A popular fashion trend of the 1980s was Fedora Hats. However the fashion goes much further back then that, and its origins actually has a deep history.
Throughout the 60s and 70s, it was fairly uncommon to see people wearing anything other than a baseball cap when it came to headgear.
However, all of that changed in the 1980s with the release of the popular films like “The Blues Brothers” (1980) and “Raiders Of The Lost Ark” (1981).
The History Of Fedora Hats
The fedora has changed in design over the years. First created back in 1883, the original fedora was a very popular hat for women, but was generally not worn by men.
This original design featured soft felt, but it had a tapered crown, with a deep center crease. Today, this original fedora is more commonly referred to as an “Alpine” or “Tyrolean”. But all of that changed at the turn of the 20th century, as men were looking for an alternative to the popular Derby style hat.
The Roaring Twenties
It was 1920 when the fedora started growing in popularity as an alternative to the Derby. At the time, they were still considered to be unisex, however their popularity with men grew increasingly throughout the decade.
By the 1930s, the fedora had become a predominantly male accessory, and was often seen in Hollywood films being worn by detectives or members of the Mafia.
The popularity of the fedora peaked out in the 1930s before fading away into obscurity after the second world war, and it would be several decades before it resurfaced again in pop culture.
Fedoras In The 80s
By the 1950s, the fedora had all but faded out of memory as most men preferred to leave their homes without wearing any hat at all. The baby boomer generation as a general rule shunned the wearing of hats, and instead preferred to let their hair whip in the wind as they drove through the countryside.
Throughout the 1960s and 70s, the most popular form of headwear for men was the baseball hat. It wasn’t until the 1980s that the fedora reemerged as a popular fashion accessory, and that popularity can be attributed to 1980s films like “The Blues Brothers” and “Indiana Jones”.
The Blues Brothers
In 1980 the cult classic film “The Blues Brothers” came out, and oddly enough it had a heavy impact on 80s fashion. The film was based on the Saturday Night Live sketch comedy of the same name on NBC, and it starred Dan Aykroyd and John Belushi.
In the film both John Belushi and Dan Aykroyd were dressed in black suits, and they also are both seen sporting stingy brim black fedora hats, once again bringing them to the forefront.
Interestingly enough, The Blues Brothers is also credited for starting the 1980s Ray-Ban Sunglasses trend as both Belushi and Aykroyd wore the now infamous Ray-Ban Wayfarers in the film, which of course would also be further popularized by Tom Cruise in his blockbuster hit “Top Gun” in 1986.
In 1981, “Raiders Of The Lost Ark” was released, and the main character “Indiana Jones” wore his trademark fedora hat. Indiana Jones was set back in 1936 when fedoras were still very popular.
The main character, who was played by Harrison Ford, has been hired to locate a golden Ark before the Nazis could get their hands on it. Jones, having experience with recovering lost treasures, was convinced to travel halfway around the world in order to discover its location.
Throughout the film, as well as the entire film series, Indiana Jones was always seen wearing a leather jacket and fedora, while also carrying a pistol and a whip. He was the epitome of ruggedness and masculinity at the time, and everyone wanted to dress just like him. The popularity of the fedora hat exploded as a result.
Two years after the release of Indiana Jones, the fedora became part of Michael Jackson’s style. Throughout the early 1980s it was very common to see Michael Jackson photographed in some sort of fedora hat.
Jackson released the song Smooth Criminal as part of his “Bad” album back in 1988. The music video garnered a lot of airtime on MTV, and featured Michael Jackson wearing his signature white fedora hat.
While not everybody liked the look of the brown felt fedora worn by Indiana Jones, Michael Jackson’s white fedora was extremely popular.
Are Fedora Hats Still Popular?
Fedora hats are still actually pretty popular today. It’s one of the few fashion trends from the 1980s that survived the test of time.
These days we see everyone from average joes to celebrities wearing them, and it is a hat that we don’t think will go out of style any time soon.
So if you’re in the market for a hat that has a timeless feel, definitely consider adding a fedora hat to your wardrobe. It’s one of those 80s fashion accessories that will likely be fashionable for a long time to come.