Top hat

Department Store Brooks Brothers American

Not on view

While every well-dressed gentleman wore a top hat daily in the 19th century, in the 20th century, the style endured as an essential component of formal or evening attire, along with the white tie, white waistcoat and tail coat. The top hat imparted a sense of dignity and prosperity for the man who wore it and, particularly in 1930s Hollywood films, became a visual clue to an character's social and financial status. Brooks Brothers, a New York institution, supplied high-quality clothing and accessories suited to the real-life counterparts of Fred Astaire and other debonaire leading men.

Top hat, Brooks Brothers (American, founded 1818), silk, wool, American

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