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    

Fabulous Lot Of 13, Womens Vintage Hats, Very Nice Cond., See All Pics...True Vtg 40s 50s Wool Felt Designer Cloche Hat W Brass Foil Adornment & Feathers10 Vintage Womens Hats 1940-50s Christian Dior And Others Good LotFun Lot Of 33 1950s 60s Ladies Lovely Vintage Hats - Feathers, Velvet, Satin +Vintage 50's Faux Leopard Hat And Handbag SetVintage Canadian Fur Womens Hat Red Warm Winter Cap #227Vintage Tiny Velvet Millinery Hat Flower SprayVintage Lot Of 7 Fur Hats Collar Deborah Exclusive Estate Sale Find Cougar Nr Vintage 40s 50s Brown Wool Felt Molded Beret Hat Rhinestones MerrimacVery Pretty Vintage Lot Of Hats And AccessoriesGlamorous Vintage Lot Of Hats And AccessoriesBeautiful Vintage To Modern Lot Of Hats And AccessoriesVintage 40s 50s Brown Wool Felt Floppy Scalloped Wide Brim Fedora Hat DayneTrue Vtg 40s 50s Wool Felt Velour Skull Tilt Top Hat W Rhinestone Accent & BandLot Of 8 Black Vtg Women's Hats & Tams Some Designers Mostly Velvet W/ AccentsVintage 1950's-60's Schiaparelli Paris HatLot 4 Vtg Ladies Millinery Hat Black Headband Dressy Church 50s 60s Era StyletexVintage Schiaparelli Paris Yellow Brown Green Flowers Bowl HatAwesome Vintage Lot Of Hats And AccessoriesVintage Ladies Hats-mr D Amy Ny Italy Mr John Etc Wow Flowers, Lot Of 10 PartyFred Mueller Ranchwear Women's Black Wide Brim 3x Beaver Felt Hat. Size Large8 Antique Vintage Ladies Hats Hollywood Studio Estate Floral Vintage 1960s Christian Dior Ladies Jeweled Turban Hat Chapeaux Paris New YorkJack Mcconnell One Of A Kind Pink Hat With FlowersVintage Hat Lot 30's 40's 50's 10 Hats In All Evelyn Varon Chanda & SandsweptVintage Peacock Feathers Brown Bowed Hat!Vintage Tiny Velvet Roses Millinery Hat Flower SprayVintage Men's Guyer Straw Boater Hat With Black 1942 Band - Election HatVintage 1950s Brocade Christian Dior Chapeaux Paris New York Hat Turban With TagMr D? Vintage Black Hat With Feathers Gorgeous Vintage Lot Of Hats, Orig. Hat Boxes, & AccessoriesVintage Lot Of 5 Great, Assorted Mink Hats In Very Good ConditionVintage Estate 40s-50s-60s Designer Velvet Millinary Wool Straw 18 Piece Hat LotVintage 1950's-60's Mink Cloche Hat - Great Condition!!!Lot Of 11 = Vintage Hats = Womans & Mens - Great CollectionVintage 1950s Brocade Christian Dior Chapeaux Paris New York Hat Diamond BandVintage Pink & White Flowers Fascinator Hat W/ Netting Veil Hair CombsVintage Blue Velvet Hat With Rhinestone Pin By Dowa And Helios - Marshall Fields3 Vintage Hats With Rhinestones + Rhinestone Opera Gloves And PurseVintage 40s 50s Navy Blue Straw Wide Brim Tilt Bolero Hat Ace-hi New LookFour Vintage Mink Furs,capes Stoles, Oleg Cassini,+ MoreGorgeous Vintage Lot Of Hats And AccessoriesWinter White Vintage 1940s/50s Doeskin Wool Felt Fedora W/feather So Stylish!Vintage 1940s Doree New York Fur Felt Hat Ivory Beaded Bronze Band TrimMr D Vintage Purple Wool Felt Hat With FeathersLadies Downton Abbey Black Velour Satin Gold Brocade Hat1950's Vintage Glenover Henry Pollak, Inc. N.y. Navy Hat With Red Trim 100% WoolVintage 40s Era Mr. John Classic Tan Fur Felt Ostrich Plume Feathers Styled HatVintage Rose With Full Face Veil Lot Of 7 Vintage Ladies Netting Hats - Black, Brown, Blue, Green W/ Pom PomsVintage Ladies Hat Soft Pink Cotton Velvet ItalyVtg Women's Hat Hood Scarf Wrap Red/black Wool 1950s Hollywood Pin-up Chic! Vintage Women Feathered Black Hat With Hidden Hat Pin By Victoria New YorkVintage Oleg Cassini Red White Straw Orange Band & Daisy Flower Bubble HatVintage John Meyer Of Norwich Ladies Cloche Hat ~ Yellow TweedVintage Mid Century Style Ladies Feathered HatVintage 1940/50 Huge Wide Brim Straw Hat Millinery Flowers/ Bow ClothsnthingsLadies Vintage Hats 1947 - 1964New W Tags! Junior Seasons 40s Era Dark Brown Wool & Peacock Feathers Ladies HatVintage Mink Hat