Sunday, December 14, 2008

Hats off...

"Few women have ever been able to resist the temptation to try on a hat and discover in the mirror a person they never suspected was there. A hat alters the image we have of ourselves, and the image others see as well. For the hours we wear it, it brings out different dimension in our personality, much as a costume aids an actress in her role." (unknown)

Did you know that you lose 85% of your heat through your uncovered head? For those of us in the northern climates, we need those hats! Now, consider the sun need a hat that covers you yet allows the heat to escape...hence, the straw hat.

And...guess what I got at auction this week? Hats off to this buy! (None of them red though!)

From ancient times, women were always expected to have their heads covered by veils, kerchiefs, hoods, caps and wimples. A formal hat for a woman was first recorded in 1529 when the term referred to the products for which Milan and the northern Italian regions were well known, i.e. ribbons, gloves and straws. The haberdashers who imported these highly popular straws were called 'Millaners' from which the word was eventually derived.

By the mid 1800's Swiss and Italian straws, together with imitation straws made from paper, cardboard, grass and horsehair were available to women, along with the introduction of velvet and tulle. Bonnets were common during this time, but they gave way to the large flamboyant creations.

The Roaring 20s saw women's hair cropped short, and so the cloche helmet hugging hat came into vogue.

From the 1930s through the 1950s between the depression and WWII, it appears that hats tended to be more conservative. With the influx of immigrants from Europe, New York became the world's leading millinery city, with department stores such as Saks Fifth Avenue, Henri Bendel and Bergdorf Goodman leading the way with their own millinery workrooms.

During the 1930's and 40's the tendency was for hats to have higher crowns with smaller brims and once it was War-Time again, it was mainly the trims which were changed with women making do with turbans made from pre-war materials.

In my stash, I did not have winter hats from the 50s, but I did have some florals from the spring lines. The hats seem to reflect the joy of the post war days, yet women were feeling their independence after being part of the workforce, and the wardrobes were changing.

Jackie Kennedy introduced the pillbox in the 1960s. Despite the fact that the baby boomers saw that look, I do not believe we fully embraced it as hair became far more important...remember the musical "Hair?"

As less formal dress took over, the hat fell by the wayside...until Lady Di made it fashionable again...
...still many women say, "Oh, I can't wear hats!" Well, maybe it is just a matter of trying different ones on and finding one that is just right...but, then again, how many women want to be bothered? I love to wear hats...and not just for special fact, there is a white fur in this stash that will be on my head this winter!

"I can wear a hat or take it off, but either way it's a conversation piece."
Hedda Hopper


Susan - InHerOwnWords said...

I just love hats! While shopping and when I was quite young, Mom and I would try on EVERY hat we found. We'd laugh and have so much fun! Thanks for the memories!

Anonymous said...

Oh my gosh! What a wonderful selection. I used to wear hats all the time. I miss them. Now it is more for warmth and protection from the weather. Thanks Susan.

Patricia said...

I'm kind of partial to that satin apricot (?)number with the white flowers! or the frothy concoction of white chiffon with the pink rosebuds in it. Thanks for another terrific history lesson. Where do you get all this information? Is it stored in your head or do you research each topic? Either way, impressive.


Brown Bee Studio said...

Both my grandmothers wore hats, and my Momma even had one or two....we girls always loved to play dress up with them! I don't wear hats much myself, but I DO have a snazzy lil charcoal pinstriped fedora with a little rhinestone heart on the band that I sport occasionally. I also have a pink and white baseball cap with the initial "F" that I have never worn.....;o) I especially like that swaggeriffic yellow one!

Anonymous said...

Susan ~

I'm one of those who says "I don't look good in a hat". I guess the next time I should give a few a try.


KittyDigitize said...

OMG!!! What an excellent post! I LOVE hats!! I wish they would return once again. I love the large straws we wore in the 70's with our floral, full circle sun dresses. That's the last time... of course, before Princess Di that hats were worn around here where I live.

Now... I do wear my Lady Stetson because it keeps my head from sunburns in the summer and the glare from my face and eyes as well as the rain off of my neck!

But my most fond memories of hats was getting a new Easter Sunday hat every Spring! GOSH how I wish my mother had kept those hats! I would have them proudly displayed here in my home. They were so fun!

No one dresses anymore with hats down here. It's a sad thing to see missing from our lives.

Thanks so much Susan! AND... I LOVE YOUR HEADER!!!!

Noelle Garrett Designs said...

I was a big hat girl up until about 12 yrs. ago. I just don't seem to get dressed for them any longer. You really have some beautiful ones here. Great post!

cathy said...

I wish hats were still popular as I look good in them. No one in this area wears them though. I always felt I was born 100 years too late.

gail said...

Hi Susan,,, I love the hats of the the 50's. Especially Lucille Balls! I collect hats to and have quite a few now. They are fun and little pieces of art.

Have a good week, dont work too hard.. (())gail

Miniature Patisserie Chef said...

Wow, I love the hats in your post, but I have to admit I'm not a hat girl. The weather is just too hot here to put on one!

Have a great week!

Pei Li

Lilli Blue said...

I love hats. I have a huge collction and I wear them even though they are not really in fashion at the moment. I also love hat boxs. It is hard for me to pass a vintage one up when I see one. This was such a treat Susan. Your posts are always a real lift!
thanks, lilli

Carolee Crafts said...

Love the hats and the prints a very lucky find, thank you for sharing the history behind the creations

Francie...The Scented Cottage Studio said...

ohhh I wish that dressing up would come back again...hats, gloves and a dress ... now its jeans, flip flops and a tank top. sigh.

You scored some fabulous hats.


Michelle May-The Raspberry Rabbits said...

Susan this was great! I just adore the hats from the 20's. Thanks for sharing this fun lesson this week.
Hugs to you.

Inka Smith said...

Hi Susan,
I love hats and wear them when I can..even to work. OK it is not one of those pretty ones but when you ride a motorcycle you need a good hat for the helment hair or you will scare small children!!!


Eileen & Karen said...

Susan, I loved this post about the vintage hats! I wore a hat in high school sometimes. Wow, are those days ever gone! Lol! Thanks for visiting my blog!

Rachelle said...


I just love your blog. You put so much time and thought into it.

Thank you for the kind comments on my blog! If we're ever in your area I definitely want to come to your shop.

Rachelle (Anna's Illuminaries)

Shabby Shan said...

My husband is from Minnesota and always says your head is a chimney, but me bring from Texas I never wear a hat. I really do love the vintage hats. I wish they would come back in style.

Have a nice week!