– British actor Tom Cullen who plays Lord Gillingham on Downton Abbey.
Well Mr. Cullen, a fair question for a 21st century lad. Here’s your answer from Alastair Bruce, Historical Adviser on the set of Downton Abbey:
Hats were terribly important. In an instant your hat said who you were.
Mr. Bruce goes on to explain that a male aristocrat such as Lord Grantham could wear whatever hat he chose from the top hat for evening formal affairs to the cloth cap for hunting. And he did indeed sport all kinds of hats for all kinds of occasions. A working guy like Mr. Carson if he were out with his boss would sport his best hat – a bowler. A manual laborer would wear only his cloth cap. But, everyone wore some kind of hat.
A hat was essential across all divides.
Adding my two cents I say one needs so many hats because hats are so dashing.