The Bear Bryant Houndstooth Fedora: More than Just a Hat

The fedora style hat has had a steady presence in casual men’s fashion throughout the 20th century. One of many gentlemen who wore this hat, and wore it well I might add, was legendary University of Alabama football coach Paul (Bear) Bryant.

If there is one piece of clothing that is automatically affiliated with Bryant, it is the black and white houndstooth fedora hat.

Bryant, who earned his nickname by wrestling a bear at age 13, was known for being one tough sun of a gun. As a college football player he played an entire game with a broken leg, served in the Navy during WWII. His toughness carried over into his coaching, his first year as the head coach at Texas A&M only 35 of his 111 man roster made it through his brutal boot camp where he banned water breaks in 100 degree weather.  Bryant was old school, he might actually be the definition of old school.

As the head coach at Alabama, he lead teams to six national championships during the 1960s and 1970s and his impact on the great football tradition at Alabama is still apparent today. The trademark black and white houndstooth pattern worn by Bryant was incorporated into the Nike Pro Combat team jerseys last season as a tribute to the man who lead the Crimson Tide to greatness.

While there is no questions Bryant taught us a lot about football, he does teach us something about fashion:

We can use clothing to create a recognizable symbol of self, almost like a brand name or logo. In addition to providing us with warmth and protection, clothing can serve as a tool for recognition. How many of us would recognize MC Hammer without his metallic parachute pants?  What about a hatless Kenny Chesney?  If Lady Gaga wasn’t wearing something bizarre with crazy looking hair and makeup, would any of us be able to pick her out of a lineup? These are just a few examples of how dress can make us easily identifiable to others. If you are in the public eye or are trying to jumpstart a new business, take a play from Coach Bryant’s book and think of how you might brand yourself with what you wear. Who knows, maybe your signature look will inspire a football uniform someday.


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  • Blog Policies

    Pleas note: Tapered jeans, sleeveless shirts tucked in to tapered jeans, sideways visors, and socks with sandals are forbidden here at So Suitable. Fashion Police will be notified upon violation of blog policies.
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