The man In the hat
Students, Eton College

The legendary Silk Top Hat was first created in France in about 1775, spread throughout the western world and was obligatory daily wear for every respectable man until 1914. It was a rigid hat, with a silk, calico and leather construction. As hat-wearing steadily declined after World War 2, the factories disappeared, along with the supply of the specially-made plush silk. Top Hats are now made of Melusine, (long-haired fur felt) and other forms of fur- or wool felt. Melusine looks very nice but is less shiny and much heavier than its silk ancestors.

Naturally, Top Hats were worn by every US President, from Lincoln onwards. Even in the 20th century, despite the general decline of hats, the tradition continued of US Presidents wearing a Top Hat at their inauguration. The chain was finally broken by President Eisenhower, who wore a Homburg to his inauguration in 1953. The last Presidential Top Hat was worn in 1961, by John F Kennedy.

Anyone who develops a love for hats will, eventually, find themselves a real Top Hat made of silk. Wearing one for the first time, it seems amazingly light and comfortable. And looking into a mirror will dramatically confirm your star quality!

Winston Churchill, of course!
JFK and the last Presidential Top Hat in 1961
Benedict Cumberbatch in Sherlock TV series in 2016. The hat appears to be made of Melusine
Royal Ascot - the dress code still requires men, including Princes, to wear Top Hats in the Royal Enclosure