The Tyrolean hat (German: Tirolerhut, Italian: cappello alpino), also Bavarian hat or Alpine hat, is a type of headwear that originally came from the Tyrol in the Alps, in what is now part of Austria, Germany, Italy and Switzerland. It is an essential and distinctive element of the local folk costume, or tracht.
In the 19th and 20th centuries, Tyrolean costumes developed a certain degree of uniformity in their appearance. In the local village costumes of the Tyrol, the various styles of Tyrolean hat have survived since the 1830s/1840s, albeit similar to those of contemporary fashion. These original forms vary from the tall, relatively narrow-brimmed hats of North Tyrol which were dented on top, to the small, wide-brimmed hats of the South Tyrolean wine country.
Later the Tyrolean hat became the image bearer of “Tyrolean culture” as a tourist symbol, very popular at folk gatherings and beer festivals, such as the Munich Oktoberfest, and influenced by folk music bands who wore fanciful “local” costumes. The musician, Billy Mo, wrote a song in 1962 called “Ich kauf’ mir lieber einen Tirolerhut” (“I Prefer to Buy a Tyrolean Hat”), which reinforced the link between the hat and traditional Alpine (brass band) folk music. In 1965, a comedy musical appeared under the same title.
The Tyrolean hat became even better known thanks to Edward VIII of Great Britain, who, after his abdication, frequently stayed in Austrian Styria and often wore a hat of Tyrolean style, although it did not come from there. It is said that the Tyrolean hat was the inspiration for the homburg, a style popularized beyond its native Germanic region by his grandfather, Edward VII.