History provides evidence that hats were first worn people around 15,000 years ago, the evidence being in the form of wall paintings. Originally worn as a form of protection for the head, hats are still worn for this reason, but over the centuries hats emerged as an item of fashion, and also as a display of a person’s social status. In recent years certain types of hats have surged in popularity, but these styles of hats originally came about for functional, rather than fashion reasons.
The flat cap is one of the most popular types of hats that is worn today, and the design has hardly changed since they were first worn in England during the 14th century. The flat cap was also a popular choice in Italy and when large numbers of people headed for America in search of a better life from the British Isles the flat cap went with them.
To encourage trade and the consumption of wool, an English Act of Parliament in 1571 stated that every male above 6 years old, unless they were nobility, had to adorn a wool hat. A fine had to be paid by those found not wearing a wool hat. By the time the law was repealed in 1597, the flat cap had very much become part of the uniform of the era.
Throughout the 19th century the working classes were extremely limited with the types of hats they could choose from so the flat cap was worn by nearly everyone. Britain and Ireland’s upper-classes wore a finer cloth version of the flat cap when out in the countryside.
Of the types of hats that are popular today, the trapper hat is the one that is best suited to cold seasons and environments, protecting the wearers head, neck and ears.
Also referred to as ushankas, the trapper hat first emerged hundreds of years ago in Germany and Scandinavia, where fisherman and hunters wore them to protect themselves from nature’s harsh elements. Some also believe that Asian nomads in Arctic regions wore the trapper hat.
People often associate the current style of trapper hat with Russia and these types of hats evolved in the 20th century. During the Russian civil war the trapper hat was worn by the Siberian leader Kolchak and the White Army. During winter time these types of hats were worn by the Red Army of the Soviet Union as part of their uniform.