History Of Women’s Hats

Hats are headwear that has the crown, and often with a Brim. They are distinct from caps with brims that are not but can be fitted with the appearance of a visor. Hats are significant since they decorate the head as the seat of human rationality and also frames the face. Hats for women are often distinguished from the men’s, however, in recent times the styles of women’s hats are based on men’s.

Hats are a form of communication that signify gender, age as well as social status and affiliation with a group. They are also used as symbols of ritual and also increase the sexual appeal of a woman. As a form of art that is sculptural they can be described and perceived by their shape and color, as well as texture and adornments, as well as proportion and the size of the wearer.

Although hats are widely worn for centuries, their evolution in their place in the Western European fashion world will be the subject of this article. Fashions for women’s hats started with the Renaissance and then exploded with the industrial revolution of the 19th century often referred to as”the “Golden Age” of millinery that lasted until the mid-twentieth-century.

Origins of Hats for Women

The woman’s cap could originate from the head wrap of a turban or pointed cap as recorded within Neolithic cave paintings in Tassili, Algeria (c. 8000-4000 B.C.E.) in addition to the later Mesopotamian artifacts (c. 2.600 B.C.E.) Evidence of a variety of shape hats is found in Crete (c. 1500 B.C.E.) through polychrome terra-cotta females wearing various types of hats: the high sugarloaf and the flat beret and the tricorne, with curled plumes, rosettes, or ribbon-like decorations. These could be associated with fertility ceremonies.

According to Classic Fifth-century B.C.E. painted vases, Greek women were more likely to wear their hair on the top of their head, which was with a bandeau or net caul. The Greek petasos straw with wide-brims which were worn by both men and women as a sun-protector was also embraced by Romans. Because of modesty and the religious motives that stemmed from Saint Paul’s advice towards Corinthians Corinthians that women should cover their hair during prayer and praying. Wealthy Christian women of the Middle Ages wore draped veils or hoods, also known as wimples inside, and practical hats with wide brims over the wimple to travel. People wore wide hats over skullcaps and hoods while working in fields.

Renaissance Humanism: Fashion Begins

With the rise of Renaissance humanism during the 15th century in Italy was capitalism, fueled by international trade and increased the bourgeoisie’s wealth, and a growing appreciation for fashion and portraiture as art designs. This led to the development that is now known as Western fashion, in which people who wanted to enjoy the luxury enjoyed by nobles accumulated outfits and hats not only for practical reasons and frugality. In just a few years this focus of individualism grew to various regions in northern Europe.

The most extravagant woman’s hats were worn by women in the late-medieval or Renaissance courts in France, Flanders, and Bavaria such as the high cone-shaped steeple hat made of silk and velvet with a draped veil (hennin) as illustrated in contemporary publications of fairy tales from the medieval period and the brocaded silk, filled with borelet that was fashioned into huge hairy horns and reproduced using proto-feminist writings of Christine de Pisan as The Book of the City of Ladies (1405). The other styles of the present include the huge, round beehive-shaped hat that was popular in Germany as well as an English silk-gold braid that has pearls that are covered with wimples of gauze that were wired. The scholars have spotted the cultural cross-references for these extravagant headpieces, which are believed to originate from Turkish fashions at a time that they were in the process of expanding their control. Ottomans had expanded their power to the eastern part of Europe close to Vienna. To counter the excesses of women, Catholic churchmen were known to inspire Christians to shout insults at women sporting outrageous headwear. In certain areas there were laws of sumptuary that restricted the amount, size of materials, and sizes that could be used for women’s hats as a way to curb excesses and preserve the social hierarchy of classes.

Court Fashions

Since the 16th century the styles of hats were heavily inspired by royal taste and styles, from an English Tudor gable hood to the Elizabethan hairstyles and a vast selection of taffeta, velvet silk, felt beaver, and leather Hats, many of which were inspired by men’s fashions.

The seventeenth century witnessed a white lace, wired or Starched “Mary Stuart” hood as fashionable for indoors, as well as the broad-brimmed, plumed felt or beaver hats to ride outdoors was a favorite of queen Henrietta Maria. In the English Restoration Queen Catherine of Braganza, Portugal, still had the “cavalier” style for riding in 1666.

In portraits, court women throughout the reign of Charles II were often depicted as pastoral “shepherdesses” holding contrived sun-protector hats constructed of thick fabric as velvet. In the century following the look of the pastoral was still fashionable but the hats evolved to more realistic, broad-brimmed straw hats known as Bergere. They were adorned with artificial flowers, ribbons, and huge plumes and reached their peak in the form of Marie Antoinette as painted by Vigee Lebrun. While many of the hats were created locally, they were made from materials that resembled country style. the most luxurious, silky straw was brought to Leghorn, Italy, to northern markets and used extensively by fashionable milliners.

The 17th century was in its final stages, France became Europe’s fashion center under the reign of Louis XIV. Some of the more stunning headpieces of the time was named in honor of the queen’s lover. Supposedly Mlle. Fontanges was riding and her hair got caught on a branch. After she tied it with a ribbon (possibly her garter made of lace) and the fontange was created. It evolved into a complicated intricate, ruffled, and tiered architectural design of lace, muslin and ribbons welded on a wire base. Carnival and masquerade balls were a popular place for women from Venice, Rome, France as well as England to wear fanciful headwear that included flower basket hats, tricornes, and extravagant Eastern turbans. After having lived in Turkey for two years as the spouse of the British ambassador, Lady Mary Wortley Montagu was influential in promoting the turban as a fashionable style for women in England.

In the 18th century, milliners fought wigmakers in creating headwear styles. This could be the reason why during Georgian England, enormous crowned caps with stiff linings and huge plumes were the fashion, based on French designs created by Marie-Antoinette. They were also associated with odd events, like the balloon hat, named after Vincenzo Lunardi who in 1784 was atop a hot-air balloon. However, the fascination with fashionable hats was stimulated through the first hand-colored fashion-plate magazines like The Lady’s Magazine (London, c.1760-1837) and Galerie des Modes (Paris, 1778-1787).

Middle-Class Fashions

The social revolutions of the French Revolution, aristocrats lost their social, political, and economic advantages. Those who remained had to be wary of separating themselves from the excess and wigs of the old regime. Simpler hats that were are associated with the prevailing middle-class values became fashionable, while exotic turbans were still in fashion and could have influenced African headbands.

In the late nineteenth century, which reflected the ideals of Romanticism and the chin-tied hat, with its various variations, was the norm starting with the calash and its hoops folded in the shape of an enclosed wagon, to the poke-style bonnet that stretched out to the outside. With intricate silk, lace feathers, feathers, and fruit trims, the bonnets of mid-century represented the woman’s status as the queen of her home and a sign of the financial success of her husband. The man’s top hat sent the same message as well as increased social status. The fashion remained in place through the rest of the 19th century, and well into the twenty-first century.

Massive stores like Bloomingdale’s located in New York, Marshall Field’s in Chicago along Gorringes in London were beginning to appear in cities, selling ready-made and customized hats from their millinery departments for a growing middle-class population. The rural residents of their native United States could learn of new styles from magazines like Godey’s Lady’s Book (1830-1898) and purchase hats and bonnets for reasonable prices via mail-order catalogs. They began at Montgomery Ward in 1872 and Sears Roebuck after 1886.

Millinery Industry

From the 16th century onwards, “millinery” referred to exquisite artifacts made for women like gloves, ribbons, and straw hats that were offered by males in Milan, Italy. In 1679, milliners had become dressmakers, who also designed and sold women’s bonnets, hats, headdresses, and trims. Newspaper ads indicate that millinery shops were prevalent during the eighteenth century European as well as American cities, but the owners were typically only known local to the area.

The first milliner to be recognized internationally is Rose Bertin (1744-1813), marchande de mode, whose extravagant salon Le Grand Moghul, located in the rue Faubourg Saint-Honore, Paris, became the place to go for stylish designs featuring ribbons, laces, and trimmings as well as the most recent gossip about social life. Her most famous client was queen Marie Antoinette until the royal execution in 1793. The records of her business in the University of Paris reveal clientele that included nobility from Russia as well as England.

The industrial revolution in the nineteenth century affected the millinery business in a variety of ways. A new sewing machine was introduced in America and exported to other countries which meant that large amounts of hats could be made quickly for a reasonable price. Hats made by the machine could be kept and shipped to wholesalers for sale in department stores, or to export overseas. Trains and ships helped the distribution of mass-market merchandise, Paris was still regarded as the capital of elite fashionable hats. The wealthy women would travel to Paris to buy items and milliners from stores in London as well as New York made annual pilgrimages to bring back “latest” modes and trimmings to their customers at home. Millinery tips and ideas were also available to large audiences through subscription magazines such as Harper’s Bazaar (1867- ) in the United States, Townsend’s Monthly Magazine (1823-1988) in England and Le Follet (1829-1892) in France.

Folk Costume Hats

Another trend of wearing hats and clothes took place in Europe outside the fashion circles of the aristocratic during the late nineteenth century. Following the loosening of the sexy rules regarding clothes, especially following the French Revolution, European peasant artisans, influenced by nationalist sentiments started to show their cultural identity with elaborate costumes worn to Sunday services of worship, dancing, and other celebrations. These vibrant costumes and hats that are still worn by townspeople and villagers represent a visual representation of marital status and community that are worn for occasions. The hats worn by women are usually straw or felt or other natural materials. due to their vibrant designs, they’ve been a source of inspiration for 20th century fashion-conscious milliners who could create the same styles using new synthetic materials. Sometimes, they are called “ethnic-chic,” examples include the bead and sequin velvet Basque beret and the Tyrolean felt sports hat The “pakable” rayon knotted turban, Central Asian styled velvet-and-pearl pillbox as well as Cellophane Breton.

Unisex Sports Headwear

In the early 1860s in 1860s, when the middle class was expanding and enjoying more leisure activities the tailoring techniques of men began to be applied to women’s dresses. The slightly flared skirts replaced earlier crinolines and were complemented by formal suits. In the same way, the extravagant and extravagant bonnet of the past was replaced by more basic and masculine-styled clothing. These types symbolized to those who were the “New Woman” a sense of freedom in the physical through the sport of sports as well as political independence through the Suffrage movement.

For outdoor activities, women wore caps made of white linen for rowing or yachting. They also wore the plain, flat-top, hard straw boater, for cycling and later, automobile driving. Boaters could be used for formal wear and adorned with feathers or plumes of birds.

Other styles of hats worn by both genders were the round-crown bowler, stiff felt or derby, as well as a black silk top hat that was worn for riding horses as well as the woolen tam o’shanter hat to play badminton, lawn tennis cycling, or other sports or cycling; the fore-and-aft for a hunting camp, and the fedora to play archery or golf. In the winter months stocking caps made of knitted were utilized for ice sailing, bobsledding, and skating. In the indoors, the Breton was considered suitable for roller skating or bowling which was also known by the term “rinking.” The pattern of women’s participation in sports through wearing hats and caps that are unisex continues to this day. As spectators wearing the modern baseball cap at league games, as well as for golfers when playing on the links.

Twentieth Century

World War I (1914-1918) caused a dramatic change in hairstyles, clothes, and hats. It also created an environment that was lucrative for young designers. In the 1920s, short skirts hair that was bobbed, as well as the bell-shaped cloche cap, were popular across the Atlantic.

Paris was, however, the epicenter of fashion, with such designers like Elsa Schiaparelli, Cristobal Balenciaga, and Agnes who introduced abstract forms and synthetic materials. New York and Hollywood also attracted millinery talents from Europe. Hattie Carnegie of Austria began her career as a milliner in New York at Macy’s before creating her own shop and later establishing an empire in a millinery that had a thousand employees. The French-born Lilly Dache trained with Suzanne Talbot and Caroline Reboux in Paris before arriving in 1925 in New York, where she was also employed by Macy’s before opening her own salon which resulted in a multimillion-dollar business, global fame, and acclaim for her flower designs, turbans along with”the “half hat.” John-Frederic’s hats were the result of the collaboration with John Piocelle (who studied in Paris at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts) as well as the commercialist Frederic Hirst (1929-1947). Their designs became famous thanks to Hollywood stars such as Marlene Dietrich Gloria Swanson, and Greta Garbo who were wearing the slouch cap.

Oleg Cassini, the son of the Russian count, began his career in Paris before embarking on a lengthy career of designing in Hollywood studios. Individual designers kept their own salons with unique hairpieces, they also produced mass-produced cheaper styles to sell through department stores located in urban areas.

Sally Victor also got her millinery beginnings at Macy’s and in the 1930s she started her own business along with her husband, Victor Serges. Her hats incorporated fashion-forward styling with affordable pricing that was designed for a diverse middle-class customer base, which included Mamie Eisenhower. Many of the couturiers of the 20th century were milliners (Coco Chanel) or created accessories such as hats, purses, and bags as accessories to their clothing lines (Christian Dior). Through the entire 20th century, gloves and hats were mandatory for social gatherings.

In during the World War II Nazi occupation of Paris (1940-1944) in which the fashion industry was hampered by rationing and export sales, French women boosted their morale by sporting outrageous designs on their heads that were constructed from scraps. After the armistice, there was reconstruction and the promise that Paris would once more be the leading fashion destination in the world. By 1950 an elite group of millinery wholesalers and retailers from all over the world went to Paris fashion shows, buying rights to replicate the most fashionable styles of hats for their markets for a low cost.

The year was New York, Bergdorf Goodman was known for having the finest millinery department. the custom-designed Halston caps were top of the class. Roy Halston Frowick created the famous deep pillbox hat, which Jacqueline Kennedy wore to her husband’s 1961 ceremony. The hat was designed to be worn back over the head, suited the bouffant style of the First Lady. In the following some time, the pill-box was the fashion in America and boosted the millinery business, and was later dubbed Jackie’s favorite hat.

Some historians believe that President John F. Kennedy’s preference for wearing hats being the driving force behind the trend towards cutting off men’s toppers from formal wear. Others believe that an era of civil rights as in the process of influencing this change as the hats of past centuries been a visible symbol of class. Whatever the reason, by the 1960s, the practice for both women and men of wearing hats at social gatherings began to fade away. “Informality” became the key to dressing styles. Hats were viewed as unimportant especially among the young generation who was focused on changing their lives and gaining independence. Milliners were replaced with professional hairdressers who designed self-expression hairstyles like the Afro as well as cornrows that were popular with African Americans. Then, middle-class women were given the luxury of pantsuits with no precedents, nor hat-wearing standards.

Contrary to the white population Urban African American women never stopped wearing headdresses. They keep their African tradition that survived slavery, of wearing hats on the head with a hat for religious celebrations. Incorporating holiness and glamour, their Sunday hats are vibrant extravagant, extravagant and abundant (some have up to 100) constructed from straws, felts furs, starched fabric decorated with plumes, sequins, artificial flowers, and rhinestones, which extend the head upwards and outwards. Designers, like Shellie McDowell of New York whose clients, include Oprah Winfrey, understand the fashion preferences of black women as well as their desire to be recognized. This distinctive custom of black women wearing church hats was recorded through the publication Crowns (2000) and also in an off-Broadway production with the same name.

In England After two decades without a break, Princess Diana encouraged the wear of stylish caps during the 80s. Her milliner from London John Boyd and others (Simone Mirman and Graham Smith) continued designing crowns for members of the royal family and also produced fashionable ready-to-wear collections and the gifted Stephen Jones struck out into an additional surreal, trend-setting style that was influenced by the bizarre punk looks of colored Mohican-spiked hair and the rock generation.

Festivals have also helped spread the word about the use of hats. In the 1880s and 1940, aided by millinery makers, Easter Sunday parades were held in American cities. These parades enticed American women to buy or alter their Easter bonnets and dress their daughters and walk down the main streets. In the Hollywood movie, Easter Parade (1948) had Fred Astaire and Judy Garland take part in a reenactment of the New York Fifth Avenue event.

In England The historical Ascot is a week-long race series for horses, that is run every year in June, and was featured in the show My Fair Lady, still has its highest level of excitement in the days of Gold Cup Day, known from the year 1807, as Ladies Day, when the males wear traditional top hats and the Queen, in addition to many women of all classes, wear stunning chapeaux. The large picture caps (also known as “cartwheels”) are the most popular however what draws the most attention and makes it into press reports are pictures of the most unique headwear, which feature intriguing images like dartboards, cell phones, and flying saucers. Astroturf, or even a birdcage.

Paris is celebrated as Saint Catherine of Alexandria Patroness of milliners and maidens, on the 25th of November. Women who are unmarried, especially those who work in the millinery business and are referred to by the name of “Catherinettes,” wear extravagant headdresses to celebrations that are held in honor of them. In the past, they were aiming to snag a husband with the help of saints.

An important effort to revive interest in millinery was the 1983 debut of the Hat Making Museum in Chazelles-sur Lyon, France, center of the old hair felt industry of hats. Its permanent exhibit features an exhibit of hats dating back to 1850 and its temporary exhibits include the results of the annual International Contest of Hat Designers that was held in 2003. It was attended by 176 hats representing 16 nations which included Canada as well as Australia, Canada United States, Australia, and Japan.

5 replies on “History Of Women’s Hats

  • gralion torile

    I am glad for commenting to let you know of the excellent discovery our daughter went through using your blog. She noticed lots of issues, most notably what it’s like to have an amazing teaching character to have most people really easily learn about some extremely tough issues. You actually did more than people’s expectations. Thanks for delivering those good, trusted, explanatory and in addition easy guidance on this topic to Jane.

  • graliontorile

    Nice post. I was checking constantly this blog and I’m impressed! Extremely useful info specially the last part 🙂 I care for such info much. I was seeking this certain information for a long time. Thank you and best of luck.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.