While Sherlock is coming back from the dead to BBC ONE, let’s talk about his famous deerstalker hat, which he absolute loathes and loves. This iconic hat, because of Sherlock Homes, became a stereotypical symbol of detectives.
Camouflage checkered patter and protection from cold
At first, before Arthur Conan Doyle’s story, this hat was worn in rural areas, often for deer hunting. The main features of this type of hat is a pair of fore and aft brims and two flexible side flaps. Dual brims protects the face and neck from sun and the wearer. While the side flaps can be worn down or tied under the chin to protect the ears in cold weather and high winds. Mostly they are tied up above the crown to keep them out of the way when not in use. Talking about colors and patterns of deerstalker, so called checkered style on the twill fabric also serves as camouflage. Modern hunting hats are often made with either a red-and-black or an orange-and-black check pattern or tweed for both to insure hunter’s safety.
Actually Conan Doyle never described Sherlock hat as a deerstalker, it was simply ear-flapped travelling cap, or close-fitting cloth cap. This specific image was created by illustrators of this story Sidney Paget, Frederic Dorr Steele. It became the most popular perception of Sherlock’s image. Of course deerstalker was the only matching hat of that period, so it’s not a surprise that now we see this specific image of a detective. Actually wearing deerstalker in public was inappropriate during those times, but Sherlock wasn’t an ordinary gentlemen. He was a traveler, operating in rural areas like Baskerville. In our contemporary Sherlock (2010) TV series this specific cap is a recurring gag, started as a simple way of hiding from paparazzi’s. That’s why Cumberbatch’s character absolutely despise this deerstalker. But “It’s not a deerstalker anymore, it’s a Sherlock Holmes hat… you’re this far from famous”