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The Best Plague Doctor Hat

Last updated on February 3, 2022

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While a plague doctor may seem like a character on a satirical television show or a part of a modern-day viral meme, at one point they were an integral part of society. During the bubonic plague in the medieval age, cities and towns hired plague doctors to see patients regardless of their income. Plague doctors weren’t always experienced physicians, however. Often, they were new doctors starting their career or sometimes had other jobs prior to becoming a plague doctor.

While their name suggests that plague doctors treated the sick, that wasn’t actually the case. They did provide some medical intervention, such as bloodletting, but their main task was to help the city record death tolls as a part of the public record. As such, plague doctors were not typically liked by their communities

Plague doctors have become almost a mythical part of history thanks to their unique and eye-catching costume. This consisted of a long overcoat and a bird-like beak mask, with a wide-brimmed top hat and gloves. The mask was a type of respirator designed to hold dried flowers to cover the stench of their patients, which at the time was believed to cause their illness. Plague doctors also used a long cane, but not to assist them in walking. It was used for examining patients without having to touch them. The plague doctor hat was more of a symbol of their profession. Doctors typically wore top hats with a wide brim at the time. If you’re looking to recreate the plague doctor look, the plague doctor hat is an essential part of this iconic costume.

Our Picks For The Top Plague Doctor Hats

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Product Overview
Our Take
 Top Pick

Absolute Vibe Faux Leather Wide Brim Plague Doctor Hat

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Absolute Vibe

Faux Leather Wide Brim Plague Doctor Hat

This plague doctor hat comes in three sizes, but it also features an adjustable head belt and chin cords to get the sizing just right. The hat is made from faux leather material.

Overall Take

Adjustable SizeThis plague doctor hat has an adjustable head belt and chin cords and is available in three sizes.

 Strong Contender

Absolute Vibe Adjustable Chin Strap & Removable Hat Band Belt Plague Doctor Hat

Absolute Vibe

Adjustable Chin Strap & Removable Hat Band Belt Plague Doctor Hat

This plague doctor hat with metal details is the perfect finishing touch to a plague doctor costume. It has an adjustable head belt and chin cords and comes in three sizes. The hat is made from faux leather.

Overall Take

Great DetailsThis plague doctor hat is the perfect addition to your costume.

 Also Great

Kangaroo Felt Material Plague Doctor Hat


Felt Material Plague Doctor Hat

This versatile black hat can work as part of a plague doctor costume, magician costume, ringmaster costume and more. It is comfortable to wear and one size fits all. The hat can be worn by men or women.

Overall Take

Affordable OptionThis black hat is ideal for a number of costumes.

What to Look For

  • The classic plague doctor hat had a wide brim and a high dome, and was black in color. You can also find plague doctor hats with certain embellishments such as straps, buckles and buttons. These don’t typically add any functionality but can create a unique look.
  • Some plague doctor hats have a chin cord, which is helpful for ensuring the hat stays on in windy weather. The cord can also be used to hang the hat from your neck if you don’t want to have it on at all times.
  • You can find plague doctor hats in different sizes, such as small, medium and large. Others come in only one size. If you plan to be moving around a lot in your costume or plan to wear it for an extended period of time, then it’s best to get a hat that is the right size for your head so that it doesn’t fall off and is comfortable to wear.
  • Keep in mind that the hat alone won’t be enough to look like a plague doctor. It has to work in conjunction with a beak-shaped mask, overcoat, gloves and cane to get the full look of the legendary doctors.
  • Can you wear the plague doctor hat outside of using it in a plague doctor costume? Definitely. Without the iconic beak mask, the plague doctor hat is a fairly simple and plain black hat. You can wear it as a part of any outfit, but it works especially well with a steampunk aesthetic. You can also use the hat as part of a vampire, Mardi Gras or punk costume.

More to Explore

The plague doctor uniform was invented by Charles de l’Orme, the chief physician to Louis XIII, in 1619. After many plague doctors fell sick and died by catching the plague from their patients, it was clear they needed a way to protect themselves from the plague. At the time, it was believed that the disease was transmitted through smelly vapors. As a result, a leather coat, leggings, boots and gloves were required to keep the vapors off the body. Similarly, the hat kept vapors off the head but also indicated the status of a doctor. The beak-shaped mask had room to hold herbs and spices like mint, cloves, camphor and myrrh, which were sometimes burned before being placed into the mask so the smoke from the herbs could also offer protection against the smells. However, because the mask still had two air holes, it did not prevent the doctors from contracting the disease.