Tuesday, 16 August 2011

Hats are Hardly Worn These Days

Hats, are hardly worn these days except perhaps at Christenings, Weddings and funerals and then generally only by women, and Ascot where the imaginations runs rampant in it's attempt to cover the female head.  For the man the Topper remains exclusively supreme.  As recently as the fifties, hats were commonly worn.  Workingmen in flat caps or maybe trilbies, and the city gent in his bowler.  Today a few old men may be seen in either cap or trilby, but generally if a hat is worn it is just as likely to be that ugliest of American imports, the baseball cap.  It is not so much a hat as a peak with a crown attached - a variant, and a not very good one, on the croupier's visor.

Our ancestor wore hats of infinite variety, they wore them pride and without any feeling of self-consciousness.  Just look at a few examples;

Quite what this is is not clear, her outfit has an almost Eastern European appearance, it is uniform like.  The Hat is different, almost representing a dish with a sleeping duck or crumpled rag on top. 
Looking at this you begin to understand what prompted the penning of "Where did you get that Hat?"

The picture does not make it clear but this looks like a a straw hat with a low crown it appears to be just perching on top of her head rather than being worn. Not a hat for a windy day.  She has a rather wistful look, has she just been to Chapel to be confirmed or dedicated.

 What can she be? a cyclist or a Sunday School Teacher. She seems to have a deliberate stand-offish look in her slightly masculine garb
A Creation fit, almost, for Ascot

The Bowler was introduced for Game-Keepers before becoming more widely accepted as a workingman's hat.  Later it became the almost exclusive reserve of the city gent, the bank manger and the Brigade of Guards.

A workingman1920s or 30s. Could be a Factory worker, farmhand, building worker, gardener in their Sunday best or a grocer or shopkeeper in the working clothes without an apron.

A soldier with his wife, or Sister, perhaps before a departure for active service.

 A more regal looking lady, is it her from the Big House?
 A young girl with a sun, or is it rain, Hat
Two lower middle class housewives out shopping.


  1. A fine collection of hats. I have a great love of both Sepia photographs and of hats and have a considerable collection of both. Could it be that somehow we are related?

  2. Hats really stand out in old crowd scenes. A bit like horn-rimmed glasses in the fifties and sixties (contact lenses these days).