The Accessories Guide
Accessories are the finishing touches for stylish outfits, as well as opportunities for self-expression. Learn more from our glossary.
- The Accessories Guide
In the days of open-cockpit airplanes, the aviator hat evolved as a necessary protection for a pilot’s head. Like a close-fitting leather helmet with a small peak, ear flaps and a chin strap, it was lined with fleece or fur for warmth. While such pilot headgear became obsolete after World War II, aviator hats adapted to civilian life. Sometimes trimmed with coyote fur to keep the face warm, today’s aviators are often made from high-tech fabrics for lightness and maximum comfort.
Cufflinks, like their inseparable companion, the French-cuffed shirt, were once worn only on formal or semi-formal occasions. Today, they have become far more whimsical and flamboyant, offering opportunities for individual expression that range from subtly elegant to eye-catching.
A cummerbund is a broad waist sash, usually pleated, and often worn with a single-breasted dinner jacket (or tuxedo). Originating in Asia, this garment first adopted by British military officers in colonial India after they saw it on Indian men. The British adopted it as an alternative to a waistcoat, and it later spread to civilian use. Today the cummerbund is a component of traditional black-tie attire.
The driver’s cap, or flat cap, is a round-backed, wedge-shaped hat with a peak, often made of tweed or wool. Its origins lie in the north of England where it was the usual headgear of working men in the 19th century. In time, the landed gentry also adopted it as a usefully informal hat for country pastimes such as shooting or golf. Lacking a brim, it was also less likely than most hats to blow off when driving an open motor car.
A classic, the fedora is a style of hat made of soft felt with a centre crease and a wide brim that can be turned up or down. The name comes from the title of a play, Fédora, written in 1882 by Victorien Sardou as a vehicle for the great French actress, Sarah Bernhardt, who wore such a hat in the play.
The pocket square – whether silk, cotton or linen, and whether plain white or richly coloured and patterned – provides a refreshing splash of interest against a suit or sports jacket. The way it is folded (or not folded) offers an opportunity for self-expression, as does the way it is coordinated with shirt and tie. There's only one actual rule of coordination to remember; the square should not be an identical match to the tie (a match looks too contrived).
The tuque, or watch cap, is one of the simplest pieces of headgear known to man – a knitted woollen cap that can be pulled down tightly onto the head or worn more loosely on top. The tuque’s history is a long one, going back to the close-fitting cloth caps worn by men and women in the middle ages and resembling the Phrygian caps of French revolutionaries.