Women’s Hats Over Time – History

Women’s hats come in different styles, designs, and sizes these days. Despite the variety of fashionable options, it’s always hard to choose the best solution for me. But as soon as I studied history, it helped me identify my style and liking. Of course, as a woman, you’re probably fond of hats as well. When you’re experiencing some trouble, don’t worry! Here’s a quick reference guide for you!

The Beginning – Wraps, and Turbans were the Fashion Trends

Yes, there is no evidence that indicates where and when the tradition of wearing lady’s hats began. The ancient Greek, Roman, and Egyptian illustrations, however, depicted women wearing head coverings. Before, it was in the form of wraps, turbans, and other caps. Years after, brimmed hats were developed to protect the neck and face from the sun.

After St. Paul’s admonition to the Corinthians, lady’s hats started to rule the world. From there, women wore wimples, hoods, and mob caps while praying. They also added wide-brimmed structured bonnets, especially when going out.

Read about best vintage style hats in this article.

The Enlightenment – Architectural Headwear with Flowers, Ribbons, and Other Ornaments

From the late 17th and early 18th centuries, the western culture had experienced a shift, commonly called the period of the enlightenment. Unlike the old traditions, the Enlightenment valued individualism and reason. Royalty and aristocracy introduced new fashions, which greatly influenced both the low and middle classes. Fashion designers became popular that attracted millions of fashion-minded women across the globe. What are the hallmarks of style during this period? Well, these included tight corsets, wide skirts, higher hair, and plunging necklines. Due to the towering tresses, architectural headwear had been gaining immense popularity. That’s not all! Women loved curly hair molded with wire. These were adorned with ribbons, flowers, figurines, and feathers too.

A pastoral style also appeared during the Enlightenment. Unlike the architectural headwear with flowers, a pastoral style was quite different. Most lady’s hats were shepherdess, popularized by Marie Antoinette. As a broad-brimmed straw creation, pastoral-styled headwear was decorated with large plumes, artificial flowers, and wide ribbons as well.

That’s not all! During the period, milliners and wigmakers competed with each other to develop unique, stylish, and appealing headwear fashions.

The Romantic Age – Simpler Women’s Hats

With the social and cultural upheaval of the American and French Revolutions, the Enlightenment came to an end. Lady’s hats became simpler, which represented the middle-class values. While the Enlightenment was known for architectural headwear, the Romantic Age was popular for chin-tied bonnets that came in different variations. The calash was one of the trendy versions of bonnets. What made it different from others is that they featured folding hoops. Another bonnet version was the poke bonnet. Commonly called the Napoleonic bonnet, the poke bonnet had a round front brim and a small crown.

With the curiosity of designers, the bonnets had transformed into a more stylish and appealing women’s fashion. In fact, experts added feathers, flowers, lace, fruit, and other luxurious materials to communicate the wearer’s status.

What else? Another popular style during the Romantic Age was the Merry Widow. Compared to the poke bonnets, the Merry Widow was different. As wide-brimmed plumed hats, the Merry Widow looked frothy and diaphanous. It was decorated with tulle and rosettes, too. With their extreme width, it was difficult to wear for women. But it had never been easier with flowing skirts and pompadour hairstyles.

During the Romantic Age, millinery shops had been creating a buzz. Sewing machines were used to produce inexpensive and quality hats. With the continuous innovation in transportation, shops were able to ship lady’s hats from across the world. Different cities featured their large emporiums. While Chicago had Marshall Field’s, New York had Bloomingdale’s. London also prided itself on Selfridges. Each of the emporiums sold bespoke hats to middle-class clientele. For local customers, they also enjoyed ready-made and affordable hats. Thanks to the Sears and Montgomery Ward. With their fashion magazines and catalogs, everyone could wear stunning and fashionable hats for different sporting events.

In the latter part of the 1800s, hat fashion consisted of more aesthetic designs. Hats were available with white linen peaked caps, and the styles changed the image of women as politically relevant, independent, and free. With the immense popularity, different women used hats.

Read more about vintage style clothing here.

The Modern Age – Sophisticated and Unique Designs You Shouldn’t Miss

During the world wars in the 20th century, there were dramatic changes in women’s hat fashion. The short hairstyle among women resulted in hats that sat closer to the head. Popular accessory options included turbans and cloche hats. Unlike hats during the Romantic Age, the turbans of the Modern Age were decorated with sparkling jewels and bright feathers. Despite World War II, millenary materials remained accessible and available. Although clothing and shoes were worn, women wore cheery hats to boost their morale. After the prevalent violence, pillbox and Halston hats were introduced into the market.
WWII had relatively affected women’s fashion. Some communities, however, still used hats during special events. African-American women, for example, continued to wear beautiful and stunning hats during worship services. Kentucky Derby and Ascot, on the other hand, required women to wear confections of roses, tulle, straw, and ribbons.

At present, silk turbans felt cloche hats, and straw hats are available online. Female customers can now order fashionable, colored, and sturdy headwear with a click of a mouse. Also, eCommerce sites increase in great number, helping everyone find a simple yet creative headwear.

Before, women’s headwear was used in churches. But things have changed today. We could wear our favorite design during a sporting event, casual occasion, and summer escapade, too.

When looking for the right hats, choose the one that can exceed your taste and style.

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