It’s often very easy to date a photograph of women from the clothes they are wearing and in particular, their hats. From the cloche hats of the 1920s to the baker boy hats of the 1960s; there are so many iconic looks in the world of headwear. Cut to 2020 and it would be pretty rare to see women wearing hats on a daily basis. But why did we stop wearing hats? Apart from the odd knitted beanie for warmth or a floppy sun hat in August, women don’t really go in for hats anymore and you don’t see many styles on the high street. That’s thanks in part to women gradually finding them difficult to match with outfits and dropping them from their wardrobes altogether, that and the Catholic Church’s decision to drop their dress code back in 1967. This stated clearly that women had to wear hats to cover their hair for modesty. By the forties and fifties women had already started find them an unnecessary accessory and the Catholic Church’s intervention in 1967 just confirmed what women already knew; they didn’t have to wear a hat if they didn’t want to.
Personally I’m all for seeing a woman’s flowing locks and hats can be a tad inconvenient at times. Hat hair is a big problem and a red line across your forehead can be a bit of an eyesore! When it rains you can always wear a hood or whip your umbrella out, and of course many more women drive these days so the practical need for a hat is even less so.
But where did it all begin? Women started wearing hats in the Middle Ages following a decree from the church that women should cover their hair. In the 18th century hats became an art form as well as for functionality and in Italy these creative craftsmen were named milliners, after the famous city of Milan where straw hat making originated. Milliners would create bonnets with lace, trims, bows and feathers to perfectly match the and enhance a woman’s costume. From the 1800s hats changed styles from straw bonnets in the early 1800s to feathers and plumes in the1830s, and by the mid-1800s hats were big, and continued to stay that way until the 19th century. Hats would become more modest from the First World War onwards and by the 1940s they were much smaller and beginning to be seen as a more unnecessary addition to an outfit. Dior’s New Look brought dramatic hats back to the forefront of fashion in the 1950s and by the 60s, hats were influenced more by men’s fashion as style played with gender roles and androgyny.
However, this is of course a generalised overview and hats still have demand, none more so than by hat collectors themselves. Vintage hats are extremely popular and one only has to have a quick search online or browse a vintage shop to see that. Whatever you fancy if it’s a cloche from the 1920s or a wide brimmed floppy hat from the 70s, you’re bound to find it somewhere. Most vintage boutiques have the most divine collections, with many of them original. More famous labels will of course carry a heavier price, from Chanel and Christian Dior to Elsa Schiaparelli and Yves St Laurent. Some famous department stores would also have their own hats and these again can carry a heavier price tag.
We have some amazing vintage hats in stock at My Vintage, here are just a few of my favourites...
This is a truly stunning hat from the 1930s in a deep french navy blue crepe with a soft and luxurious grey fur trim.
Super cool mod hat for the Vespa riding gals! Brown felt/wool with high dome shape and small peak. Cream contrast stitching and cream scarf ties to keep your hair and hat in perfect position.
Stunning deep forest green beret from Kangol. Made in the UK from 100% wool. Super stylish and collectable.
At certain periods hats were works of art and are fine collectors pieces as well as being the perfect vintage accessory to an outfit. From flamboyant feathers and plumes to the more conservative wools and felts, the hat has gone through a gamut of different and very distinctive looks. If you do decide to buy a vintage hat, be sure to just wear it - there’s no need to wait for Ascot or a fancy wedding.
Until next time
You can shop for vintage hats, accessories and jewellery online 24/7 at www.myvintage.uk or visit our vintage clothes shop in Darwen, Lancashire.
Copyright 2020 My Vintage... Written by Emma at My Vintage - www.myvintage.uk
Tags: vintage hats, hats, retro hats, headwear, vintage headwear, accessories, vintage accessories, 1960s hats, 1970s hats, 1950s hats, 1940s hats, 1930s hats, 1920s hats