When you think of the 1920s and the flapper era, one hat comes to mind—the cloche. French for bell, the cloche is often credited to French designer Caroline Reboux, but some say the cloche was a Coco Chanel brainchild. Regardless, the hat was extremely stylish, featuring a deep crown that allowed it to be worn very low, almost to the eyebrows.

Cloche hats ranged from beaver felt dyed in a range of colors to straw. At first, the brims of cloche hats were essentially extensions of the crown, dropping straight down on all sides with no rim, let alone brim. By the end of the 1920s, though, it was common for the cloche to be worn with the brim turned up, especially in the front. This extended the depth of the hat in the back, adding intrigue and complication to the basic bell shape.

Many cloche hats were worn unadorned, but lots of styles demanded ribbons. Interestingly, the style of ribbon could tell a prospective suitor something about the young lady underneath the hat. For example, a ribbon that resembled an arrow signaled that the woman was already in a relationship, a knot naturally meant the wearer was married, but a big bow was an eye-catching sign of availability.

French fashion houses from Lanvin to Patou to Chéruit, to name but a few, designed clothes to go with cloche hats. Some hairstyles also suited the hat better than others. For example, Josephine Baker’s short cut was perfect for the short hat, and advertisers promoted the cloche as a bobbed hat for women with bobbed hair. Even more famously, Marlene Dietrich was a loyal Reboux cloche customer. But by the middle of the 1930s, in the depths of the Great Depression, the cloche had all but disappeared, a painful reminder, perhaps, of better days.

Of course, the cloche was not the only 1920s hat that women of the flapper era went crazy for. In addition to the ubiquitous cloche, women wore sculptural hats resembling airplane wings or crowns. Felt hats were embroidered with Art Deco flowers, and kits were sold for just $.89 so that women could make their own “crushers,” as they were called. Actress Louise Brooks made it acceptable to wear pokes and helmet hats, and so-called Speakeasy hats were studded with sequins and costume jewels.

Things sobered up a bit in the 1930s, but only a bit. Black, Sou’wester hats made of braided hemp continued the helmet look. In fact, straw hats went from garden to dressy, as straw cloches were woven with ecru to resemble smart tweeds. Knit turbans took off thanks to Greta Garbo, the pillbox was introduced, and women even took to wearing sequined or rhinestone-accented calot caps, which resembled large yarmulkes and were first worn by the ancient Greeks. Colorful berets and pirate caps, as well as felt or stitched geometric Dutch Boys, added to the decade’s eclectic sense of style.


Best of the Web (“Hall of Fame”)

Des Chapeaux

Des Chapeaux

A French tribute to women's hats and other headwear from the 1940s... primarily magazine images, with some commenta… [read review or visit site]

American Hatpin Society

American Hatpin Society

Who knew there was so much to hatpin collecting? This site is all about great hatpin images - from recent hatpin co… [read review or visit site]



Clubs & Associations

Most watched eBay auctions    

True Vtg 1930s Asymmetric Rhinestone & Velvet Designer Jeanne Tete Cloche Hat True Vintage 1930s Redesigned Black Wool Cloche Hat With C-clasp Gemstone Pin Vintage Christian Dior Hat Gold Turban Layered Pleat Cloche 1950sTrue Vintage 1950s 1960s Horse Hair Braid Designer Mr. John Jr. Chic Cloche Hat Vintage Rare 1920s Tenne Paris New York Velvet Flapper Hat Late Edwardian Vintage 1920 Flapper Era Wax Flower Veil Tulle Bridal Depression Hat Lace Veil Jazzy 20-30 Blk Cloche Hat W/straw Crown, Felt Asym Brim & FeatherAnthropologie Navy Wool Cloche Hat Madison 88 Nyc With Feather Plume1920s Hat Flapper Hat Cloche Hat Great Gatsby Lovely Lace Beige Cute Fit Antique Hat Fancy Dress Flapper Dress Cloche Glass Beads Vintage Black GlamVintage Soft 100% Wool Women Bell With Flower Cloche Flapper Bucket Hat YellowBlack Vintage Lady's Wide Brim 100% Wool Felt Bowler Fedora Hat Floppy Cloche 1pAntique Black Velvet Dress & Hat Flapper Era Original 1920's-30's FashionAugust Accessories New Womens Melton Cloche Hat Wool RedA054 Gray Unique Velvet Bow Wool Felt Woman Vintage Cloche Winter Hat Vintage Antique Original Flapper Crocheted Lace Night Cap Boudoir Hat, 1920sVintage Cloche Hat Corona Black Satin Band Gatsby Dressy Women'sHat -"nine West" Animal Print Velour-look Cadet Cloche Bucket Msrp $30.00Old Navy Faux Fur Thick Soft Animal Print Leopard Bucket Cloche Hat Euc S M Womens Cloche Hat With Buckle. 1920's Vintage StyleVintage Women's Flapper Hat 1920's? Feathered Style UniqueLot 2 Vtg Women's Hat Fernocroft Cloche Bucket Church Dress 1950s 1960s WhiteNoble Purple Wool Hat Lady's Party Bowler Derby Hat Cloche Ddp51920s Dress 1930s Flapper Modern Millie Gatsby Complete Outfit & Orchid Hat MedFancy 1920s Flapper Sinamay Net Feather Floral Cloche Bucket Church Hat BlackA022 Camel Flower Trimmed Woman Felt Wool Cloche Hat Wedding ChurchHat -"nine West" Blue Baseball Cap Cadet Cloche Cotton Leather Band Msrp $28.00Black A220 Ladies1920s Bowler Bucket Winter Wool Cloche Warm Bow Crushable HatElegant Women Hat Bolwer Bucket Hat Cloche Headwear Good Temperam BlackStraw Like Cloche Hat 1920s Style Women Sun Hat Chic Downtown Natural One Size 1920's Vintage Metallic & Ribbonwork Figural Cloche Flapper Hat Stand & Vase Nwt Gucci Girls Boys Beige Gg Logo Rain Pvc Nylon Cloche Bucket Hat S M L Baby Girl, Handmade, Crochet, Silver Tutu, Cloche Hat And Espadrille Sandals SetNew Handmade Vintage Style Flapper 1920s Cloche Sun HatCrochet 20's Misses Womans Flapper Cloche Hat Handmade Brushed AcrylicsHat 50s 60s Large Sequins Hand Knit Wool Beret Cloche Hipster Beatnick Gogo M/l100% Wool Winter Cloche Crushable Foldable Bucket Flower Church Hat Cap Gray-d&yEx Pre-owned Liz Claiborne Brown Wool Bld Cloche Velvet Flower Hat Fits 22/24"A104 Khaki Flower Trimmed Womens Winter Wool Cap Cloche Crochet HatChic! Vtg Mr Henri Dress Hat Blonde Mink Fur Silky Soft Cloche Pillbox ChapeauWine Red Vintage Women Wide Brim Bowler Fedora Wool Felt Hat Floppy Cloche Cap Vintage Brown Fur Feather Felt Flapper ~ Antique Hat ~ May Company, Cool UnusualVintage 60's Black Rabbit Satin Bow Fur Cloche Style HatLady Cloche Dress Hat Chic Bucket Yarn Floral Church Lace Hat Grayish