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The History of the Tricorne Hat

Ever heard of the tricorne hat? It’s one of the most important hat accessories throughout history.

The History of the Tricorne Hat

Before wigs were popularized for men in the late 17th century, low-crowned, large-brimmed feather hats were the shit. But then wigs started to get HUGE (oh, he’s got a bigggg wig). And they needed to fit hats on those bad boys. So they started to fold up the brims. And that’s how the tricorne hat was born!

It was initially used by Spanish soldiers in Flanders. It was preferred for standing at arms because muskets could be held on shoulders without hitting the hat brim.

Then, when war broke out in 1667 between France and Spain over the Spanish Netherlands, France copped their swag. It was brought back, where the royal court of King Louis XIV made it fashionable throughout Europe. To be the most stylish, men cocked or tipped their tricornes to one side or another.

And it remained one of the most fashionable accessories through the 18th century. In the US only the first 5 presidents, from George Washington to James Monroe, wore the tricorne hat. James Monroe earned the nickname “The Last Cocked Hat,” being the last to wear the accessory.

THE LEGACY

In the US, the tricorne is often associated with the American Revolution, especially the Minutemen (militia members of the American colonies). But it’s also heavily ingrained in our sports culture. Think of the New England Patriots, the MLS Revolution, the US men’s national soccer team, and several universities.

The oldest law enforcement agency in Spain, Guardia Civil, uses the tricorne hat as their traditional headdress. In France, synagogue officiants wear the tricorne on formal occasions. In the French Navy and Air Force, they’re still worn by women as a piece of uniform. The federal parliament in Canada even wears it ceremonially. And in 1981, John Boyd made a famous pink tricorne hat for Diana, Princess of Wales. It became known as “Lady Di” and spread worldwide.

Oh yeah, and good ole Jack Sparrow. Can’t forget about him.

All, Story of the Week

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March 25, 2022

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