The appearance of 1950s hats really took shape in 1947. That’s when Christian Dior launched his New Look, which included a line of bowed hats in textured straw. An aspect of the New Look dictated that the crowns of these hats should be extremely shallow, so variations on the cloche became known as mushrooms for their squat rather than bell-like profiles.

As the 1950s dawned, the cloche seemed to evolve into the close hat, a head-hugging chapeau that usually went without a brim and was popularized by Lucille Ball on the “I Love Lucy” show. Feathers in monotones of black or coordinating compositions of reds, oranges, or greens often covered these modestly scaled beauties.

At the other end of the spectrum were ’50s hats that almost resembled costume jewelry. Black velvet halo turbans were riddled with black sequins and topped by sprays of dyed feathers; glass cherries and grapes dangled from the rims of close straw hats.

Winged hats produced by Hattie Carnegie, Agnes of California, and many others used real feathers or felt to create a Mercury-messenger look. Fur hats in pillbox and mushroom cloche shapes used mottled chinchilla and bone-white rabbit to create a luxurious impression. And bejeweled cocktail hats dipped at asymmetrical angles, as if the weight of all that ice up top was causing the hat to list.

Celebrities such as the Duchess of Windsor and Gloria Swanson wore casques, sailors, and wide-brimmed hats interchangeably. In some circles, favorite wide-brimmed styles were the upturned portrait hats, some of which were almost two feet in length from brim to brim and featured black velvet inside and white felt on top. Meanwhile, Elsa Schiaparelli’s straw Panama boaters were covered with fabric flowers.

Horsehair was another favored material for hatters, as was taffeta, which was formed into flowers of all sorts, especially roses. Mamie Eisenhower wore an Air Wave hat to her husband’s first inauguration. And small, but functional bowlers, rollers, and Bretons were perfect for everyday wear.


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    

Huge Vintage Hat Lot - 1950s 50's 1960s 60's Church Hat Lot Resale 70+ HatsVintage Millinery Velvet Silk Straw Large 40 Item Lot Flower~crafts~hat~dolls Vintage Lot Of 10 Ladies Womens Hats Feathers Bows Tulle Ribbons 50's-60"sVintage 1950's / 1960s Pink And Ivory Floral Millinery Hat Stunning Vintage 1940-50 Shell Pink Velour Velvet Hat W Huge Feather Plume Gigi Hats NyVintage 1940-50 Deep Burnt Orange Velvet Hat W Huge Feather Plume Gigi Hats NyLot Of 10 Vintage Hats 50s 60s Pillbox Veil Fascinator Spring Fall Fur Straw Shabby Pretty Vintage Millinery Flower Bunch Wire Stem Pink Yellow Off-whiteVintage Lot Of Millinery Hats Flowers Roses Pink Blue White Green Gorgeous!Nwt Women Fedora Hat Louis Vuitton Scarf Black/pink Church Chanel Allure Osfm Vintage Lot Of Millinery Hats Flowers Roses Pink Blue White Green Gorgeous!Vintage Womens Hairband 1950's Hat..pink Velvet Flowers/net Fascinator..Nwt Women Sun Hat Louis Vuitton Scarf White Orange Church Chanel Allure Osfm Lot Of 7 Vintage Millinery Hats, Flowers, Feathers, SequinsVintage Nannette Chapeau Kutz Hat Fedora Black Brim & BowLadies Vintage Straw Black Hat With Feathers And BowVintage Millinery Flowers 6 Stems Tiny Cotton Flowers And Leaves Wire StemsVintage Daisy Pill Box Hat Topper Millinery Flowers Leaves Netting FascinatorVtg Retro Vogue Designer 1950s Black White Wide Brim Deco Cocktail Derby Hat WowVtg Retro Vogue 1950s Navy Blue Black Wide Brim Cocktail Derby Hat W RhinestonesLadies Vintage Hat Blue Straw Hat With White Ribbon Band RosamondeVtg Retro 1950s Womens Black Ivory Cocktail Hat Netting Veil Rhinestone FlowerVintage Women's Hats/lot Of 2 Hats+ Hat Box/black W/black Ribbon & Straw Hat2 Vintage Hats~brown "peachbloom Velour" Imported Fur Union Made + Blue FeltVintage '60s Yellow Roses Hat~with Tag~not Worn~adolfo Ii~nrBeautiful Bollman Wool Mr.john Vintage Mint Green Fedora Feathered HatUnusual Vtg Retro 1950s Stunning Beige Wide Brim Cocktail Hat W Flowers NettingVintage Womens Hairband 1950's Hat..dark Navy Linen Bow.. Fascinator.."toppetts"Vintage Womens Hairband 1950's Hat..pheasant Feathers Fascinator..bonwit TellerVintage Hat Cap Beaded Wedding Dress Party Retro Glam Photo Shoot Retro WhiteVintage Wedding Tiara Hm Organdy Roses Ab Crystals Lace Leaves + Pearls SequinsVtg 60s Woven Straw Cloche Bell Bucket Red Flower Floral Hat Summer Church Vtg Retro 1950s Golden Color Straw Cocktail Hat W Lg. Yellow Bow + RhinestonesVintage Womens Hairband 1950's Hat..bronze Metallic Bow Fascinator.."toppetts"Vintage Ladies Hat Fascinator Veil Netting-3 Black Chiffon RosesElegant Vintage 1960's Black & White Tightly Woven Fiber Lamp Shade Style HatCute Gray Wool 1940's Vintage Hat With Feathers Vtg 40s 50s Church Hat Black Velvet W Velvet Feathers Or Leaves Around The SidesVintage Ladies Bridal Hat-ivory Heavy Lace With A Spray Of BlossomsVintage Black Velvet Hat Bow Netting Veil Fascinator Norman-paulvin NyVintage Hat Rivera Jewett Pill Box Flowers Grapes Straw Leaves Millinery PiecesVintage Big Girl Velvet Headband Hat-black Double Bow Headdress Vintage Stix Baer & Fuller Women's Hat Pink W/ Broach Must See!Vintage Frank Olive Black Wide Brim Hat With Band In Craigs Hat Box - LudFine Montecristi Panama HatVintage Coralie Pink Flower Hat1960's Shocking Pink Velvet & Netting Vail Hat With Rose AccentModern Miss United Hatters Union Creme With Flowers Leaves Vintage Women's Hat1950's Women's Red Hat Near Mint ConditionVintage Ladies Bridal Headband Hat-white Chiffon Double Bow With Cage Netting Vintage Feather And Flower Hat By SearsVintage 40's 50's Fuchsia Hot Pink Velvet Miliner's FlowersVintage Ladies Hat Fascinator Veil Netting-pretty White Netted Ring, Big RoseVintage 1950's 1960's Black Woven Straw Millinery Flowers Floral Hat ~ BernallenVintage Womans Dress Hat--- Pink With Tiny White And Pink Pearls--netttingVtg Womens Hat Rain Hat Retro Costume Hipster Vtg 60s 70s Wild Feather Hat Fuschia And Pink Feathers On Large Pink Felt BaseAdolfo Ll Mint Condition Red Velvet Equestrian Style Hat. Vintage 1960's Women"sVintage Womens Hats Martelle Fur, Blue Velvet, Black Velvet Roberta Bermay MoreVintage Ladies Hat Fascinator Veil Netting-pretty Aqua Ring With Bow, Dotted Net