If you’ve ever seen an old black-and-white comedy film, you’ve undoubtedly noticed the men wearing bowlers.
The bowler hat was once a staple in a man’s wardrobe and its popularity has made a comeback in recent years.
Initially designed for Englishmen working in the country, the bowler quickly became popular among gentlemen of all classes in Victorian England.
In the early 20th century, the bowler made its way across the Atlantic and became a staple of American menswear.
Today, the bowler is still worn by fashion-savvy men and women who appreciate its timeless style.
While the bowler may not be as popular as it once was, it still holds a special place in our hearts.
Why Is the Bowler Hat Popular with Comedians in Early Hollywood?
So, where did this fashion trend come from? Let’s take a look at the history of the bowler hat.
The bowler hat, also known as a billycock, was first designed in 1849 by London hat-makers Thomas and William Bowlers.
The hat was designed for customer Edward Coke, who wanted a durable and comfortable hat to wear while riding his horse. The original design was made of felt with a curved brim and a small crown.
The hat quickly gained popularity among British businessmen and soon made its way to America.
In America, the bowler hat became associated with the working class and was commonly worn by cowboys, railroad workers, and other manual laborers.
The ruggedness of the hat made it ideal for these occupations. The bowler hat also became popular in comedy films due to its everyday appeal and its association with the working class.
As a personal thought, I think the shape of the hat is also perfect for comedic expressions.
The round shape of the bowler hat lends itself well to the exaggerated facial expressions that were common in early comedy films.
Some of the most popular comedians, such as Charlie Chaplin and Buster Keaton, often wore bowlers in their films.
Famous Bowler Hat Wears & Their Characters
The popularity of the bowler hat in early Hollywood can be attributed to its association with the working class.
Many of the most popular comedians of the time, such as Charlie Chaplin, Laurel and Hardy, Curly Howard, and John Cleese, often wore bowlers in their films.
Charlie Chaplin was one of the most famous silent film stars of all time. He wore a bowler hat in many of his films, including The Gold Rush and Modern Times.
The bowler hat helped to create Chaplin’s iconic Tramp character.
Laurel and Hardy
Laurel and Hardy were a comedy duo who rose to fame in the early 1930s. They wore bowlers in many of their films, including Sons of the Desert and Way Out West.
Three Stooges (Curly, Moe, Larry)
Curly Howard was a member of The Three Stooges, a popular comedy trio in the 1930s and 1940s. He often wore a bowler hat while performing slapstick comedy with his fellow stooges.
John Cleese in Cambridge Circus @DIGITAL COLLECTIONS
And the last famous on is Jon Cleese. John Cleese is a British comedian who rose to fame in the 1960s as a Monty Python’s Flying Circus member.
He has also worn a bowler hat in several of his films, including A Fish Called Wanda and Fawlty Towers.
The bowler hat is a timeless fashion piece that has been coming back in recent years.
Though it is often associated with old black and white comedy films, the history of the bowler hat is much more varied than that.
Originally designed in 1849 by Thomas and William Bowlers, the hat quickly gained popularity among British businessmen before making its way to America.
In America, the bowler hats became popular among cowboys, railroad workers, and other manual laborers due to its ruggedness and durability.
So next time you see someone wearing a bowler hat, you’ll know exactly where this fashionable trend came from.