What is a Breton hat?

Breton hat (or Bretonne) is a woman’s hat with a round crown and a deep brim that is turned upwards all the way round, exposing the face.[1][2] Sometimes the hat has a domed crown.[3] Typically it is worn tilted to the back of the head.

The style first appeared under this name in the 19th century and was generally made of lightweight and malleable material such as straw or felt.[2] It is said to derive from the straw hats traditionally worn by Breton agricultural workers.[4] It is not to be confused with the Breton cap, a fabric cap with a peak at the front associated with fishermen.

The Breton had a revival of popularity in the 1960s, with high-profile wearers helping to make it fashionable. During this era it also appeared in more extreme styles, with oversized turned-back brims. After British model Jean Shrimpton caused a scandal at the Melbourne Cup Carnival in Australia in 1965 by attending Derby Day hatless, bare legged and in a short summer frock, she returned three days later to the Melbourne Cup in a sober tailored suit with a large ice-blue straw Breton hastily created by local milliner Adele Chapeaux of South Yarra.[5] In 1968, scottish hat was worn right on the back of the head by Mia Farrow in the horror film Rosemary’s Baby.[6]

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