Welcome to the Hat Guide – A-Z  of Hats!

  • cavalier-hats

    Cavalier Hat

    Favourite of the Cavaliers Cavalier hat is a variety of wide-brimmed hat ...


Ukrainian CaulHistorical headress

A Caul is type of historical headress worn by women to cover tied-up hair. A fancy Cauls are often made of satin, fine silk, velvet or brocade, whereas simple Cauls would simply be made of white linen or cotton. The Caul could be covered by a crespine or a mesh net to secure it from falling off. A Caul is also the name of an Elizabethan hair net.

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Cap of Maintenance

Crimson ceremonial cap

cap of maintenanceA Cap of Maintenance is a ceremonial cap of crimson velvet lined with ermine, which is worn or carried by certain persons as a sign of nobility or special honour. As such, it is often to be seen depicted in British heraldry.

A Cap of Maintenance is one of the insignia of the British sovereign, and is carried directly before the monarch at the State Opening of Parliament – usually by the Leader of the House of Lords. For their coronation, Kings, up to and including George VI, have usually worn the Cap of Maintenance for the journey to Westminster Abbey immediately prior to the service. Queens regnant have instead tended to wear the George IV State Diadem.

In more general terms, the velvet and ermine lining of a crown (or of the coronet of a peer) is itself sometimes called a ‘cap of maintenance’, and is technically a separate item to the crown itself.

According to the Oxford English Dictionary a Cap of Maintenance was granted by the Pope to both Henry VII and Henry VIII as a mark of special privilege.

The origin of this symbol of dignity is obscure. It may have had a purely practical origin being used to help a crown fit more firmly or to protect the head from bare metal on the crown. It is probably connected with the cap of estate or dignity, sometimes also styled Cap of Maintenance, similar in appearance to the above but with two peaks or horns behind, which is borne as a heraldic charge by certain families. This seems originally to have been a privilege of dukes. Where it is used the crest is placed upon it, instead of on the usual wreath.

A Cap of Maintenance of a different design is worn by the Swordbearer of the Lord Mayor of the City of London. The Lord Mayors of York, Bristol, Coventry, Lincoln, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, Norwich, Worcester, Hereford, Exeter and Hull also have this privilege. Early charters granting the right to use of a ceremonial sword often mentioned the right to a Cap of Maintenance in addition. In the City of York, the original medieval Cap of Maintenance is kept and displayed in the Mansion House of the Lord Mayor of the City. It was given to the sheriff of York by King Richard III, who was of the York dynasty. It is still used on special civic or ecclesiastical occasions, such as the celebrations in 1996 marking six hundred years of the royal charter giving its Freedom to the City of York.

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Traditional Korean woman’s hat

ayam from koreaAn Ayam is a Korean traditional winter cap mainly worn by women for protection against the cold in the Joseon period (1392-1910). It is also called Aegeom which literally means ‘covering a forehead’ in Korean.

The Ayam generally consists of mobu (crown) and deurim which are shaped like daenggi or a big ribbon. The upper 4–5 cm part of the mobu is finely quilted, the vertical line of the front shorter than the back’s. On the bottom edge, the front part is more curved than the back. In addition, the vertical lines of the front and back are a little curvy, so that, when wearing an ayam, it fits well to one’s head. Black or purple silk is used for the upper quilted part of the outer fabric, while black or dark brown fur is used for the rest of the mobu. The fabric for the inner is red cotton flannel.

The tassel attached to the upper center of both front and back is mostly red in color and the strings connected from both sides are all flat braids. However, some Ayam worn by kisaeng were very luxuriously adorned with big and sumptuous jewels, such as jade, amber, or orpiment, on the tassels of both sides.

There are two types of deurim hung on the back of ayam. One is made with two sheets of fabric in a 9-10 cm width which are linked together lightly. The other is made of one sheet of fabric in an 18-20 cm width, with the center folded. On the center line of the deurim are decorations of jade, amber, and others gems, and the length is usually over 100 cm.

The Ayam worn for spring and autumn has the same shape as the one for winter, but it is made of a lighter silk.

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Cap Comforter

Classic Commando hat

commando hatThe Cap Comforter also known as the Commando hat has a dual purpose, also doubling up as a scarf. The Cap Comforter is a ‘tube’ of knitted wool, sewn at both ends and formed into a hat by pushing one end through the tube to the other end a long cap is made. Rolling up the open end produces a ‘cap’.

The first Cap Comforters appears to have been issued in 1900, although the Cap Comforter may go much further back. Initially the Cap Comforter was to provide some warmth under the cold steel helmets of 1916 or earlier or tropical helmets worn in the Himalayas.

The Cap Comforter is famously associated with British Commandos who used it in place of noisy Tommy helmets.

The Cap Comforter has been replaced by the warmer – a copy of the Wehrmacht torques. The warmer is a woollen knitted tube which is not sewn at the ends and pulled over the head to the neck and used like a balaclava or scarf.

Famous Cap Comforter wearers

  • British Commandos
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Terai Hat

A Gurkha hat

gurkha hat teraiThe Terai Hat is a type of slouch hat associated with the Gurkha regiments of the British Army and Indian Army (formerly the British Indian Army) and is still worn by the Gurkhas but not worn on active service. The Terai Hat is named after the Terai region in Nepal linked to the events surrounding the Gurkha War which first introduced the fighting spirit of the Gurkhas to the invading British forces and which subsequently led to their deployment in the British Army.

The 2nd Gurkha Rifles became the first Gurkha regiment to adopt the slouch hat when they were issued with the Australian slouch hat in 1901.

The Gurkha Terai Hat is created by fusing two hats into one to make the hat more rigid and is worn at an angle, tilted to the right.

The Hat Terai Gurkha is the name of the headgear worn by officers of the Gurkha Contingent in Singapore. A distinctive part of the Gurkha uniform not worn by any other member of the Singapore Police Force. Worn only during guard duty and on parades, the hat is made of khaki-coloured felt with a dark blue puggaree wound around the hat with six folds. The aluminium silver anodised police force cap badge is affixed on the puggaree to the left. It is always worn with the chin strap and is deliberately tilted far enough to the right that the brim touches the right ear.

In George Orwell’s novel Burmese Days, Flory, the central character, is described as wearing a Terai Hat.

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Custodian Helmet

Traditional headgear of the Bobby on the Beat

met helmetA Custodian Helmet also known as a policeman’s helmet or centurion helmet, technically known as a ‘Home Office pattern helmet’, is a helmet worn by policemen in England and Wales. The Custodian Helmet is the traditional headgear of the ‘Bobby on the beat’, worn by constables and sergeants on foot patrol in England and Wales or a peaked cap is worn by officers on mobile patrol in cars.

The Custodian Helmet is also worn by the British Transport Police and Ministry of Defence Police, the States of Jersey Police, the States of Guernsey Police Service, the Isle of Man Constabulary, the Royal Gibraltar Police, and the Bermuda Police. Special Constables are now issued with Custodian Helmets.

The wearing of Custodian Helmets led Criminal Investigation Department CID personnel to call their uniformed colleagues ‘woodentops’.

The Custodian Helmet was adopted by the Metropolitan Police in 1863 to replace the top hat formerly worn, and other forces soon followed suit. Its design was influenced by the Pickelhaube.

The Custodian Helmet is made of cork covered by felt or serge-like material to match the tunic. Inside, the brim is faced with a plain material and a leather headband adjusts the fit.

A comb and crest, a ball or a simple helmet boss adorns the top of the helmet whilst some forces used to have spikes on top. A thin chinstrap keeps the helmet on with some helmets having an additional double strap with chin cup for more strenuous activity.

All forces apart from the City of London Police, Hampshire Constabulary and West Mercia Constabulary use the Brunswick star as the basis for their helmet plate.

Helmets closely following the British model were widely worn by the police forces of Canada, Australia and New Zealand from the late nineteenth century on until they were replaced. The New Zealand Police retained a white version until the 1990s.

Other names for a Custodian Helmet

  • Policeman’s Helmet
  • Police Helmet
  • Bobby’s Helmet

Famous Custodian Helmet wearers

  • Dixon of Dock Green
  • PC Plod

Custodian Helmet fancy dress ideas

  • British Bobby
  • Kissogram
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Scrum Cap

Protective headgear for rugby players The Scrum Cap is headgear used by rugby players to protect the ears and head when in the scrum. Wearing a Scrum Cap helps avoid getting ‘cauliflower ears’ – a condition that occurs when the ear suffers a blow, blood clot or collection of fluid under the perichondrium. A alternative to […]

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A bedtime favourite A Nightcap is a warm cloth cap worn in bed with a nightgown or pyjamas. They were common in northern Europe before central heating and good insulation was available and homes were cold at night. Men’s nightcaps were traditionally pointed, with a long top and tassle. It could be used to keep […]

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A traditional Scottish cap The Glengarry Bonnet or just Glengarry, is a traditional boat-shaped hat without a peak made of thick-milled woollen material with a toorie on top, a rosette cockade on the left, and ribbons hanging down behind. It is normally worn as part of Scottish military or civilian Highland dress, formal or informal, […]

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Side Cap

Popular military soft cap A Side Cap or Field Service Cap, also known as a garrison cap in the US, or wedge cap in Canada, is a foldable military cap with straight sides and a creased or hollow crown sloping to the back where it is parted. The style originated with the Austrian Cap in […]

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