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    

Lot Of Antique Flowered Hats Velvet Millinery Hat Flowers RepurposeVintage Woman's Hat Hats Coralie Valerie Modes Millinery Feather Lot Of 6Antique 1920s Art Deco Doll Hat Stand With Composition HeadVintage 1940's Natural Straw Hat Wide Brim Brown BowVintage 30s Blue Velvet Felt Art Deco Cloche Hat With Rhinestone Details EmbelliVtg 30s Black Velvet Felt Hat W/ Long Feathers & Rhinestone Bonwit Teller1930s Vintage Asymmetrical Brown Wool Felt Fedora Hat Gold Velvet Ribbon BowVintage Millinery Flowers Couronne Crown 7" Round Forget-me-nots + LovLot Of Antique Hand Made German Violets Velvet Millinery Hat Flowers GermanyVintage Black Velvet Hat With Net Veil, Silk Roses Bonwit TaylorVintage 1920's 30's Rare Painted Parrot Wooden Hat Stand W/metal Hat Frame1880s-ladys Victorian Silk Mourning Parasol-umbrella-34" & Silk Bonnet-org Set 4 Beautiful Vintage Womens Hats 1860 Bonnet Hat Antique Original Ivory VelvetAntique 1880 Hat Straw Velvet Beaded Vintage OriginalLot Of Vtg Millinery Flower - Japan Floradorn-13 Forget Me Knots & 19 Assorted1940s Tilt Black Riding Hat W Ostrich Plumes & Silk Veiling New York CreationsAntique Vintage Wide Low Brim Black Silk Cloche Hat With Peacock Feathers Japan!1860 Antique Cane Bonnet Printed Tan Silk OriginalLot Of 6 Vintage Ladies Hats 50s 60s W/ Hat Box Vintage Lily J By Eric Javits Ladies White Straw Hat W/black And White BowVintage Lot 7 Ladies Hats Designer Upscale Colorful Photo Studio Theater Props Lot Of 8 40s 50s Womens Hats Pillbox Fascinator Veil Mink Fur Tilt Velvet GatsbyLot 9 Vtg Ladies Cocktail Hats Evening Wedding Church Large Lot Vintage Millinery Silk & Velvet Flowers, Crafts, Hats, TrimsVintage Designer Ladies Green Straw Hat 1930s 1940s Green With Flowers1840 Hat Antique Original Olive Green SilkVintage 1940's Red Straw Cartwheel Hat With Flowers Wide Brim Derby17 Vintage Ostrich Feather Accessories Hat White Black Turquoise BlueLot Of 8 Vintage Ladies Hats With Designer LabelsVintage Women's Hat Lots / Lot Of 6 Vintage 1950s Ethel Young Seattle Ivory Wide Brim Felt Doeskin HatVintage 1940's French Velvet Ribbon Mossleaf 1 1/2"all Rayon Made In SwitzerlandVintage 1940's 50's Bes -ben Women's Hat / Autumn Leaf-berries / Rare Lot Of 9 Vintage Ladies Hats Henry Pollak & Others (609)Vintage Alfreda Inc Paris Womens Hat New York Small Fit Maroon Black Ladies NyAntique Vintage 1930's Green Velvet Cloche Hat With Pink Flowers RhinestonesVintage Lady's Hat-textured Black Velvet W/netting Du Barry Lot #16Vintage Christian Dior Floral Hat Chapeaux Spring RoseVintage Hat "miss Sally Victor" Green W/ Pink & White Flowers And VeilLot Of 2 Vintage Womens Hats - Early 1960s - 1 Is Black - 1 Has Purple FlowersGreen Velvet Antique Hat StandVintage Champagne Honey Beige Blonde Mink Fur Hat 20" Size 6 Lot Of 2 HatsVintage Ladies Pink Straw Hat With Face Netting(m)vintage Cream Felt Woman's Hat W/netting/pillbox/union Made/22" CircumferenceVintage Mink Hat Vintage Inspired 1920s 30's Silver Grey Cloche Hat Beads And Feathers ~ DowntonUnique Yellow Vintage Arlington Hats For Kentucky DerbyVintage 1940's Natural Straw Hat With Gardenia & RibbonVintage 60s Dior Chateaux Turban Hat Gold Lame' Under Tulle*** Stunning !!True Vintage 50s 60s Pink Portrait Hat Wide Brim Summer Chiffon Garden Party RabVintage Kleinert's 50's Swim Bathing Cap White Colorful Waterlily Rubber AdultWomen's Vintage Dresses & Hats 3 Beautiful Vintage Womens Hats All NettingVtg 1950s Black Eva Mae Velvetine Hat W/ 4 Rhinestone DecorationsVintage Brewster New York Women's Fur-felt Hat Size 22Vintage 1940's French Velvet Ribbon Bluet 1 1/2"all Rayon Made In SwitzerlandVintage Lady's Hat-velvet W/feathers-navy Blue-lot #11Vintage Ladies Women's Black & White Straw HatVintage Lady's Head Covering-black-mr. John Caprice Lot #17