If you take a close look into the flamboyant Victorian Era, you will notice that it was an entire century of fashion and style. While the era was marked by grandiose clothing accessories and fashion ornaments, the one item or accessory that underwent the biggest and the most dramatic evolution was none other than women’s hats. These are probably the only or one of the very few and rare head gears to have experienced such major changes in terms of their style, appeal, trends, and symbols. From large bonnets to small bonnets, and plain hats to elaborately decorated ones, women’s hats have progressed into a dramatic art form of art. Interestingly enough, women are now also rocking baseball caps in the name of hats!
Hats- An Accentuation of Fashion Trends
Since ancient times, ever since the origin of these elaborate headgears, modern-day hats are a true fashion trend and symbol. The hat styles from the Edwardian era were thoroughly influenced by the Art Nouveau in the 19th century, an art movement that is marked by an international style of architecture and decorative arts. The main feature of this era was characterized by wide-brimmed hats coupled with pompadour hairstyles.
The British fashion is another great depiction of different hat styles and also evidence of these headbands accentuating numerous fashion trends. Queen Elizabeth has massively popularized the use of hats as a fashion symbol which is why hats have never lapsed in popularity in Britain.
Ever since those times, hats have gone in and out of the fashion industry and have made numerous theatrical comebacks. There is a hat for every possible occasion, be it weddings, birthdays, funerals and parties, to name a few. While becoming widely acclaimed fashion accents, women’s hats have also been regarded as a symbol of status and class. As the old adage goes like, ‘if you want to get ahead and get noticed, then get a hat’.
Varieties of Hats for Women
Given their incredible revolutionary history, there is a plethora of different types and varieties of hats for women, each with its unique and distinctive size, features, looks and history. These are some of the most popular and different types of hats that have greatly evolved over the years and have become true fashion and style symbols for women.
If you are an absolute hat-lover and strive to be stylish yet comfortable, beanie hats are one of the most ideal choices for you. These hats are best described as soft, head-hugging accessories that you can pull over your head whenever you are having a bad hair day. Also called ‘beanies’, when worn properly, they make an excellent winter accessory that is not just comfortable, but also looks super modish.
Beanie hats hold quite an interesting story in terms of how they become so popular over time among men, women and even kids. They first gained significant popularity in the United States with the labor class that used to work under harsh and tough weather conditions. They used to wear these hats to prevent themselves from getting cold and to keep their heads warm and cozy. Soon enough, beanies evolved into a massive fashion statement all over the world!
Simply put, a beanie hat is a brimless cap that may or may not come with a visor. They are made from a variety of different materials including silk, leather, felt and cloth. Triangular pieces of fabric are knitted together with the help of a button or a badge that is joined on the sides of the circle.
These hats gained massive popularity during the 1900s due to their unique and quite attractive bell shape. The name of the hate comes from the French word Cloche which means bell. Cloche hats are fitted bell-shaped hats that were typically designed to be worn low on the head which made them drop all the way to the forehead.
Cloche hats are more towards the vintage side given their classic appeal and look. They are usually made from a variety of felt materials in order to make them stick to the head without them slipping or moving all the time. While these hats were worn quite plain back in the days, the modern times have greatly upgraded them and now you can find a variety of cloche hats decorated with embroidery, feathers, appliqués, and jeweled brooches.
Interestingly though, many women used to affix different styles of ribbons to their cloche hats, which was a way of conveying a message about themselves. For instance, an arrow-like ribbon on the hat indicated that even though the wearer was single, her heart already belonged to someone else. On the other hand, a flamboyant ribbon style meant that she was single and ready to mingle.
The Fedora was initially a men’s fashion accessory but soon went to become really popular among women too. In today’s time, these hats are considered to be the most elegant choice of hats for women given how sophisticated and chic they look. They are also quite similar to bucket hats in terms of appearance and they make excellent winter hats. However, they are quite often compared to trilby hats given how similar they are.
It is a widely held belief that the French stage actress Sarah Bernhardt is the one who popularized the fedora hats. She was seen wearing a center-creased, soft-brimmed man’s hat in her role as the Russian Princess Fedora Romanoff in an 1882 play called Fédora. Soon after that play, the fedora became one of the most popularly adopted fashion ornaments, especially for women’s rights activists.
Fedora hats consist of a short brim along with an indent either on both the sides or only one of the sides. They go perfectly well with jumpsuits, floral dresses, one-piece outfits, and layered dresses, to name a few. You can easily spot a fedora from afar by its short rim, folded top and a unique ribbon styled around the base of the hat.
The name ‘beret’ comes from the Latin word birretum, which means “cap”. This hat was quite popular in ancient times and its popularity continues even in today’s time. The beret holds quite an unlikely, powerful history and has transformed from a simple, peasant’s hat into quite a unique political statement over the years.
The beret is a soft, round-shaped brimless cap that is usually made from sturdy and strong wool felt. This is a kind of fabric that prevents the passage of water or wind through it. The design of this hat resembles a tightly-fitted crown that allows it to stay put over the head without the use of an elastic material.
During the early 1500s and 1600s, beret became quite a favorite head accessory among the poorest classes of people. The primary reason behind that was the cheap and inexpensive manufacturing of the felt material. After that, during the period of 1700-1800, the hat turned into quite a political statement when a leader of the Carlists wore a red beret in the Second Carlist War. Following that, the blue beret became a symbol of mountain warfare in France and the French Army started wearing it to signify their status as elite members.
Finally, in the early 1900s, beret hats went on to become a fashion statement for women, particularly the black beret. It becomes a symbol of ‘bohemian chicness’ and was worn by several poets, singers, and artists of that time.
Often referred to as a “ten-gallon hat”, one would naturally think of cowboy hats like the one and only headband that is just meant for men, particularly cowboys. However, over the years, these extensive and overflowed hats with massive crowns smoothly made their way into women’s wardrobes. Like the fedora, these also greatly resemble bucket hats and they are like a miniature version of trilby hats and even bowler hats.
The cowboy hat has a great American history attached to it and it also greatly represents parts of the American heritage and culture. It is an incredibly iconic headwear that was regarded as a strong status symbol and was particularly popular in Texas, owing to the prominence of ranching.
These hats can be found in a variety of materials including leather, palm leaf, straw, and fur. There are also numerous shapes and crowns of these hats that allow one to differentiate between the different styles available out there.
Cowboy hats started off a necessary part of the men’s work wardrobes and eventually turned into a fashion statement for them. Soon after that, these hats became quite attractive to women pulling off the cowboy look with these hats by pairing it with a casual pair of jeans and a t-shirt. Many career-oriented women were also seen sporting cowboy hats with their business suits that added a great fashionable flair to their entire look and attire.
If you have been following the lives of the British royals, you probably know all about fascinator hats. These are elaborate headgears that are clipped to the wearer’s head and they make for an extremely elegant and an eye-catching fashion accessory.
True to their name, fascinator hats are actually quite interesting and also a very popular choice of headwear among women of the royal family. This term gained prominence in the fashion world, especially in Europe, sometime during the 17th century. Before that, the former version of the fascinator hat was basically just a lacy scarf that women used to wear and wrap around their heads. The primary reason behind wearing it in this particular manner was to give the wearer a kind of a mysterious aura.
The present, modern version of these fascinator hats came about as a result of the works of a New York milliner called John P. During the 1960s, John decided that it was time for these hats to make quite a comeback so he rebranded the little cocktail hats that were once referred to as “clip-hats”. The term “fascinator” began to appeal to a lot of women, due to which many of them began rocking these already-super-famous hats, making them even trendier than before.
Often paired with elaborate and flowing skirts, floppy hats were worn with great self-confidence and style by most women during the 18th century. They are also called “Gainsborough hats” primarily due to the fact that they were featured in several Gainsborough paintings.
Floppy hats are distinguished by their wide brims and elaborate decorative accents like large plumes, fancy ribbons, and blooming flowers. In the early 20th century, floppy hats began to be associated with symbols of secrecy and mystery especially ever since Greta Garbo, the Swedish-American film actress wore it to perfection in the film version of Anna Karenina. She looked very alluring and intriguing as the brim of the hat was made to dip over one of her eyes in a seductive manner.
The modern floppy hats have become more of beach-headwear accessory since the wide brim of the hats offers increased protection against the sun. Most women complement their huge floppy hats with a pair of dark shades or sunglasses which offers a great fashion statement in itself.
What started off as a simple way of protecting women’s faces from strong heat and dust eventually became one of the most prominent head accessories and statements in the world of fashion. Sun hats were also called so because of the function and purpose they served. They are huge and wide with a long brim that helps cover almost the entire head and face of the wearer. Back in the days, these hats were majorly worn by peasants and field-laborers that used to work outdoors under the scorching sun so they were mostly used as summer hats.
In the late 1700s, however, the functionality of sun hats was coupled with style and they became a major fashionable accessory of their own. The typical, average straw hat transformed into this incredibly elegant headpiece, often decorated with fancy lace, pretty flowers, and extravagant ribbons.
The standard sun hat consists of a small, sh0ort crown and a very wide brim that was just big enough to cover the wearer’s entire face. Sun hats are probably one of the very few rare and unique hats to have undergone such an elaborate transformation. The modern sun hat has been reborn beautifully and also consists remnants of the past. They reflect the old times and styles of hats from the past like the fedora, cloche and straw hat. Modern versions of this type of hat are super trendy, sophisticated, and carry beautiful embellishments like ribbons, metallic threads and an array of gorgeous colors.
There are different types of hats that are meant for different occasions so if you ever feel like splurging, get one of each and turn your wardrobe into a whole hat-affair! You can also include other varieties like panama hat, derby hats, newsboy cap, brim hat, ascot, trapper hat and flat caps for more and better options!
Gadget geek, watch lover, fitness fan, walker, long-time tech writer/blogger and family man.