The first bowler hat ever made was for Edward Coke who's brother was the second Earl of Leicester. Its purpose was to protect gamekeepers' head while they went riding. To test whether it was up to snuff, Coke stomped on the bowler, then pronounced himself satisfied. Nowadays,you can buy Coke's hat from various hat sellers and maker around Town and online. However, what one should you wear?
The bowler hat is considered to be a fancy hat. That is how it is listed on the Lock and Co website, where it appears next to top hats. The black bowler hat is classic, though formal bowlers can be dark brown and dark grey. The bowler hat has a ribbon around the bottom of the crown which is the same colour of the hat. If the hat is brown, the ribbon will be brown.
Just as Coke requested a bowler to protect the heads of the gamekeepers while riding, you can buy a bowler for that purpose nowadays. However, as Lock and Co states on its website, this bowler "is not intended to provide protection against personal injury and do not comply with the relevant standards. They should not be worn after any material impact or upon the appearance of wear." For the proper riding safety helmet, you would need to go to a tack store or riding supply store. The bowler for riding is more rigid than the standard bowler. It is also fitted with an extra pad to offer a little more protection.
Since the black bowler is considered to be formal, there are other bowlers that can be used for other occasions. There are straw bowlers that have black ribbons for summer wear. There are even bowers that are blue, green, red or pecan. While bowlers are usually made of black fur felt, the less formal bowlers can be made of other materials such as summer bowlers made of polyblend and has an elasticised band that fits around the head. The pecan bowler has a black ribbon which contrasts with the lighter material. The fancy dress bowler hat, which can be green for Saint Paddy's day, is made of velvet.