Al Capone Hat
The boys wore Al Capone hats with black shirts and sometimes even a white tie. Girls could wear it with a white silk scarf & jersey smock dress. The important thing to remember about this fashion is that the colours were predominantly black and white. However, this was a short-lived fashion first time around. No surprise there! (1975).
The fashion was based on old gangster films Al Capone of course was a notorious gangster from the American 1920s and the 1930s, and because of the many gangster films of the 70s, most of us associated the hat with gangsters, or at least the tough guy image.
The hats could be plain, or have a white band around the middle, and they were always put on the head at a slight angle. This sort of hat is called a fedora or trilby hat. These two hat styles are similar although the trilby hat generally has a shorter crown.
The hats were in fashion again when in the late 1970s a group called Madness appeared on Top of the Pops wearing those hats. They really looked cool, and it seemed everyone was suddenly wearing them and going around in black and white clothes again.
Al Capone died in 1947, but Two Tone music was around in the late 1970s.
Two tone or Ska was based on Jamaican Ska music – a fast type of reggae – and the black and white style and the Al Capone hat was popular with bands such as the Specials and Madness. Although the hats were predominately worn by men, Pauline Black – singer of Two-tone band The Selector always wore this type of hat and still does.
In the late 70s, the Al Capone hat was often called a rude boy hat – because of the Jamaican influence where young hoodlums and tearaways were known as Rude boys. These too had adopted the al Capone hat as part of their bad boy image. Madness would keep it going as a must have fun hat into the 1980s too.
Everyone loves a hat. The Al Capone hat or rude boy hat also was adopted by the Mods – during the 1970s revival. They would occasionally wear them, along with their smart suits
I remember having to wear one in 1977 for a play all about Bonnie and Clyde. I remember I got shot for three nights in a row. My first starring role and my last.