TopMenu

Tricorn

Military hat from the 18th century

The tricorn or tricorne is a style of hat that was popular during the in the 18th century, falling out of style by 1800. At the peak of its popularity, the tricorn was worn as civilian dress and as part of military and naval uniforms. Its distinguishing characteristic was a practical one: the turned-up portions of the brim formed gutters that directed rainwater away from the wearer’s face, depositing most of it over his shoulders. Before the invention of specialised rain gear, this was a distinct advantage.

The tricorns had a rather broad brim, pinned up on either side of the head and at the back, producing a triangular shape. The hat was typically worn with the point facing forward, though it was not at all unusual for soldiers, who would often rest a rifle or musket on their left shoulder, to wear the tricorn pointed to the left to allow better clearance. The crown is low, unlike the steeple hats worn by the Puritans or the top hat of the 19th century.

Tricorns ranged from the very simple and cheap to the extravagant, occasionally incorporating gold or silver lace trimming and feathers. In addition, military and naval versions usually bore a cockade or other national emblem at the front.