A homburg is a hat of stiff wool felt, characterized by a single dent running down the center of the crown (called a "gutter crown"), a wide silk grosgrain hatband ribbon, a flat brim shaped in a "pencil curl", and a ribbon-bound trim about the edge of the brim. It is typically found in dark colours, although variations occur. The original homburg conceived in the 19th century was of slightly more generous proportions than seen in 21st-century versions.
The name comes from Bad Homburg in Hesse, German Empire, from where it originated as hunting headgear. It was popularised in the late 19th century by King Edward VII as a less formal alternative to the prevalent top hat along with the bowler hat and the boater hat.
As with most hats for men, it largely fell out of everyday use for Western dress codes in the 1960s.
The Homburg was popularised in the 1890s by Edward VII after he visited Bad Homburg in Hesse, Germany, and brought back a hat of this style. He was flattered when his hat style was mimicked, and at times he insisted on being copied.
Anthony Eden made the dark homburg so fashionable in the 1930s that it became known as "the Eden" on Savile Row. At his 1953 inauguration, Dwight D. Eisenhower broke with tradition by wearing a black homburg instead of a top hat. He also wore a homburg at his second inauguration, a hat that took three months to craft and was dubbed the "international homburg" by hatters, since workers from ten countries participated in its making.
Like other formal Western male headgear, the homburg ceased to be as common in the 21st century as it once was. Al Pacino gained some renewed fame for the homburg by wearing one in the film The Godfather, for which reason the hat is sometimes called a "Godfather". Some Orthodox Jewish rabbis wear black homburgs, though this practice is also in decline. The homburg was always considered to be more traditional and distinguished than the fedora.
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