Home > Hat Facts > Differences Between a Boater and a Pork Pie Hat

Differences Between a Boater and a Pork Pie Hat

By Taylor James


Updated on

For hat enthusiasts all around the globe, comparing a boater and a pork pie hat may seem unusual. For those who are not as familiar with different hat styles, this particular pairing is encouraged by both of the styles’ narrow crowns, giving them a similar structure. Beyond this shape, boater and pork pie hats have many more meaningful differences. So, what are they?

The main differences between a boater and a pork pie hat lie in their materials, their creases, and details like ribbons and edges. A pork pie hat has a characteristic crown that is pinched all the way around the top. Boaters are typically made from straw and have completely flat crowns with a signature ribbon.

This article will dive deeper into the main differences between these two styles, their pros and cons, and how to know which of these two is the best option for you.

Boater Hats: An Overview

Once you know how to identify one, there is no mistaking a boater hat. Traditionally made of straw and maintaining the natural color of the material, boater hats are classic daytime options, known for, you guessed it – boating! If you were to ever be invited to spend the day on a yacht, this might be the perfect option for you. 

Beyond their narrow crowns, boater hats have completely flat tops and flat brims, containing no creases, folds, or turned edges for details. Their signature flair depends on its classic ribbon, often seen in a combination of navy blue and red.

Pros of Boater Hats

  • Stylish: Paired with a smart, breezy outfit, there is no going wrong with a boater hat for a day near the water. This popular boater on Amazon is a great example.
  • Lightweight and breezy: The straw material means your head will stay cool and airy, all while keeping you protected from the sun.

Cons of Boater Hats 

  • Generally comes in one style: Due to their singular look and traditional material, a boater hat will not guarantee you a unique look – you might find yourself matching with strangers on your day out!
  • Not ideal for every head shape: Because of its narrow crown, the boater hat might be hard to fit on specific heads, consider width and sizing. 

Pork Pie Hats: An Overview

Pork pie hats have gained fame through the popularity in music, amongst many other pop culture icons (read: Yogi Bear!). Their classy look displays a wildly different feel from the boater hat. 

When it comes to its main characteristics, pork pie hats are usually made from felt or wool, have a crown that is pinched all the way around at the top, and contain a brim that points slightly upwards throughout its entire circumference.

Pros of Pork Pie Hats

Cons of Pork Pie Hats

  • Can get too warm in the summer: On the other hand, the thicker material can be harder to deal with in the hotter times of year.
  • Not versatile: In modern times, a classy, dark pork pie hat might not be the best match for cut off shorts or light wash denim. 

Which One Should You Choose?

Yes, boater hats and pork pie hats do have one thing in common, but that’s about it! If you are looking for a daytime hat for your vacation at a beach town, the boater won’t disappoint. If you are looking for a classic, elegant approach to go with your suit, the pork pie might do the trick. 

Final Thoughts

If you like the narrow crown style, then you might need to give into both of these styles – after all, it will be easy to differentiate the occasions in which they should be worn!

Discover more about boater hats in this article and pork pie hats in this article.

About Taylor James

As Philip Treacy once said, “How a hat makes you feel is what a hat is all about.” And on that note, I hope you enjoy your hats and find the site useful. Learn more about Hat Realm's Editorial Process.