Nothing tops a beautiful outfit like a perfect hat. Whether it’s a lacy headdress decorated with velvet and tulle from the mid-Victorian era or a wide-brimmed, "flower power" sun hat of chenille daisies from the 1960s, hats reflect and define the fashions of their day.
During the 1860s and ’70s, the popular drawn bonnets of the mid-19th century became oval, framing the face more naturally than the round ones that had preceded them. These spoon bonnets were decorated with ribbons, lace, and flowers made of organdy and silk. Straw skimmers, also known as rounds, were worn outdoors—the best of these had patterns of silk braids sewn onto their tops.
By the end of the century, hats were moving in two directions. Some were demure, almost too small for the heads they were perched on. Others had high-domed crowns and were piled high with loops of ribbon and drapes of rich velvet. Wide Gainsborough hats, sometimes called cartwheels, were the exception to this general rule. These showy chapeaux were decorated with so many feathers that laws had to be passed to prevent entire species of birds from going extinct.
As the 20th century dawned, the Gibson Girl dominated fashion. The hallmark of the look was an hourglass figure (achieved by painfully tight corsets) and a big hat up top. Gainsboroughs were still worn, thanks to their popularization in the 1907 musical "The Merry Widow." Smaller, but no less ornate, pompadour hats were a mirror of the popular hairstyle of the same name. By the end of the century’s first decade, Edwardian fashions were in full swing, resulting in black velvet hats trimmed with ostrich feathers and velvet-and-silk flowers.
In the years before and after World War I, gigantic garden hats were still in vogue, but other trends were having an impact. Hats resembling berets and turbans began to appear, as did Musketeer hats. Tricorne hats, motoring hats, and straw boaters all had good runs toward the end of the decade. And as a precursor of the decade to come, close-fitting cloche hats were introduced.
Women in the 1920s went crazy for hats. In addition to the ubiquitous cloche, some with wide swooping brims, some without, women wore sculptural hats resembling airplane wings or actual 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 sense of style...
During World War II, the fedora reigned, mostly due to Ingrid Bergman’s look in the 1942 film Casablanca. Crocheted snoods designed to keep hair from getting tangled in machine parts were a counterpoint to Rosie the Riveter’s famous red with white polka dot headscarf. After the war, berets of crushed velvet and printed barkcloth gained ground, as did bandeaux, which weren’t really hats but looked like them from the front when padded and worn like a tiara.
In the 1950s, hats almost resembled the costume jewelry of that period. The mushroom cloche and the melon hat were just two of the hats that took their shapes, and names, from food. Celebrities such as the Duchess of Windsor and Gloria Swanson wore casques, sailors, and large-brim hats interchangeably. Mamie Eisenhower wore an Air Wave hat to her husband’s first inauguration. Small but visually arresting cocktail hats were decorated with everything from dyed feathers to faceted beads, while bowlers, rollers, and Bretons were perfect for everyday wear.
Finally, in the 1960s, hats reflected the rising dominance of youth culture. The decade began with turban-like bubble toques made of feathers, prints, or mesh. Felt conehead caps and zippered Bobbie helmets exuded a Carnaby Street vibe, while fake fur was the fabric of choice for many pointed fedoras. Patent-leather jockey caps, from jet black to bright yellow, continued the Mod style, and even straw Gainsboroughs, which now seemed entirely in step with the trend toward natural looks, returned to the fashion stage for yet another bow.
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A party with purpose: Girls with hair-loss disorder getting new locksDaily Inter Lake, November 22nd
“For her it doesn't matter. She has an enormous hat collection. “Every once in a while, though, she'll say, 'I wish I had hair,” Joyce continued. “Hair is a big thing for women. It's so much a part of our femininity ... if she gets a good [wig] she can...Read more
Artist creates strikingly realistic felt and plastic food... and displays it ...Daily Mail, November 21st
Now cured of his illness, he added: 'I am able to eat what I like now but I still love making new additions to my Food Hat collection.' Mr Zabar, who is a teacher at Shenkar's College of Fashion in Israel, has been making the hats and fascinators for...Read more
Stampd “Golden Era” Hat CollectionBallerStatus.com, November 13th
West Coast-based brand Stampd pays tribute to arguably the best decade in hip-hop with this "Golden Era" Hat collection. The two-piece drop features snapback caps with either "LA" or "NY" on the front panel, and each year of the '90s along the side panels...Read more
Madaline has treasures at bargain at Spence'sThe News Journal, November 7th
He finds, among the jewelry trays, a handful of vintage hat pins. One is topped by a sterling silver bull dog. "These are yummies," he said of his discovery. As for the bulldog; "It's awesome." He will resell these treasures at his business: Yummies...Read more
Vintage hats, clothing topic of program by Shirley ConnorsMaryville Daily Times, November 1st
When the Knoxville-based Abner Baker Chapter, United Daughters of the Confederacy held its monthly meeting Oct. 19 at Historic Sam Houston Schoolhouse in Maryville, vintage hats, dresses, muffs and other items gave members a glimpse into the fashions ...Read more
Chris Davenport reveals his 'hat' collectionAspen Times, October 30th
Chris Davenport and Griffen Post take in the views in Canada on a recent ski trip. « 1 of 5 images; ». Related Media. Aspen's Chris Davenport could be anything for Halloween. The iconic skier, climber and ski mountaineer could don any number of...Read more
FairEnds Highlights Its Fall/Winter 2014 Hat Collection Using Insane Dance ...Complex.com, October 29th
Continuing its no-frills execution of panel caps, American headwear brand FairEnds presents its Fall/Winter 2014 collection with a dance-infused video lookbook. Created by Field Day founder Josh Cohen, the clip showcases the label's latest selection of ...Read more
Dr. Seuss' Hat Collection Displayed at Water Tower Place Starting FridayDNAinfo, September 19th
Geisel kept his extensive hat collection in a hidden room behind a bookcase off the library of his San Diego home, and was fairly secretive of his hat-collecting hobby, Dreyer says. But he did write a book loosely about it, "The 500 Hats of Bartholomew...Read more