Mad Hatter

There is something mysterious, chic, and classy about a woman who wears a hat. I can’t think of a better time of year to wear a hat than late fall as the last of the leaves hang from trees, dusk comes early, and there is a cool chill in the air. For me, hats are purely an accessory although they are really a  fashionable way to add warmth. There is no easy formula for finding a hat that will fit you right. In the same way that you try on pair after pair of jeans, you just have to keep trying different styles and shapes of hats until you hit the jackpot. Because I’m a bit of a fashion history nerd, I thought I’d share a little about a few of the more common styles.

Fedora: The word fedora comes from the title of the play Fédora, written for Sarah Bernhardt by Victorien Sardou in 1882. Bernhardt played Princess Fédora, the heroine of the play, who wore a hat similar to what is now considered a fedora. The fedora was originally a woman’s fashion accessory, but became commonly associated with men during Prohibition and the Great Depression and were even more popularized by actors who donned the hat in their movies to play gangsters, detectives, and other “tough guy” characters. The fedora is known for its lengthwise crease and pinching on both sides of the front, finished with a grosgrain ribbon band.

Cloche: The French word for bell, the cloche is a fitted and bell-shaped felt hat first created by Caroline Reboux, a French designer and milliner. They were popularized in the 1920s and remained an essential part of a woman’s outfit for just over a decade. Ribbons were worn around the hat and represented different relationship statuses. An arrow-like ribbon was worn by the single girl who had already given her heart to someone; a firm knot indicated a married woman; and an extravagant bow proclaimed the single girl who was interested in mingling. The cloche saw a reemergence in many Fall 2007 collections.

Driving cap: Also known as a flat cap, Newspaper cap, and touring cap among other names. This hat is a rounded cap with a small, stiff brim in front often made of wool, tweed, cotton, and sometimes corduroy or even leather. Perhaps more commonly worn by men, it can be traced by to the 14th century in the United Kingdom and Italy. It is often associated with working class boys and men although it became popular countryside wear for upper class men. It is still popular in Britain with older men, but has trickled into punk and hip hop subcultures. Roots also popularized it with their red version for the Canadian 1998 Winter Olympic team.

I found this lovely hat perusing at one of my favorite stores: Steeling Home. I actually went to find a birthday gift and ended up picking one up for myself… seems to happen on a fairly regular basis!

Hat: DeLux via Steeling Home

Looking for a special hat for a special occasion? Check out ZsaZsa’s Hat Salon for some truly amazing millinery creations.


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