7 Famous People Who Wore Top Hats

The top hat is one of the most prominent hat styles in modern history. However, what notable public figures have been known to adorn this fashion staple? 

Famous people who wore top hats include President Abraham Lincoln, Duke Ellington, Josephine Baker, and Slash. This 18th-century era hat replaced the tricorn hat in completing elegant and vintage outfits for centuries.

This article will share the names of seven notable celebrities who have been known to wear top hats. But first, let’s start off by reviewing the history of this vintage, elegant headwear.

The History of Top Hats

It is speculated that the top hat rose into prominence as a result of the popular capotain hat. The capotain is said to have influenced the cylindrical design of the bolder and taller top hat.

The top hat trend first spread into Western society by the end of the 18th century. The top hat, at this time, was worn traditionally with the Western dress code, which would consist of a white tie, slacks, and a coat.

By the 1960s, the top hat had subsided into a sector of subculture. From this point on, the top hat would be worn as an accessory to the formal dress code. Discover more intriguing facts about top hats here.

Abraham Lincoln

Abraham Lincoln is best known for his time as a former President of the United States. However, historians describe the former President as a tall, slender man known to stand out in any crowd. 

The top hat was a staple of President Lincoln’s taste in fashion. Even on the night of his death, Lincoln was seen adorning a 7 inch top hat tailored for him by a Washington hat maker. Discover more about Lincoln’s hat here.

Abraham Lincoln wearing his top hat
L. Hollis, J.C. Huttre, B.B. Russell & Co., Boston, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Duke Ellington

Duke Ellington was a prominent figure in the 1920’s jazz piano and orchestra scene. A key part of Duke Ellington’s image was his dapper dress, complete with a top hat. He was known to wear the top hat tilted slightly to the side. 

Josephine Baker

Josephine Baker was known for working as a civil rights activist and iconic jazz musician. This brave woman was one of the first female public figures to adorn the top hat.  

In 1932, Baker wore a tuxedo ensemble complete with a top hat for her production of La Joie de Paris. Baker was an early pioneer in terms of breaking down gender norms by dressing the way that she did for a major production.

Slash

Slash, the infamous guitar player for the 80’s rock group Guns N’ Roses, has been known to pair a top hat with darkened sunglasses. This is just one example of musicians having a signature wardrobe choice that defines their image. For example, Michael Jackson was known for adorning a single fingerless glove while on stage.

Slash’s signature wardrobe choices date back to 1985. After performing at a West Hollywood venue, the guitarist went shopping on Melrose Boulevard, where he purchased his infamous top hat. 

Austin Lane Crothers

Crothers was best known for serving as the 46th governor of Maryland. The top hat was a major staple of this former governor when he served the state of Maryland from 1908-1912.

Winston Churchill

Along with his cigar, the top hat was a staple of Churchill’s style. Churchill would often be spotted adorning a top hat along with a black or grey long frock coat. The former prime minister’s iconic cigar pipe and top hat were recently discovered at a garbage dump. Read more about Churchill’s hat here.

Winston Churchill
“Winston Churchill à Metz, aux côtés de Robert Schuman (14 juillet 1946)” by Bibliothèques-Médiathèques de Metz is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

T-Pain

T-Pain, the famous hip-hop artist, is a modern musician with a bold sense of fashion. T-Pain has been spotted at numerous award shows and concerts, wearing a vintage top hat as a nod to the once more prominent fashion accessory. 

Conclusion

The top hat has been a staple in popular culture and fashion trends since the 18th century. Today, we still see a number of musicians, politicians, and other public figures rocking the top hat as a nod to the vintage model of hat.

It is not uncommon to see trends last for centuries as the top hat has. Thanks to a number of influential public and historical figures modeling this iconic accessory, the top hat has withstood the test of time and remains a nod to the 18th-century invention.

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