How much do you know about the pork pie hat? This unique style has been around since the 1800s and has managed to stay fashionably relevant even today.
Some intriguing facts about pork pie hats include celebrities throughout the decades–one of which was a cartoon–whose characters wore pork pie hats, thus keeping the fashion trendy.
Want to know more? Keep reading to learn five intriguing facts about pork pie hats!
The Hat’s Design Resembles a Pork-Filled Pastry First Made for Fox Hunters in the Eighteenth Century
It’s relatively well-known that pork pie hats are named for a pork-filled pastry bearing a similar design. Many don’t know that bakers in Leicestershire created the now-infamous Melton Mowbray pork pies as a solution for fox hunters in need of food eaten easily while on the move. The pie’s crust was neatly creased at the edges to prevent leakage, giving the pastry its unique look for which the hats are named after. Read more about the origin of the pork pie hat in this article.
The First Pork Pie Hats Were Originally Worn by Women
While seemingly a male-dominated fashion, it is believed that the first hats to be called pork pies were primarily worn by British and American women circa 1830 to 1865. Hats were made by coating a cotton canvas with straw, felt, and silk, and they typically had dangling ribbons or a bow with feathers where the crown and brim joined together.
At the time, it was common for women to wear pork pie hats as a fashion accessory to their elaborate hairstyles or coiffeurs.
A Celebrity Gave the Pork Pie Hat Its Peak 15-Minutes of Fame During the Great Depression
The pork pie hat has never been more popular than it was during the Great Depression. (And we won’t try to decode any significant meaning behind that!) Famous movie star Buster Keaton of the silent film era wore a pork pie as his signature hat, although they were modified Stetsons, usually. The hat style remained fashionable into the 1930s (and beyond), but the hat took on a snap-brim and heightened crown.
One of the Most Famous Pork Pie Hat Wearers From the 1960s to the 1980s Was a Cartoon Bear
In 1958, Hanna-Barbera debuted its character Yogi Bear in a Huckleberry Hound cartoon. This funny, animated bear in a pork pie hat was ultimately much more popular than his straw-hat-wearing dog pal, and by 1961, Yogi Bear premiered as its own show. The original version of the cartoon kept the pork pie hat prevalent until 1988. Read more about Yogi Bear’s hat in this article.
The Pork Pie Hat Currently Is Famous Simply Because It Was in the Right Place at the Right Time
Many celebrities, including Justin Timberlake, Brad Pitt, and Robert Downey Jr., have all been spotted sporting this snap-brim in the last decade or so. Yet, without a doubt, the pork pie hat’s recent resurgence is thanks to Bryan Cranston’s character, Walter White, or more appropriately, his alter-ego, “Heisenberg,” on the AMC TV series Breaking Bad. Check out this Heisenberg hat on Amazon.
The pork pie was provided to Cranston (who had shaved his head to portray the cancer victim) to prevent sunburn during filming in the desert. Read more about Heisenberg and his hat here.
Pork pie hats have quite an intriguing history behind them. They have been fashionable worldwide for over a century, and despite having already seen their peak in popularity, they remain a timeless fashion choice still today.