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Hats for Men and Women – 5 Differences

By Taylor James


Updated on

Hats have been fashion statements for centuries, for both men and women. However, there have been, and probably always will be, a few differences between men’s and women’s hats. 

Hats for men and women contain some differences. For instance, women’s hats are typically smaller than men’s. In the 19th and 20th centuries, women would decorate their hats with ribbon, jewels, and flowers, whereas men’s hats did not have elaborate ornamentation and were usually worn with purpose. 

Have you ever wondered if there are any significant differences between men’s and women’s hats? Knowing some key differences may help next time you are out shopping for one. This article will cover five differences between hats for men and women, so let’s get started.

Women’s Hats Are Smaller Than Men’s Hats

One of the main differences between men’s and women’s hats is that women’s hats are usually smaller. 

However, the size difference is not very noticeable. While there is a small difference, many hats come in similar sizes. Women’s hats typically range between 21.5 to 22.25 inches (54.61 to 56.52 cm). Men’s hats will be anywhere between 21.5 to 23 inches (54.61 to 58.42 cm). 

Historically, Women’s Hats Came in More Colors

While this may be changing due to the popularity of dad hats and fun baseball hats, it is normal to find more color variation in women’s hats.

Historically speaking, every day women’s hats would come in a lot of colors. Many women could pick the fabric they wanted if they worked with a milliner.

Especially during the 19th and 20th centuries, many men’s hats would come in solid colors and variations of black, grey, and brown. It was not common to see a man wearing a blue fedora, for instance. 

Women's hats

During the 19th Century, Milliners Often Decorated Women’s Hats With Ornamentation

During the 19th century, it was typical for milliners to decorate women’s hats with different decorative items. Many hats had ribbon, jewels, flowers, or even netting. However, many men’s hats in the 19th century looked more basic and did not often have extra ornamentation on the hat. 

Milliners Created Many Men’s Hats Due to Necessity

Throughout history, many milliners developed hats for specific purposes. Instead of wearing hats for a fashion statement, many men wore hats out of necessity. For example, the cowboy hat was invented to keep the sun out of farmers’ eyes and prevent sunburn, and many fishermen wore Sou’wester hats to keep their necks dry. Discover some intriguing facts about sou’wester hats here

A Man Can Wear a Woman’s Hat, but a Woman May Have Trouble Wearing a Man’s Hat

There are a few female hat styles that men can pull off. Typically, if a woman’s hat has a stretchy band or adjustable strap, a man can wear it. The beret is a popular female hat that a lot of men wear. Men can also wear female beanies and adjustable baseball caps. However, it is more difficult for a woman to find a men’s hat that will fit her head. Discover some intriguing facts about berets here.


Women’s hats tend to be a bit smaller than men’s hats. While some men can wear a women’s hat without a problem, it will be hard for women to find a hat made for men that fits correctly.  Historically, women’s hats also came in more colors during the 19th and 20th centuries. Furthermore, many women would decorate their hats with ribbons, jewels, and flowers. 
Check out Hats: A History of Fashion in Headwear by Hilda Amphlett on Amazon to learn more about men’s and women’s hats.

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.