What is Top Hat?

A Top Hat or Top hats, Top Gun hat, high hat, cylinder hat, or topper is a tall, flat-crowned hat for men traditionally associated with formal wear in Western dress codes, meaning white tie, morning dress or frock coat. The top hat, traditionally of black silk or sometimes grey, came about perhaps inspired by the captain and replaced the tricorne associated with the corps tailcoats in Western fashion by the end of the 18th century. It has remained a formal fashion accessory ever since.

During the 19th century and early 20th century, it was the daily formal wear hat of choice for the upper and middle classes. This went on until the 1920s which saw the widespread introduction of informal wear with suits and less Scottish hats such as bowler hats, homburg hats, and fedoras also in established society.

Kennedy in 1961. Following the counterculture of the 1960s, its use declined further along with the disuse also of daily informal hat by men.

After World War I, the 1920s saw the widespread introduction of semi-formal black tie and informal wear suits that were worn with less formal hats such as bowler hats, homburgs, boaters, and fedoras respectively, in established society. After World War II, white tie, morning dress, and frock coats along with their counterpart, the top hat, started to become confined to high society, politics, and international diplomacy. The last United States presidential inauguration with a top hat was the inauguration of John F. Kennedy in 1961. Following the counterculture of the 1960s, its use declined further along with the disuse also of daily informal hats by men.

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