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A bowler hat, or derby, is a rounded felt hat commonly worn from the 1850s to the early-to-mid-1900s, especially in Victorian Britain and The Wild West. Bowler hats were once considered the national hat of England, and used to be associated with the upper-middle class there, especially with bankers, in the early half of the 20th century.

You can count on a character who wears a bowler hat to be refined (unless, say, he's a villain in a western). In fact, he might even wear a monocle to show his culturedness. The bowler hat hung on in the City of London into the 1960s. In the early 1960s, new recruits to some City law firms got an allowance for the purposes of buying a bowler.

Compare and contrast Dastardly Dapper Derby.

Compare Nice Hat, Sharp-Dressed Man, Quintessential British Gentleman, Man of Wealth and Taste.

Examples:


Advertising

  • Lucky the Leprechaun, the mascot for General Mills' Lucky Charms cereal, wears a green bowler with a shamrock stuck in it. While not evil, he is a trickster.
  • The British bank Bradford & Bingley portrayed its two namesakes as bowler-hatted city gents. Eventually, its logo became a stylised version of the hat itself.
  • Likewise there was a period when the symbol of the UK Inland Revenue was a stereotyped taxman in pinstripe suit and bowler.

Art

  • Rene Magritte frequently drew men wearing bowler hats. For instance, in "Golconda", the sky above a city street is full of them. They appear to symbolise anonymity, which is why Magritte also wore one in Real Life.

Comic Books

Film

Literature

  • Dr. Watson is often portrayed with a bowler hat, as the Quintessential British Gentleman.
  • Cornelius Fudge, Minister of Magic from Harry Potter, was often described as having a lime green bowler.
  • Sweyn embarrasses his brothers in The Great Brain Does It Again when he returns from high school back east wearing a derby hat along with a fancier, more grown-up, style suit than a boy his age would wear in Adenville.

Live Action TV

Music

Video Games

Web Comics

  • Mr Davenport, the Victorian-serial version of Dave in Narbonic, wears a bowler hat, and considers himself a gentleman.

Web Original

Web Animation

  • Homsar from Homestar Runner wears one, but he is more demented than dashing. Whenever he speaks, his bowler hat will actually fly off his head for a while until he stops talking.

Real Life

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