Fashion Tips for a Bowler Hat

Ralph Lauren - Runway - Fall 2012 Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week

Frazer Harrison/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images

The bowler hat -- otherwise known as the derby -- was the crowd favorite before the fedora took over in the 1920s. The bowler, with it's bulbous, sturdy wool-felt body and short, rolled brim is the perfect accessory for a woman who wants to add some masculine style to her outfit or the man who wants to just add style, given a few fashion tips are carefully considered.

Tips for Men

The Heat - Gala Screening - Red Carpet Arrivals

Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images

For guys, wearing a bowler hat is making a real style statement. It's a style commonly reserved for the eccentrics -- actors, rockstars or men with that English sartorial flare. A trench coat over a dark pinstripe suit, a pair of brogues and a bowler hat is going to create that sort of look. If you're not up for all that, dress down a bowler with a leather jacket, a pair of well-worn and fitted dark denim jeans and a pair of chunky leather boots with a casual white shirt. Most importantly, wear the bowler like you just threw it on your head and forgot it was there. This is the key component to the nonchalant approach to the bowler for guys.

Tips for Women

CHANEL FINE JEWELRY Celebrates It's 80th Anniversary Of The

Andrew H. Walker/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images

Women can use the bowler to create a boyish-charm. Wear a bowler with the stylish menswear-inspired pieces women are wearing -- oversize blazers, boyfriend jeans, high-heel loafers or the boyfriend button-down. These separates complement the masculine topper, just mix and match one boxy piece with one elegant element, such as a swing skirt, a floral blouse or stiletto heels. Create a rebellious style and wear your bowler with a leather biker jacket and chunky, utilitarian boots. Or play on the classic theme with an element of mystery and try a black trench coat with a black bowler hat. Everyone will be waiting with bated breath to see what's underneath.

Care Tips

Bowler hats are typically designed using felt. Felt requires regular brushing, especially before exposing it to moisture. Even a drip of water on a hat that's collected dust can leave a spot. Be sure to brush your hat before wearing with a soft bristle horse hair hat brush. When you're not wearing your bowler, store it in a hat box to ensure it keeps it shape and quality.

Who Should Avoid the Bowler

The melon shape of the bowler hat isn't well suited for a really round shaped face. This style of hat looks better on someone with a more angular jawline -- a heart, square or oval shaped face. The bowler can create a playful or serious style depending on how you purpose it, just be prepared for plenty of remarks -- it's a head-turner.