Easel Incorporated Costume Accessories

Early 20th Century Ladies Hats

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Illus Mill Jan 1914 p 95
Illus Mill Jan 1914 p 95
A repurposed felt cowboy hat was washed and relocked into this 1913 style.
A repurposed felt cowboy hat was washed and relocked into this 1913 style.
The crown is oversized, in the fashion of that time, with a bandeau inside that's adjustable.
The crown is oversized, in the fashion of that time, with a bandeau inside that's adjustable.
The front is trimmed with a grosgrain ribbon "stick-up", as they were called at the time.
The front is trimmed with a grosgrain ribbon "stick-up", as they were called at the time.
The outer band is made of a moiré bengaline bias strip that has been pleated into folds.
The outer band is made of a moiré bengaline bias strip that has been pleated into folds.
The crown has a rounded, flat top.
The crown has a rounded, flat top.
The outer edge of the brim is wired and covered with a Petersham ribbon.
The outer edge of the brim is wired and covered with a Petersham ribbon.
View of the left side of the hat.
View of the left side of the hat.
The front is trimmed with a vertical bow on top of a pleated medallion.
The front is trimmed with a vertical bow on top of a pleated medallion.
I learned this trim from Louise MacDonald!
I learned this trim from Louise MacDonald!
Detailed view of the Petersham ribbon edge.
Detailed view of the Petersham ribbon edge.
Close up view of the adjustable interior of the hat.  A drawstring enables it to fit any size from 6 7/8 to 7 3/4!
Close up view of the adjustable interior of the hat. A drawstring enables it to fit any size from 6 7/8 to 7 3/4!
Over all view of the interior.
Over all view of the interior.
Originally made for the Disney movie "Togo" this buckram hat is covered with a  rusty-brown tweed fabric on the topside, and velvet underneath.
Originally made for the Disney movie "Togo" this buckram hat is covered with a rusty-brown tweed fabric on the topside, and velvet underneath.
The base of the shallow crown is trimmed with a custom-dyed and curled ostrich feather, plus velvet loops.
The base of the shallow crown is trimmed with a custom-dyed and curled ostrich feather, plus velvet loops.
The feather completely encircles the crown of the hat.
The feather completely encircles the crown of the hat.
This is the photo inspiration for the hat.
This is the photo inspiration for the hat.
Made in 2021 from a Paradisal straw hood, this is a 1915 style inspired by an image in the Illustrated Milliner magazine.
Made in 2021 from a Paradisal straw hood, this is a 1915 style inspired by an image in the Illustrated Milliner magazine.
The crown was blocked on a vintage wooden hat block and the brim was shaped in the hand.
The crown was blocked on a vintage wooden hat block and the brim was shaped in the hand.
The outer edge of the brim was folded back all the way to the head fitting, and a plastic brim wire was hand stitched into the outer fold.
The outer edge of the brim was folded back all the way to the head fitting, and a plastic brim wire was hand stitched into the outer fold.
The out hat band is made from a bias strip of Dupppioni silk.
The out hat band is made from a bias strip of Dupppioni silk.
The crown has a n indentation that runs part of the way around the top.
The crown has a n indentation that runs part of the way around the top.
The brim is slightly narrower at the back, for ease of wearing.
The brim is slightly narrower at the back, for ease of wearing.
Detailed view of the indentation in the crown.
Detailed view of the indentation in the crown.
Three different wired and pleated ribbons form the half-circle of trim.  A Turkey feather was dyed to match and cut into an arrow shape.
Three different wired and pleated ribbons form the half-circle of trim. A Turkey feather was dyed to match and cut into an arrow shape.
Detailed view showing the pleated ribbon and Duppioni band.
Detailed view showing the pleated ribbon and Duppioni band.
The inside has been finished with a matching Petersham ribbon.
The inside has been finished with a matching Petersham ribbon.

Hats styles in the beginning of the 1900's shared much in common with the ones from the late 1800's.  Of course, just because the calendar changes that doesn't mean everyone runs out and gets a whole new wardrobe!

As skirts evolved to more of a bell shape and sleeves puffed up it became necessary for hats to get wider in order to balance the silhouette.  Between 1904 and 1906 sleeves reached a pinnacle of width and that style came to be known as the "Leg-O-Mutton" sleeve.  Skirts were slim on the hips and wide at the hem, with an s-shaped curve in the overall silhouette.  This was a graceful time for hats with lots of swooping lines and even more trims.  Large, exuberant "picture hats" could be covered in net, flowers, feathers and ribbons, all layered upon one another.  Long hat pins were used to secure the large hat to a lady's hair, which was also styled in a wide, puffy topknot, giving balance to the head against the big sleeves and full skirts.  To be fair, not everyone wore that style and there were also plenty of straw boaters, or sailor hats worn particularly for outdoor pursuits, by younger females, and by women who worked outside of their homes.

By 1908 fashions were changing again, and the roller-coaster of 20th century fashion really starting moving!  Waistlines moved up, skirts narrowed (to become the ludicrous "Hobble skirt" worn between 1910 and 1914) and hats got bigger and bigger!  It became necessry to have an inner crown or "bandeau" inside one's hat so that it would actually stay on the head as they were so oversized looking.  Just as it seemed like fashions could not be more ridiculous WW1 began and clothing rapidly became more practical, if not entirely so.  With so many men away at war it was up to women to keep things going and they couldn't do that in a hobble skirt.

For maybe the first time since Marie Antoinette it became acceptable, even reasonable, for women to wear skirts that showed their ankles (a trend that continued for another 50 years with skirts getting shorter and shorter until they got ridiculous again with the micro-mini skirt, but that's a tale for another web page).  Clothing in general had sleeker lines and was not so fitted to the body.  Corsets were more relaxed and hats too became less fussy and not so huge.  This was a time when design lines rather than surface decoration became more prominent.

After the war and the subsequent pandemic, the second decade of the century saw the dawn of a new age - The Jazz Age!  Although many were shell shocked and world economies were badly disrupted it was also a time of hope and freedom, especially for women, who began to "bob" their hair.  The Cloche hat made it's first appearance and went on to become the signature style of the next decade.