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    

Fun Vtg 50s Green Mesh Garden Party Brimmed Hat Pink Roses Millinery Flower TrimAdorable Vintage Women's Straw!!!!!Glamorous Vintage Women's Black Velvety Picture-style Dress Hat Caplet Size 22Vtg 40s 50s Hat Lot Of 7 Flowers Feathers Velvet Mink Veils Satin Fabulous!!!Vintage Womens Frederick & Nelson White Cartwheel Hat Wide Brim Audrey HepburnWonderful! Vintage 50's Wide Brim Cartwheel Hat Ex Condition!Vtg 50s 60s Cloche Feathers Cocktail Christian Dior Mr John 4 Piece Hat LotVtg 40s 50s Blue Velvet Flower Headband Chenille Hat Skull Cap Fascinator ClawVintage Women Hats LotVtg Red Straw Ladies Designer Hat Black Grosgrain Bow Valle Original Unique Vintage Hat Veils ~ Millinery Supplies ~ Over 80 Pieces ~ Vintage Hat RepairThree Vintage Ladies Hats / Flowers/ Bamberger / Bloomingdales / Purple VelvetStunning Vintage Women's Rafield Genuine Panama Picture Dress Hat Velvet Band 22Lot Six Vintage Ladies Hats Dress Up * Play Acting WearLovely Vintage Women's Dress!!!Lot Of 9 Vintage Hats FascinatorsVintage Black Lace Catholic Communion Mantilla Vintage 1950s Multi-color Velvet Fruit & Leaf Claw Headband Hat With VeilLot Of 12 Vintage Women's Ladies Dress Hats Costume Dress-up Theater Play L@@k!Vtg Mr John Jr Blush Pink Woven Sisal Straw Cloche Bucket Tilt Dress Hat 1950sVintage Christian Dior Chapeaux Paris-new York Floral HatVintage Black Straw Wide Brim Tilt Patent Leather Band Trim HatVtg 1950s 1960s Green Buckram & Silky Fabric Spring Flowers Bucket Designer HatNice Vtg 60s Navy Blue Cloth Bucket Hat Large White Roses Millinery Flower TrimsAdorable Vintage Women's Dress Hat By.... Wade H. MerrittVintage Made In Italy Women's HatLot Of Vintage Womens Hat Early Millinery Spring Blue Cocktail 1950's Retro LookVintage Ladies Cream Wool Hat Bead And Braid TrimLot Of 3 Women's Vintage Hats Lot Of 9 Vintage Hats, Merrimac, Henry Pollax, Felt, Wool, Tulle, WovenVtg Hat Garden Party Lg Brim Bunches Easter Spring Flowers Kentucky DerbyVintage Lot 3 Brown Jami & Black Straw Showy Sunday HatsChic Vintage Women's Fur Felt Psychedelic Dress Hat Mister "t" Exclusive Sz 21.5Vintage 50's Felt By Master Craftsmen Champ 7 1/8 Black Top Hat Fedora Mad MenVintage 50's-60's Gorgeous Church Skull Cap Hat W/peach Flowers - Union MadeVintage 1950s Sequin/rhinestone/feather Pink & Purple Velvet Claw Headband HatVintage An Original By Dayne Silk Abstract Print Bucket HatVintage Cocktail HatBeautiful Feminine Vintage Women's Raspberry-colored Millinery Dress Hat Size 22Vintage Early 1950's Day Hat Light GreenLot 2 Vintage Women's Spring Hats Strawberry Shortcake Style By Wendez & GageVintage White Lace Catholic Communion Mantilla Vintage Woman's HatVintage Fur Pillbox HatLadies Exquisite Kentucky Derby Yellow Straw Hat With Delicate Stem FlowersFab Vintage Early 1960s Christian Dior Chapeaux Ruched Magenta Velvet Turban HatVintage Women's Hats 1950's Mixed LotVintage Deep Blue Lace Catholic Communion Mantilla Vintage Woman's Sun Hat - Multi-colored Polka-dots On White - Scarf TieVintage Deep Blue Lace Catholic Communion Mantilla Vintage Red Boater Straw Hat NiceVintage Ladies Gray Hat In 100% Wool W/ Grosgrain Ribbon Band Made In ItalyVintage HatVtg Du Barry French Adaption Black Velvet Toque Topper Pancake Dress Hat 30s 40sVtg Pink Rafia Straw Easter Hat Gloves Sheer Rose Scarf Wedding Church Dress 21"Lovely Vintage Black "pillbox" Hat With NettingVintage 1950's Norman Durand Floral Netted Ladies HatVintage Deborah Exclusive Mink Hat & CollarUnique Soft Pink Mod Mad Men Era Hippie Boho Vintage Straw Beret Ladies Hat 20inVintage Betmar Hat Floral With Brown Velvet