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All about homburg hats

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Hugo Resinger holding a fashionable grey Homburg hat, 1907. Painting by Anders Zorn.

Konrad Adenauer and Willy Brandt (1961), both wearing Homburgs

A homburg is a formal felt hat characterized by a single dent running down the centre of the crown (called a "gutter crown"), a stiff brim shaped in a "kettle curl" and a bound edge trim.

The homburg is made from stiff felt and has a grosgrain hatband and brim trim. Although the homburg is a formal hat, it is not an alternative to the top hat. The original homburg was of slightly more generous proportions than the modern version.

It was popularized by Edward VII after he visited Bad Homburg in Hesse, Germany, and brought back a hat of this style. King Edward VII was exacting and expert in all sartorial matters. He was therefore flattered when his hat style was copied; at times he insisted on being copied.

Anthony Eden made the dark homburg so fashionable in the 1930s that it became known as "the Eden" on Savile Row. At his 1953 inauguration, Dwight D. Eisenhower broke with tradition by wearing a black homburg instead of a top hat. He also wore a homburg at his second inauguration, a hat that took three months to craft and was dubbed the "international homburg" by hatters since workers from ten countries participated in its making.

Like other formal Western male headgear, the homburg is not as common as it once was. Al Pacino gained some renewed fame for the homburg by wearing one in the film The Godfather, for which reason the hat is sometimes called a "Godfather". Some Orthodox Jewish rabbis wear black homburgs, though this practice is also in decline. It is considered somewhat more traditional and distinguished than the black fedora commonly worn by Orthodox Jews.

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