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Homburg vs. Fedora? Which would be a better purchase?

SLOshank

New in Town
Messages
42
Location
San Luis Obispo, CA
I have two questions that I hope some of you sages can answer for me. I will be attending a number of outdoor events this summer where I will be wearing either a navy blue or charcoal grey business suits. I need a decent hat to wear because even though it won't be overly hot I detest the ball cap/emergency hankie/just let your head burn options that so many people take.

What would be more appropriate -- a Homburg or a Fedora? I was considering a black fedora but I really don't know if that's a good choice or not? I think a homburg might look better on my huge skull (7 7/8 or 8) and possibly a little bit less contrived than a fedora.

Also, I have always wondered, in post WWII USA, in a business setting, who wore fedoras and who wore homburgs? I remember asking my uncle who always wore a fedora to work (AT&T in San Francisco) if he ever wore a homburg? He just laughed and shook his head "no." My question was so absurd to him that he wouldn't answer any further after repeated prodding. Almost as if I asked him if he wore a tuxedo to work. What's the story? Thank you.
 

scotrace

Head Bartender
Staff member
Messages
14,337
Location
Small Town Ohio, USA
Welcome to The Fedora Lounge.

Your uncle may have been amused because a homburg is generally associated with formal/state/business occasions and dress. You would have seen the Secretary of State in a homburg, but the local guy in a suit at an outdoor function in a fedora. If it were me, personally, I'd go with the latter.
Having three very nice homburgs (light gray, navy, black), they very, very rarely get out of their boxes.
 

Crazy Legs

Familiar Face
Messages
60
Location
The center of South Carolina
Questions are always welcome here at The Fedora Lounge. My 2 cents would be to look into a nice straw hat. Summertime can be a real test with a bever or nice felt Fedora on your noggin. But there are plenty of options of dressy straw fedoras that will look fine with your suits.
 

Shangas

I'll Lock Up
Messages
6,114
Location
Melbourne, Australia
Fedora / trilby. But as Crazy Legs says, wearing a felt hat on a scalding hot day is not an option. Wear straw or something similar, that's light and breathy.
 

Tomasso

Incurably Addicted
Messages
13,719
Location
USA
Sounds like you've made up your mind. Give the felt a try, you can always get a straw later on if (when ;)) you find it to be too warm.
 

facade

A-List Customer
Messages
315
Location
Conklin, NY
I have two questions that I hope some of you sages can answer for me. I will be attending a number of outdoor events this summer where I will be wearing either a navy blue or charcoal grey business suits. I need a decent hat to wear because even though it won't be overly hot I detest the ball cap/emergency hankie/just let your head burn options that so many people take.

What would be more appropriate -- a Homburg or a Fedora? I was considering a black fedora but I really don't know if that's a good choice or not? I think a homburg might look better on my huge skull (7 7/8 or 8) and possibly a little bit less contrived than a fedora.

Also, I have always wondered, in post WWII USA, in a business setting, who wore fedoras and who wore homburgs? I remember asking my uncle who always wore a fedora to work (AT&T in San Francisco) if he ever wore a homburg? He just laughed and shook his head "no." My question was so absurd to him that he wouldn't answer any further after repeated prodding. Almost as if I asked him if he wore a tuxedo to work. What's the story? Thank you.

A Homburg is generally viewed as the dressier of the two hats. Using the old guidelines, its probably not the right choice for outdoor business events. However since the old hat rules mean absolutely nothing in todays society, what is more important is that you wear the hat that you feel the most confident about. If you choose to go with felt, I'd go with some shade of gray over black.
 

STEVIEBOY1

One Too Many
Messages
1,009
Location
London UK
Having recently bought a black Fedora whichI am very pleased with and enjoy wearing.
I would suggest that, althought I am sure a Homburg is very good, I think a Fedora would be fine for summer wear. Rgds Steve.
 

Brent Hutto

One of the Regulars
Messages
268
Location
South Carolina, USA
If you want to look like a man in a Homburg hat then buy a Homburg. Otherwise, stick to one of the many variations on Fedoras. The "man in a Homburg hat" to me is a very specific look. I like the look but would not feel comfortable sporting it, myself.

Dig through the Lounge and find some photos of men in Homburgs, either Lounge folk or old photos. You will pretty quickly decide whether that's what you're going for or not.
 

Edward

Bartender
Messages
23,139
Location
London, UK
Good point. A black felt in CA in summer? You'll cook.

The colour wouldn't make any difference (I've seen a bunch of scientific studies reported on this, though it was a few years ago), but no, I wouldn't attempt to wear fur felt in California in the Summer myself. I'd go with a Akubra Capricorn in the situation described.

A bowler/derby might be an option too.

I would not suggest it for a first hat, in this sort of situation. IMO, 0f all the hats, even including top hats, a bowler is most likely to be dismissed as costume. As a general rule I don't care what other people think of how I choose to dress, but in a business setting, it does matter.
 
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1961MJS

My Mail is Forwarded Here
Messages
3,343
Location
Norman Oklahoma
If you want to look like a man in a Homburg hat then buy a Homburg. Otherwise, stick to one of the many variations on Fedoras. The "man in a Homburg hat" to me is a very specific look. I like the look but would not feel comfortable sporting it, myself.

Dig through the Lounge and find some photos of men in Homburgs, either Lounge folk or old photos. You will pretty quickly decide whether that's what you're going for or not.
Hi

He's right on here, the Homburg needs a formal or nearly formal look to go with it. If memory serves from "Hatless Jack" Eisenhower wore a Homburg to the formal stuff as President. To pull off a Homburg you'll probably need a conservative 3-piece suit and a VERY conservative tie to go with it. On the other hand, a conservative navy or lighter gray suit pair with a gray homburg MIGHT work. PERSONALLY I go with the guys who suggested a Panama, heck, this may be one of those situations that calls for a boater...

O.K. I went back and read the original post, scratch the Boater unless they've seen you in one at work before. They haven't, you don't own one yet right???

Later Y'all
 

Alan-Eby

Familiar Face
Messages
96
Location
Western New Mexico
Which ever you like, I think my homburg spends equal time on my along with my fedora. I don't often dress too formally, but I still love my homburg.
So go to a hat shop and try out the look of each and get which ever looks best to you.
 

Edward

Bartender
Messages
23,139
Location
London, UK
Hombergs were very common over this side of the Atlantic right up til the Thirties, when the fedora style started to take over afaik (the Thirties also saw the very beginnings of the hatless trend in the UK, I believe). Had they only ever been a formal hat, you wouldn't see such things as the existence of vintage examples in brown, at least as I see it. Vintage examples tend to be significantly cheaper than fedoras of an equivalent age and quality - supply and demand at work - so you can pick up a real bargain. Giving it a fedora style pinch can 'soften' the look, and was very common back in the day. On the flipside, something fedora-shaped is less unusual nowadays. A panama or similar would probably be the least 'outlandish' to modern eyes if the concern is to protect the head while not standing out too much in a business gathering. For straws, though, I've actually come some way to prefer a good poly straw like my Akubra Capricorns as I need not fear the ill effects of rain on those.
 

fmw

One Too Many
Messages
1,017
Location
USA
I'm not sure how formal you need to be in a Homburg. Last time I visited the doctor I wore mine with slacks, shirt, sweater and overcoat. I didn't feel particularly overdressed. If it had been warm enough to forego the overcoat, however, I probably wouldn't have worn it. For summer, though, I agree with the straw hat crowd. Check Panama Bob's offerings. He has fedoras in virtually any style and quality of panama hat. There are straw homburgs, too, for that matter.
 

kaosharper1

One Too Many
Messages
1,304
Location
Pasadena, CA
The homburg won't give you much protection from the sun with what are usually narrow brims. I also think that even on the coast in the summer a panama would be more appropriate. If you do wear a felt it should probably be a light colored one. I find in SoCal dark felts just don't look right once it gets warmer in addition to absorbing the sun. I'd go with a light grey or blue.
 
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