Style etiquette used to dictate that a hat should be worn on a daily basis; if you wore the wrong season, it might lead to violent riots. Those days are thankfully long gone, but there are still plenty of reasons to opt for headwear. A signature accessory is one way to visually enhance your brand, setting you apart from the crowd when it used to mean conforming. Alternatively, a plain cap can help conceal identity, particularly if Joe on You is anything to go by.
The setting may be fantastical in genre movies, but it doesn't mean the clothing decisions are any more outrageous that in the real world. Hats are still vital whether magic is present or not.
Certain styles come with expectations pertaining to the kind of job or powers the wearer has. Some are more defined than others; a conical wide-brimmed hat is a sure sign of witchcraft, while a fedora has many connotations across a variety of settings. Deerstalkers were made famous by Sherlock Holmes, so anyone choosing this particular approach is going to immediately conjure images of investigative work.
Even though hats are no longer as ubiquitous as they once were, there will always be a place for millinery in both film and fashion. So whether your own personal style is hat-centric or not, it is hard to imagine the following characters without their signature accessory. For inspiration or to simply relive these memorable moments, check out some genre hat highlights below.
The Wicked Witch of the West - The Wizard of Oz (1939)
If someone asks you to picture a witch's hat, it will more than likely resemble the style made famous by the Wicked Witch of the West in The Wizard of Oz. It isn’t as flashy as her dead sister’s ruby slippers, but the pointed silhouette will forever be associated with this legendary movie and character. It also doesn’t matter that this design existed long before costume designer Adrian's vision or that others have worn it after. This look belongs to the Wicked Witch of the West.
Oddjob - Goldfinger (1964)
Some hats offer protection against weapons, but what happens when the hat is the weapon? James Bond has a treasure trove of gadgets concealed in everyday objects, but he is not the only person in his world to pull this move. Oddjob is one of the most memorable Bond villains — the movie might be called Goldfinger but everyone remembers the henchman rather than the titular character — and his hat is not only deadly, it is also pretty debonair.
Willy Wonka - Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory (1971)
Tan isn’t the typical color for a top hat, but nothing about Gene Wilder as Willy Wonka is typical. The 1920s dandy meets 1970s fashion is a dream combination for this eccentric character. An earthy tone perfectly bounces off the vibrant purple velvet jacket and floral sparkly detail. It is extra without being too ridiculous.
Matt Hooper - Jaws (1975)
Steven Spielberg seemingly hasn’t met a branded baseball cap he doesn’t like, which is why it isn’t surprising to see how much he favors hats on his characters. In Jaws, science bae Matt Hooper has a couple of options for his Amity trip. Even in the summer, being out on the sea can get a bit chilly, so the beanie is a wise choice even if the double denim isn’t particularly water friendly. When it gets sunny, Hooper can switch to the currently very on-trend bucket design.
Indiana Jones - Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)
The fedora is not just for Madison Avenue office workers or suburban serial killers; in fact, the most iconic wearer of this style comes courtesy of a professor-turned-action-hero. “I had to have a hat that if you saw it in silhouette would be immediately recognizable,” said Raiders of the Lost Ark costume designer Deborah Nadoolman. Mission accomplished! Made by Herbert Johnson of Saville Row, London, this is one hat worth saving.
Freddy Krueger - A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)
It is no secret that Freddy Krueger is a bit of a style star thanks to his penchant for stripes and bespoke gloves. The Freddy uniform wouldn’t be complete without his raggedy fedora (complete with burn holes), which adds a bit of sartorial flair to his overall look. Freddy is one for theatrics and a hat is an excellent way of adding drama to any outfit.
Dr. Alan Grant and Dr. Ellie Sattler - Jurassic Park (1993)
Another entry, another Spielberg (including a look at the aforementioned signature baseball cap). And while fedoras get a (mostly) well-deserved roasting if someone wears one in 2019, there are a number of ways to circumvent the bad taste vibes. As with Indy, Dr. Alan Grant is wearing it for work purposes in Jurassic Park, but this one has a more functional aesthetic to match his dad style vibe. Meanwhile, Dr. Ellie Sattler has been picking up style tips from Jaws in her choice of double denim and bucket hat. The Spielberg style thread is visible from the ‘70s through to the ‘90s in costume, as well as larger themes.
The Sorting Hat - Harry Potter (2001-2011)
There are a variety of hats in Harry Potter including the traditional styling to Dumbledore’s flat top version. However, there is one hat that has a huge impact on every single Hogwarts student. The only sentient hat on the list has the task of sorting the Hogwarts pupils into one of four houses. It is a rather hefty task for a rather unassuming looking piece of headgear, but the Sorting Hat comes alive in its wear and tears. It might not be the prettiest of garments, but it is the only hat on this list that can sing.
Peggy Carter - Agent Carter (2015)
Bold red lipstick isn’t the only crimson color accessory Peggy Carter has in her fashion arsenal. That gorgeous Stetson Aviatrix wool felt hat (later worn by her nemesis Dottie) is definitely going to make her stand out in a crowd. This might go against the rules of being a good spy, but Peggy knows how to wield what she wears in any given situation. The red, white, and blue ribbon is a dash of patriotism, far more subtle than her beau’s shield. Peggy’s iconic Agent Carter hat can be yours for just $95.
Mary Poppins - Mary Poppins Returns (2018)
A spy and a superhero nanny don’t sound like they have all that much in common, but the image of Emily Blunt wearing a red hat and blue coat on the Mary Poppins Returns posters saw plenty of comparisons to Peggy Carter costuming. Sandy Powell’s Oscar-nominated work on this Mary Poppins sequel was a feast for the eyes from head-to-toe, with a striking hat sitting atop Mary’s head with every outfit. She is practically perfect in every way, but it was the purple hot pink bowler hat, which married current trends with a musical icon in Ginger Rogers, that was the standout.