sure some people would regard them as examples of "costume" as well. I also agree with everything that RKB says above about the virtues of hat-wearing. It's fun to see someone's positive reaction (esp if that someone is a lady) when you tip your hat to them, and it's nice to be able to explain to your nephew why you took your hat off while passing a church or if a funeral or the U.S. flag has just gone by.

PS: Lock is indeed the "coke hat" shop:
https://www.lockhatters.co.uk/Top_Hats___Coke__Bowler_-Town_Coke-P98.aspx
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Thank you all very much for the input. I think I will try and add a few more Fedoras to my collection. I really do like the way they look. I think a homburg would be perceived as uppity or too costumey as I am only in my mid 20's, although I don't think I will let that stop me from purchasing one in the near future!
It seems that, as with most things clothing, fit is very important. I dont have a hatter anywhere in my immediate area. Does anyone know of a good one in the Chicago area?
 

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I'm thinking of getting a homburg soon for semi-formal day/evening wear. I do not consider the fedora or trilby formal enough to wear with Black Tie or a stroller.

A bowler is different from a homburg; the latter has a valley at the top of the crown whilst the former is completely round. Also, the former is hard and the latter is semi-stiff.

I am puzzled as to why proper hats are considered costume. Surely, the youngsters of the town who wear baseball caps, etc are wearing them for a fashion statement/showing off/non-fuctional purpose and that in itself I consider more in the realms of costume.

If the hat looks good on you and above all is functional to the occasion then it is a good hat. Don't be timid otherwise the goths/emos/etc will win and they are daring and don't give a monkey's what others think. We shouldn't be afraid.
 

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I am puzzled as to why proper hats are considered costume.
Because people have no idea how to choose them properly so that they are made to suit the wearer's face and head shape. Nor do they know to co-ordinate wearing them with the rest of the clothes.

So, they end up looking like Binks or Bill - usually far worse.
 
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