Bowler Hat vs Derby

Bowler hats and derby hats look very similar to each other. Even the terms have been used interchangeably for each other. People may refer to a bowler hat as a derby hat, and vice versa. So, is there any actual difference between a bowler hat vs derby hat? The following article will tell you the differences between the two.

Continue reading below to find more information about:
– What are bowler hats and derby hats,
– The differences between a bowler hat vs derby hat, and
– Whether you should choose a bowler hat or derby hat.

The Origins
A bowler hat is actually similar to the derby hat. It is a hard felt hat that features a rounded crown. It is a protective and durable piece, hence the popularity. According to Wikipedia, it was first created in 1849 by London hat makers Thomas and William Bowler. It became very popular among working classes of the British, Irish, and American people. Later, it used more by middle and upper classes in the UK, Ireland, and eastern US.

On the other hand, the term “derby hat” is most commonly used by the American people. It actually refers to the same bowler hat. So, in most cases, the difference is just about the terminology – bowler hats are more common in the UK and Ireland whereas derby hats are used by the Americans. See also: Cap vs Hat.

The Designs
Although it has been said that bowler hats and derby hats are similar, there is actually a minor difference between the styles. This is just a slight difference that will not cause a significant effect to the use in the current time, but still makes a notable distinction if you want to be very detailed.

Until the ‘60s, a bowler hat typically has a narrower brim. The brim is more-or-less consistent around the hat. On the other hand, a derby hat typically has a wider brim with flatter parts on the front and back. Then again, modern bowler hats and derby hats nowadays are available in many brim sizes, so you can’t really distinguish them by the brim size.

The Colors
Now, there is one thing that you can use to put bowler hats and derby hats apart, which is the color. This is especially true for English hats. A bowler hat always comes in the black color. It is usually used as for citywear. You don’t often come across a bowler hat that isn’t black.

On the other hand, both English and American derby hats may come in other colors. They may be black, but they may also come in gray or even brown. These alternative colors are especially suitable for country events instead of citywear.

Bowler Hat vs Derby

Bowler HatDerby Hat
- The term used in British English- The term used in American English
- Traditional designs have a narrower brim that is consistent around- Traditionally has a wider brim, flatter parts on the front and rear
- Always come in black- May come in other colors such as black, gray, brown
- Used for citywear- Alternative colors are more suitable for country events

Bowler hats and derby hats are similar. Bowler hat is the term used in British English, whereas derby hat is the term used in American English. However, bowler hats usually come in black and hence used for citywear. Derby hats may come in other colors such as gray and brown, and may be used for country events.

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