The Best Steampunk Hats (2018 Review)
By Steampunk Origins | Updated Nov 12, 2018
Does your steampunk costume lack a certain something? Is it almost perfect but for one detail you can’t quite put your finger on? Let us help you: it’s a top hat. Whether you need one to complete a steampunk outfit or just need to spice up any old getup, you’ve come to the right place. We have sifted through all the options and put together a list of the best ones on sale today to make picking the one that best matches your style a little easier on you. Remember, nothing says steampunk quite like a top hat with goggles.
Steampunk Hats For Sale Quick Review
|Product||Best For||Our Rating|
|1. Tigerdoe Brown Steampunk Hat With Goggles||Minimalists|
|2. Jacobson Hat Company Deluxe Velvet Topper||Style|
|3. Vintage Steampunk Hat With Victorian Gears and a Rose||Overall|
|4. Caufield's Brown Steampunk Hat||Subtlety|
|5. Rubie's Costume Steampunk Top Hat||Value For Money|
Top Choice: Tigerdoe Brown Steampunk Hat With Goggles
A minimalist option for those steampunks who like simplicity, this top hat still makes a strong statement.
Value For Money
Steampunk Top Hats
The occasions where you can wear a steampunk top hat and not look out of place can be counted on one hand. A Victorian staging of an Opera maybe (source), though wearing any sort of head covering indoors and especially once you sit down and the proverbial fat lady starts to sing is considered a big faux-pas.
Sure, you can always go to a cosplay event or put on the Ritz for Burning Man. But the best time to wear a top hat is any time, if you’re brave enough. After all, who is going to stop you from doing whatever the hell you want to do? You are the lone member of your own steampunk tradition preservation society, and that’s just dandy. So knock yourself out.
Lessons in Class: Top Hat History
You can call it a beaver hat, a silk hat, a high hat, a cylinder, a chimney pot or even a stove pipe hat, but what all these names essentially signify is that things are about to get fancy – notwithstanding some rather plain names recalling chimneys and stoves. Toppers are tall, brimmed hats with a flat top somewhere above your head.
They were big in gentlemen’s fashion from the 18th to all the way the 20th century – that’s a lot longer than cargo pants were OK to wear, for reference. The top hat trend subsequently petered out somewhat as it was seen too fancy for ordinary dress and was relegated to only making an appearance at very chic special events (source).
The last US president to wear one at his inauguration (source), a custom followed until then but stopped after his term, was JFK. And as the world became less and less fancy – or more and more casual, depending on how you look at it - the times to wear top hats became fewer and fewer.
Today, top hats mostly mean that a magic trick is about to happen. Well, not entirely: the English, ever the fine nation, of course, still wear them from time to time. And so should you, because no matter how fashions change, a true dandy needs a top hat in his repertoire.
What’s even better than any old topper if you wish to drive the point home that you are a distinguished gentleman is a steampunk top hat. One with gears, goggles, rivets, the works. One that whistles steam loud and clear.
Choosing the Right Steampunk Top Hat
Now, the things to consider when purchasing such a headdress are many. How far on the steampunk spectrum do you want to go? Are you looking for something to give a subtle nod, maybe a small gear here and there, or even just for a hat within the typical color scheme?
Or are you willing to step it up and get something to compliment a full blown steampunk costume – sorry, outfit – something with as much metal detailing, sepia hues and Victorian steam engine quirk as possible?
Then, another thing to think about is how the hat compliments your personal style and look. The sandy tan characteristic of steampunk getups can be a tough color to pull off, it must be said, so you may want to go with a more universally flattering black. Then, there are the details. Since those are something the steampunk aesthetic relies on very heavily, you need to look at what level of detail you care about.
Should brass be brass or can it be plastic? Can the hat be made of a material not used in the days of Victorian England? And, finally, where will you be wearing this hat? Are you planning to wear a steampunk outfit to a costume party, festival or cosplay event? If wearing it once is to be the sole purpose of the hat, you may not want to spring for a particularly fancy one.
If however you are a die hard fan and are trying to find a trusted companion headdress to don whenever the mood strikes you, you may want to look for something a bit fancier.
Steampunk Rules: How to Wear the Style, from Top Hat to Goggles
Wherever you fall on any of these questions, a steampunk topper is a great way to spend your dime, especially if you adore everything this small but very dedicated subculture represents (source). Top hats remind us of a time long past, remembered very vaguely by even the very old, referred to with a reverential look in moist eyes as the good old days.
Oh yes, when men still wore hats, chivalry wasn’t dead and taking a train was something to look forward to. This is also the general feel steampunk is meant to evoke, so as you can imagine, both of those things together are a winning combo. You may think some of the hats on this list are taking it too far, and we don’t blame you.
But steampunk is all about adventure, and there’s no going on any of those without a healthy helping of guts. So when you feel like your outfit is too over the top, what you need to do is add some more. There is no too much in steampunk, so go ahead, pile on the anachrotech accessories.
A portmanteau of anachronism and technology, the term is short for technologies that have become obsolete and then have been revamped with a modern touch. And this is the first, cardinal rule of steampunk: take something old, preferably Victorian or wild wild West, and transport it to today.
Similarly, take a top hat and add some goggles, et voila, you’ve got the steampunk look down perfect. After you pick a hat from this list, all you will need is a suit, a pocket watch, a pipe and, ideally, a walking cane, and you’re all set to go.
Cue the steampunk music! Yes, those of you left bewildered, there is such a thing as steampunk music, a genre influenced by Victorian style but based on modern musical elements, sort of like industrial big band. You know what goes really well with that? A spiffy top hat. Here are your options:
DIY Steampunk Hat Ideas
For the creatives out there - here is a tutorial on how to make your own steampunk top hat out of an old camping mat and some craft foam. You can make your own top hat quickly and easily by following along at home.
If a regular top hat is not what you are looking for - this tutorial shows you how to make a mini top hat so when you run away to the circus you are prepared!
Steampunk Hats Review
A minimalist option for those steampunks who like simplicity, this top hat still makes a strong statement.
A felted hat with adjustable and removable goggles, this model is rather minimalist compared to the subculture it still clearly references. The color is something that can only be described as vibrant camel, which can be a plus or a minus, depending on the angle you look at it from. The felting is not of exceptional quality but will easily take glue for DIY steampunking up.
The hat comes with an optional, unfortunate little bow tie if you want to spend the two extra bucks, but the style and golden color does not seem to fit the hat or the image particularly well. Plus, it’s either the goggles or the tie, and there is really no question about which one is the better deal. A nice extra is that the glasses are real glass and can be removed.
If the overwhelmingly positive reviews are to be believed, this hat is a great buy for the steampunk fan who wants to keep things low key. This hat is subtle on the steampunk but heavy on the Victorian feel, which basically means its heavy on the steampunk anyway.
The color is the most steampunk of all, though of course there is no right and wrong here, except of course for neon, the use of which is frowned upon in steampunk circles.
- Proper top hat dimensions
- Not overly ornate
- Bright color
- No gears or chains
The perfect choice for any rugged, nomadic steampunk, this hat looks like a relic from times long gone.
Authentic as can be, with a lot of meticulous detailing, this topper is a little shorter than a standard top hat perhaps ought to be, but it is a classy headdress and makes for a sublime choice nonetheless, as it leans very strongly into the steampunk aesthetic.
The glass in the goggles that come with this hat have a slight bend in them, which adds something in the looks department, while the transparent glass admittedly takes something away. This sturdy hat is beautiful and obviously made with great care that results in wonderful quality, but if you aren’t set on this one, the seller offers another version in black instead of this dark brown variant.
We don’t see why you wouldn’t love this hat, though, because if you’re looking to really make an impression and get everything right down to the last detail, things don’t get much better, on this list or elsewhere. And its certainly cool enough to wear even without the rest of the outfit screaming your allegiance to steampunk, so you can get more use out of it than you might assume.
- Very authentic and individual looking
- Great quality
- More of a trilby than a cylinder
- Goggles are not tinted
A no-holds-barred choice for someone who wants people to know he takes steampunk very seriously.
This decidedly more frivolous number comes in both men’s and women’s sizes, in case you want to surprise your similarly steampunk significant other with a gift or get something to entice the lady to share your passion.
The one slightly bothersome thing about this top hat is that they went so all-out with the gears that there are some on the glass of the goggles, which is peculiar when you think about it. That may give you the feeling that they let a preschooler loose on the hat with elmer’s glue and gears, but this is easily forgotten when you see how lovely it looks: chains, gears and a rose.
Yes, rose. Don’t let the – easily removable – flower fool you: this is a hat for men, too, and the rose only adds to the romantic, “times long past” flair of this headpiece. Very ornate with different metal hues on the gears and chains, this headdress is very versatile and loud while managing to stay sophisticated.
The goggles are of fantastic quality, nice and heavy, which results in the hat wanting to tip forward on your head, which is is in turn compensated with a rather tight-fitting band. All said and done, that is a small price to pay for such a nice hat, you will agree.
- Very strong on the steampunk allegory
- Ornate and daring
- Goggles are rather heavy
- Gears on the glass may look odd
A low-key choice for the hobby steampunk who only wants a subtle hint of the style in his life.
This dark brown, felted hat with goggles is a fine choice for those wanting to keep it minimal and those who find the previous hat a bit too extreme. You can even remove the goggles from it to make it a hat nothing special, or wear just the goggles if you like.
This hat is a somewhat cheaper alternative to the second item on our list, though that certainly shows. You will find that this piece is a great option if you want to get a quick fix for a costume party and don’t mind losing the hat, but it must be said that the finish leaves something to be desired and the faux leather decorative band is somewhat mismatched in terms of color.
The size of this model runs quite small, just like the previous item. The best thing about this hat are the goggles that come with it, since those are quite sturdy and look cool. But all in all, it may not be worth the price when you consider that there are two cheaper options doing the same dance just as well.
Yes, we hear you, goggles are the ultimate status symbol of steampunk and the perhaps one object most symbolic of the style, so you may want to get this model just for those.
- Subtle choice with great goggles
- Quality could be a bit better considering the price
A steampunk top hat that may not be adaptable to a casual outfit but works magic as part of a costume.
An actual, proper cylinder, and the highest top hat on this list, this model has no gears, but is still a very steampunk option due to its style and feel. Its soft material makes for it to slouch a bit, which gives it a weather-worn, authentic feel like you just rode in on the afternoon steam train.
If you like the look of the hat but don’t want something with such soft material, you can easily starch it at home to make it stand a little more strict. Don’t worry about it collapsing, though, because it comes with a wire frame to make sure it stays upright, which admittedly may make storage a little difficult.
All things considered, this Uncle Sam meets steampunk hat is a fantastic option, if a little silly – but, as we all know, a bit of jovial tongue-in-cheek frill never hurt steampunk. A very dark brown, velveteen material with faux-leather decorative strips, buckles and a chain going across it, this hat is very tall and sends a very clear message, which is that you mean business.
You can get quite some use out of this hat, too, if you just make sure to stuff it with paper when you put it away. One thing this hat does not have are the goggles, which is of course a pity.
- Great price
- High top hat
- No goggles
- May need further accessories to really work
In the end, all of these options are wonderful to add a spoonful of steampunk spice to your life. If you are trying to add some decidedly steampunk flair to a regular outfit without committing full steam to the style, the second hat is your best bet. If however you’re going to a cosplay event where close enough just won’t do, the last hat on this list is the right one, even though it may not appear that way at first glance. Either one you choose, you can’t go wrong, because no true steampunk should be without a top hat.
That being said, our personal favorite is the second item on this list, the purposely worn-down looking velvet topper that is so steampunk, even wearing it with jeans and a t-shirt is enough to turn heads.