Dashingly Dapper Derby


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. They were invented as a more compact alternative to a top hat. 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. A lesser known fact about them (amongst non-wearers) is that they're quite hard (because of both the heavy felt and the shape), which meant that construction foremen (or businessmen visiting a construction site) would sometimes wear them instead of hard hats.

Compare and contrast Dastardly Dapper Derby.

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


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  • 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.


  • 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  



  • Sherlock Holmes's friend and biographer 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.
  • The Night Circus: Any time Marco ventures outside, he is wearing a dashing bowler from a line of seemingly identical hats that were in his flat when he moved in. Isobel looks for a bowler whenever she is expecting him.

     Live Action TV  


     Newspaper Comics  

  • Snoopy of Peanuts wears one of these when he's donning his "World Famous Attorney" persona.



     Video Games  

  • Henry Hatsworth, the current image source for the Quintessential British Gentlemen page.
  • Accessible as headgear in SSX 3.
  • The robot butler/companion Codsworth in Fallout 4 can't (or won't) wear any equipment in the game except for one of these.
  • As a robot originally designed to be a gentleman butler for the affluent, Marquis from Battleborn wears a dandy looking derby as part of his ensemble.

     Web Comics  

  • Mr Davenport, the Victorian-serial version of Dave in Narbonic, wears a bowler hat, and considers himself a gentleman.
  • Pickle Inspector from Problem Sleuth wears a bowler hat, in contrast to Problem Sleuth and Ace Dick's fedoras. He's also the most gentlemanly of the three detectives

     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.

     Western Animation  

  • The title character of Mr Benn was always dressed in a black suit and bowler before changing into the costume that would transport him to that week's adventure. At the end of the episode, he would change back into his black suit and bowler hat.
  • Mr. Potato Head in Toy Story.

     Real Life  

Alternative Title(s): Bowler Hat Of Awesome