My understanding is that wearing hats of various kinds was much more widespread historically (e.g. in the late 1800's and early 1900's) than it is today, with sometimes complicated etiquette with regard to when the hats should be removed. When I wear a hat for a long period, I get "hat hair" and I am loathe to remove the hat at all until I arrive back home and can fix it. Historically, did people have hat hair more or less all the time? Were hats designed to mitigate hat hair? Am I just wearing them wrong?

  • For most of history, bathing was not a regular occurrence and added to that was the use of hair products (grease). Not sure that hat hair as we think of it today has ever really been an issue.
    – CGCampbell
    Jan 9, 2017 at 3:49
  • @CGCampbell you get "hat hair" even if you don't use any hair products; wearing a hat all day is enough. Jan 9, 2017 at 4:39
  • The 17th century French apparently wore such fancy wigs that they stopped wearing hats :)
    – AlaskaRon
    Jan 9, 2017 at 7:58

1 Answer 1


"Hat hair" was a universal affliction when all men wore hats. Sometimes they don't bother to fix it up after taking off the hat, even when taking a photograph, and so you end up with photos like this:

hat hair photo

If you look through lots of photos from that period, you can find plenty of examples of hair with the characteristic hat crease.

Given that the pocket comb was once commonly carried by men and women, I imagine that's how most people dealt with hat hair - or not at all, as in the case of the famous hat-wearer, Abraham Lincoln, who had a reputation for very messy hair.

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