What's in a Word | All Blogs

The fab fedora

By Debra Dobbins

While our icy temps may be daunting, they inspire a fascinating array of winter garb. Folks in the Grand Valley have a flair for wearing eye-catching scarves, mittens, gloves, coats, boots, caps and hats to chase away winter’s chill.

Case in point: Palisade’s Olde-Fashioned Christmas celebration over the weekend. It’s worth checking today’s online photo gallery just to see some of the wonderful headgear people sported. Not one fedora, however, was spotted. That would have been fun, because the fedora is such a classy hat.

Though hunky heroes such as Dick Tracy and Indiana Jones have popularized the fedora in American culture, women originally wore this style of hat. The word “fedora” came into American English in 1887, according to the Online Etymology Dictionary, and it came from a theatrical production.

“’Fédora’ [was] a popular play by Victorien Sardou (1831-1908) that opened 1882, in which the heroine, a Russian princess named Fédora Romanoff, originally was performed by Sarah Bernhardt,” the dictionary notes. “During the play, Bernhardt, a notorious cross-dresser, wore a center-creased, soft brimmed hat. Women's-rights activists adopted the fashion. The proper name is Russian fem. of Fedor, from Greek Theodoros, literally ‘gift of god,’ from theos ‘god’ + doron ‘gift.’"

Richard Skaer and Carol Zadrozny were stylin’ in elegant black hats at Palisade’s Olde-Fashioned Christmas celebration this weekend. (Special to the Sentinel/Heather Decker)


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