A bowler hat is a rigid felt hat with a rounded off crown. Also known as a derby in the US, the legend of the bowler hat has it being created in 1849 by Lock & Co.
According to legend the hat was commissioned by Edward Coke for use by his gamekeepers to protect their heads from branches while they were riding horseback. The idea behind this was that the hard felt hat would be light enough to wear comfortably yet strong enough to protect them.
The bowler hat remained popular from its inception well through the mid-1900s when it began to lose popularity. Though it is no longer as popular as it once was, the bowler hat is still a widely used fashion accessory among those who consider the retro look to be fashion forward.