What Is a French Cocked Hat?

A French cocked hat, also known as a bicorne or tricorne, was a type of hat worn from the 18th century into the early 20th century, typically by military and naval officers. The bicorne is most commonly associated with Napoleon Bonaparte.

The French cocked hat had a peaked crown and a wide, stiff brim which was turned up on two corners (the bicorne) or three corners (the tricorne). The tricorne was the original style. It had a triangular shape and was worn by the military and civilians alike. The bicorne replaced the tricorne and was originally worn with the corners in the front and back. The shorter front brim was known as the "cock," leading to the phrase "cocked hat." By the early 1800s, the cocked hat began to be worn with the corners on either side, a style Napoleon made famous.