Hat Lore

Bicornes and Tricornes

Civil Uniform hat,
Gift of Mr. Frank Anglin
CMC 986.21.24

The wide-brimmed hats worn by the Cavaliers in England and the Musketeers in France in the 1600s were impressive, but not very practical. The droopy brims were a hazard for horse riding and sword fighting, and eventually the brims were turned up, or cocked, on one or more sides. The tricorne, a hat cocked on three sides, was worn by gentlemen and courtiers throughout Europe for most of the eighteenth century, until French fashion introduced the bicorne, the signature hat of Napoleon.

The cocked hat went out of fashion at the beginning of the 1800s, replaced by the top hat. But the cocked hat was retained as court and diplomatic wear in Commonwealth countries. It is also the chosen headwear of secret fraternal orders, such as the Masonic Lodge.

next menu return index