Sunday, June 27, 2010

Vintage Hats: All-Out Deliciousness

The Love-Knot
Tying her bonnet under her chin,
She tied her raven ringlets in;
But not alone in the silken snare
Did she catch her lovely floating hair,
For, tying her bonnet under her chin,
She tied a young man’s heart within.

-- from "The Love-Knot" (first verse) by Nora Perry (1832-1896)

German fashion plate - "Moden Z. 1829 - Lohse sc(?) - No. 50"
Throughout history hats have held an important place in the world of fashion.  Whether the year was 1829 with the pretty - and enormous! - German bonnets (above)...or 1960 with a fresh floral spring hat on the cover of Vogue (below).
Vogue, Feb. 15, 1960.  On the cover: "First glimpse of the hat situation - through a little-evening cage of green leaves, white stephanotis, and a rose-coloured rose at brow-level. All-out deliciousness is one of the self-evident truths of the hat situation this spring."
Here's what Vogue had to say about hats in its 2/15/60 feature article: The Truth About the Hat Situation:

     The truth about hats is: like diamonds, they're not among the necessities of life, but are among the tonic pleasures, and they add a tremendous charge of dazzle.  In another generation, we heard "you're not dressed if you don't wear a hat," but the obvious truth is that many smart women are now beautifully, though hatlessly, dressed, wearing marvellous hair as a substitute. 

     What we are getting at is this: hats are golden chances for a chic woman to acquire extra chic. This year, designers are coming up with a special surge of hat excitement - spectacular bulky shapes, or tiny toy hats, in featherweight substances of straw, organdie, silk, with results ravishing enough to tempt even the most diehard of the no-hat cult.

     About no-hattism: we have often found this to be simply the fact that, as the lovelorn columns say, the right one hasn't come along (this, a corollary of the principle that you can't marry a millionaire unless you first meet one).  Our advice to the hatlorn is to keep trying; each fresh batch of hats holds fresh chances to look wonderful..."

If you've gone hatless most of your life, but are feeling a little bolder these days and would like to add a "charge of dazzle" to your fashion life - here are some more hats to inspire you...

Taffeta striped beret - a fresh edition of the paperbag beret in brilliant Roman striped silk - purple, orange, beige.  Vogue magazine, 2/15/60.

Fez felt, with a new head-on approach to flowers - a spray of tulips stemming from box pleats at the front.  Vogue magazine, 2/15/60.

Gilbey's Vodka ad - Life magazine, April 20, 1962

Spring...and a New Hat for Audrey Hepburn.  Life magazine, 4/20/62.

Montgomery Ward Catalog - Spring 1939
   A few more hats from the 1939 Ward's catalog.  I love hats from this era!  I wish they were easier to find...

Pictured below are a few hats that I have added to my collection (and then sold) over the years...

Above is a vintage 1950's turban hat with glam movie star appeal...
....and below is a stunning peacock blue hat with rows of pretty pleats and a tuft of netting and sequins on top!

Pictured below are the newest additions to my (very small) hat collection...

The soft yellow straw hat above is wrapped in a pretty ribbon, and has a Dayton's label inside.  Dayton's department store was a favorite Mpls./St. Paul fashion destination for years.  I'm always happy to find vintage clothing with one of their labels because it brings back good memories of shopping excursions there when I was younger.

I love the glamorous vintage look of scarves worn over the head.  Here's a fabulous Oscar de la Renta find with wonderful stripes and bold geometric shapes....

But here's my favorite of all.  Found just yesterday!

Truly a work of art.  Don't you agree?


  1. Hi! Thanks for visiting my blog a while ago. Usually I pay back a visit sooner but somehow the summer, my daughters' graduation party or whatever got me stuck, but here I am, ready to enjoy your blog. It looks great, I love those hats! Too bad that you are easily overdressed wearing a hat nowadays, unless you're a member of the most severe protestant church over here. I can see the ladies go to church wearing their hats (sometimes in a bag in their hand) every Sunday. I bought a fake fur hat a couple of years ago, but I never wear it, because I instantly feel like our Queen Beatrix (google her) when wearing it.
    Have a lovely day!

  2. Lili,
    I'm glad you stopped by! Your blog cheers me up whenever I visit...

    I wish more women were brave enough to wear hats - like your Queen Beatrix. I think her hats are great fun!

    This past Mother's Day I went shopping with my sisters, and they convinced me to buy the hat that I'm wearing in my "About Me" photo. I wore it in the Mall for a little while, but I felt so self-conscious even though I knew that the hat looked good on me.

    Guess you have to be a certain personality to carry it off. Or Queen of the Netherlands. :-)

  3. Be still my heart! Could it be???! A vintage hat blog! That I stumbled upon by accident? I've been blogging and reading blogs for 7 months... Trying to find one. I ADORE hats! I saw your picture from your "following" icon on someone's blog... And man, your hat just grabbed me!

    These are all perfect hats and I love the wide variety of styles from an even wider variety of time periods ... It's a shame they aren't popular or sold widely. You should make it a trend! Thrift shops and one-of-a-kind shops seem to be the way to go.

    Thanks so much for this. I mean it. I'm so excited for your next entry.

  4. Dear Loveable Homebody,
    I'm glad you stumbled across my blog. I'm new at blogging, so I'm thrilled when anyone stops by for a visit!

    Send me an email - - and I'll be happy to send your way any hat blogs that I find that I think you might enjoy. For a wonderful historical view you might want to visit "Many Hatty Returns" at

    Best wishes to you!
    - S

  5. Thanks! I'm so going to email you. I've decided you are cool. I will check that website out too.

    Oh, and I totally understand the excitement when someone stops by, especially when the person find you, not you finding them. It's a lovely surprise! You may be new at this, but it sure doesn't seem like it!

  6. Me, cool? I'll have to tell my kids that you said that! :-)


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