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George Washington’s Hat

George Washington’s Hat – As Known as Tricorn Hat

The political leader and a highly esteemed soldier, George Washington, remains one of the most influential figures in American history. From starting the first worldwide war and signing the most slavery-friendly law, and devoting his twilight years to farming, people have not yet still change the view of the father of our country. But today, we are not going to speak about the commonest facts or his wooden teeth and cherry trees, but the George Washington hat.  The kind of hat George Washington wore was one of the most iconic and recognized styles from the 18th century, the Tricorne hat.

Let’s go down to the subject!

What Type of Hat Did George Washington Wear?

George Washington Wear
Image Source –

The type of hat George Washington wore was the Tricorne hat or Tricorn hat. It is a triangular-shaped hat pinned up from folding the brims of the broad-brimmed round hat. By pledging the brims, the triangular shape was obtained. Washington was always self-conscious of the symbolism of personal attire, and this Tricorn hat appeared as the result of evolution.

After George Washington, the following 4 presidents of the United States, wore this iconic Tricorne hat according to 18th-century fashion. John Monroe was the last person to don the hat, and it was nicknamed the last cocked hat.

What Is a Tricorne?

Image Source – Wikipedia

A tricorne,  tricorn, or three-corner hat is a triangular-shaped hat that was popular during the 18th century. During the period, they were called cocked hats. As mentioned earlier, the most distinctive feature of Tricorn hats is, all the three sides of the broad brim are cocked or folded up.  Bringing the sides up to the crown, they are pinned, laced, or buttoned to stay in place, and the hat features a triangular profile.

They were made up of animal fiber. The less expensive hats were made up of wool felt, and the more expensive tricorne hats were made of beaver felt.

The History of Tricorn Hat

Dating back to history, the Tricorne hat was first discovered by the Spanish soldiers during the 17th century by folding the brim of the broad-brimmed hat.  The pledged triangular shape hat makes them favorable to hook on the left and right shoulder of the soldiers when standing at arms. The style began to spread throughout the French population, and King Louis XIV made the style more popular by introducing it into both military and civilian wear.

Even though the Tricorne hat was introduced in Europe, it later became more associated with the American revolutionary war. In earlier days of America, the puritans wearing hats with tall crowns and wide brims started to go out of fashion since they look odd on top of their wigs. The Tricorn hat came into style, which allowed them to show off the latest wig fashion and their social status.

At the end of the 18th century, the Tricorne hats declined in use. Then, they evolved into bicorne, a two-corner hat that was adopted as part of the American army and naval officers’ uniform.  During the 19th century, the Tricorne hats were replaced by shako and top hats.

Why Did Men Wear a Tri-Corner Hat?

Tricorne hats were making the usage and maintenance more easier than the standard broad-brimmed hats. The tricorn hats mainly serve two purposes. Firstly, it allows soldiers to hook onto their left and right shoulders when they are standing at arms without hitting on the hat’s brim. They can be easily tucked into an arm to follow the hat etiquette when going into a building.

The tri-cornered hat allowed people to show off their latest wig fashion and their social status.  Further, the tricorne hat also acted as an early umbrella in which the brims can be folded down to protect the wearer from the sun, rain, and other elements of the atmosphere.

Why Did Pirates Wear This Hat?

pirates wear tricorner hat
Jack Sparrow wearing his hat [Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End] from Amazon Prime Video

If you’re a jack sparrow fan, you would have already guessed that Johnny Depp wore nothing in his head but the tricorne hat. This idea was brought about by the practice of pirates wearing tricorne hats. Pirates usually leave their shirts loosened at the neck and covered themselves with scarves and cocked hats to protect them from the sun.  They wear tricorne with the broad side of the hat facing in front to avoid blowing off in the wind.

Jack Sparrow Hat

jack sparrow’s hat

The tricorne hat was one of the most important styles and played a huge role in the trademark appearance of Captain Jack sparrow.  Captains pirates feel naked without their tricorne hats, and Jack Sparrow was no exception in the case. We all would have seen how the hat played its beautiful part in the movie “Pirates of the Caribbean” to protect Johnny Depp from the Caribbean sun, harsh weather, to drink water, and to trap poisonous scorpions by its dome-shaped crown.

Tricorne Hat Styles

Tricorne hats are available in different styles, from the simplest to the most extraordinary, embellished with beautiful feathers and trim. There are many trim types like metallic, brocades, and silk trims, and they are available in many colors. Men who consider themselves a higher economic status and rich embellish their tricorne hats with feathers, gold and silver accents.

Additionally, the military and naval versions of the tricorne hat, usually is pinned with a cockade or national emblem in the front brim.

The most popular colors of the tricorne hats are black, grey, tobacco, brown, and tan. They were normally made of animal fiber, wool, and beaver felt. Usually, the front brim is four inches long and five inches in the back.

Who Wear Tricorne Hats Today?

Chelsea Pensioner
Chelsea pensioners of the United Kingdom from BBC

Tricorne hats are still in practice today and are worn by Chelsea pensioners of the United Kingdom and old guard Fife and drum corps of the US army, and the Spanish Guardia civil. Lord mayors of the UK featured a black tricorne hat as a part of the ceremonial uniform. Lord chancellor and speaker of the house of commons of the British parliament put on their black tricorne hats on duty and remove them during any rituals following the hat etiquette. 

Synagogue officiants of France wear Tricorns on formal occasions. Women still wear them as a piece of uniform.

In Portugal, the tricorne hat is a part of their academic uniform in the University of Minho. Additionally, in the federal and in some provincial legislatures of Canada, the tricorne hat is part of the formal wear of the speakers. They are also worn by justices of the supreme court of Canada.

According to Wikipedia, modern Tricorne hats are worn by fans of the sports teams with revolutionary teams like New England Patriots, New England Revolution, George Washington University, US men’s soccer team, etc.

Final Thoughts

More than being a fashion statement, the George Washington tricorne hat is a historical symbol of the pride in the revolutionary army and government. From pirates to presidents, soldiers to sports fanatics, everyone loves donning this tricorn, or cocked hat. Worn by influential figures, this 18th-century tricorne hat has had a strong place in history till now.  People even love wearing this tricorne hat and fancying themselves as pirate captains during Halloween.

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