Fedora vs. Trilby: Know the Differences
Headwear Education

Fedora vs. Trilby: Know the Differences

11 avril, 2023

Discover the difference between a fedora and trilby hat, how they became famous, when to wear each, and how to style them to perfection.


The fedora and the trilby—two iconic hats that have both spanned the generations—and have caused a bit of confusion between the two.

While both hats share widespread popularity today, the fedora is undoubtedly the more famous of the two. This has led to many trilby hats being mistaken for fedoras and vice versa. But for the stylish, the fashion lover, or simply those who like to dress well, knowing the difference between a fedora and a trilby can be a feather in your cap.

To help you decide whether you’re on team fedora or team trilby (or as we prefer, both), we’ve compiled this comprehensive guide on the difference between the hats and how with Brixton each can help you take your wardrobe to the next level.

What Is a Fedora Hat?

The fedora became popular in the late 1800s when French stage actress Sarah Bernhardt wore an early rendition of the hat in a play entitled Fédora.

Today the modern fedora displays several key characteristics, including:

  • A brim of two inches or wider
  • A center-crease crown style, like a teardrop, diamond, or telescope crown

A fedora is a timeless piece of headwear that quickly became the mark of a gentleman. However, today fedoras are worn by men and women alike and can be dressed up or down while still lending any outfit a sense of sophistication.

Some of the world’s most famous fedora wearers include:

  • Frank Sinatra
  • Humphrey Bogart
  • Indiana Jones

What Is a Trilby Hat?

Like the fedora, the trilby had its debut onstage in an 1894 play adaptation of the novel Trilby by George du Maurier, and can easily be described as a “fedora-style” hat.

Trilby Gain Hat Olive SurplusTrilby Gain Hat black

Today’s trilby hats have several unique characteristics:

  • A short brim size that offers little to no sun protection for the face—the trilby is, in every sense, solely a fashion statement
  • A pointier version of a center-crease crown style

However, due to its overall similarities with the more famous fedora, you’ll often see the trilby called a short-brimmed fedora.

Some of the most popular trilby hat wearers include:

  • Leonard Cohen
  • Justin Timberlake
  • Bruno Mars
  • And again, Frank Sinatra

Differences Between a Trilby and Fedora

There are many easily identifiable differences between a fedora and trilby if you know where to look. The table of characteristics below should help you identify which is which with complete ease:

Fedora Trilby
Brim Size A minimum of two to three inches Extremely narrow brim, often curled upwards, that provides little to no sun protection
Crown Shape Center-crease teardrop, diamond, or telescope crown Center-crease crown that’s much pointier than the fedora
Materials Used Traditionally wool or felt, today any high-quality materials like cotton, leather, straw, or tweed are popular No traditionally preferred materials and modern trilby hats are often made of a variety of fabrics
How to Wear Worn on top of the head and slightly over the eyes Worn on the back of the head and tilted upwards giving the illusion of being smaller than the head itself
Styling Can be dressed up or down by men and women Usually worn with smart casual or casual outfits by both men and women

When to Wear a Fedora vs. a Trilby

While the fedora is appropriate for formal occasions like weddings, funerals, and business meetings, the trilby is better suited to relaxed events or outings. Brunch with friends, a night on the town, or a picnic are all activities the trilby is perfectly suited for.

Regardless of these guidelines, though, there’s no real limit to when or where you can wear a fedora or trilby. In the end, it all comes down to your taste and sense of style.

Tips for Choosing Between Fedora and Trilby

When choosing between a fedora and a trilby there are a few things to consider:

  • Occasion - Although it’s ultimately up to you when you want to wear either hat, the fedora has traditionally been the more formal hat, while the trilby is great for casual occasions.
  • Face shape - If you have a rounder face, a trilby can help elongate it while a fedora may make it appear wider. The opposite is true if you have a longer face.
  • Personal style - If you prefer a more formal, classic look, a fedora may be your best choice. However, if you enjoy dressing in modern, casual styles you may prefer the trilby.
  • Comfort - Both hats are comfortable when worn correctly. However, if you’re looking for a hat that offers sun protection, the fedora is the clear winner.

The Fedora: A Classic Look for Every Occasion with Brixton

One of our favorite ways to wear a fedora hat for men is by layering a plain t-shirt under a colorful or bold button-down, combining it with straight-leg pants or denim, and topping the look off with our versatile Wesley Fedora.

For a more feminine look, don our stunning small-brim fedora hat for women, the Messer Fedora, with an oversized corduroy button-down and a pair of straight-leg pants.

The Trilby: A Casual Hat for the Modern Man with Brixton

Embrace unique, casual flair with an oversized shirt, denim shorts, and the short-brimmed Gain Fedora in olive surplus, perfect for windy summer days.

Or pair the Gain Fedora in black with a flannel button-down and dark denim for a sleek yet casual look, perfect for drinks out with friends.

Whether you’re a fedora or trilby hat wearer, Brixton has a range of gorgeous options for you to choose from. And, if one of our elegant fedora or trilby hats catches your eye, why not make it your own by adding monogramming, special charms, feathers, or one of our stand-out hat bands to bring a personal touch to your headwear?

Shop Brixton online or visit us in-store for the most iconic hats done proper.

11 avril, 2023
Latest from

Featured Articles

Ellie's First Mother's Day

Ellie’s First Mother’s Day

Happy Mother's Day! We sat down with mum-to-be and ambassador Ellie Brooks to talk all things motherhood and fashion.

09 mai, 2024
Raw Duo: Rumbling Lips

Raw Duo: Rumbling Lips

Discover the electrifying synergy of Rumbling Lips, a dynamic rock duo that packs more punch than a full band. With raw vocals and primal rhythms, their music resonates with the intensity of Delta blues and 60s psychedelia.

21 février, 2024
Out there: Riley Hawk

Out there: Riley Hawk

Thrasher Magazine presents 'Out There', a video part featuring Riley Hawk.

15 février, 2024