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A Brief History of the Most Popular Hats during the Roaring 20’s

Fashion was revolutionized in the 1920’s due to cultural and societal changes post WWI. The restrictive styles of the Victorian era were traded in for higher hemlines, streamlined silhouettes, and the bobbed head. The millinery world was forever changed with the adoption of shorter hairstyles, which signaled female empowerment and allowed for exploration of more fitted hats. Extravagant and ornate headwear became outdated, while lighter and practical hats took center stage.

 

1. The Cloche
Caroline Reboux and Lucy Hamar introduced the cloche circa 1914, but it became all the rage beginning in 1923. Cloches were generally made of felt and minimal trim for everyday wear, or beads and lace for a night out. The cloche also did away with silk linings and was replaced by grosgrain ribbon, which is the standard in fine millinery today. These bell-shaped hats became an iconic part of the “It” girl flapper style. Flappers also usually donned a dropped waistline and squared body, beaded necklaces, and long earrings. Upturned brims on the cloche were sought after by 1927 for a fresh update on the style.

Image: Everett Collection/Shutterstock.com

 


2. The Turban
Turbans became a favorite of the fashion set in the 1910’s and its popularity continued into the 1920’s. Turbans in the 1910’s were lavishly adorned with jewels, feathers, flowers, tulle, and strands of pearls. In the 1920’s, sleek tricot-draped turbans were favored alongside plain or brocaded gold and silver tissue. The turban was a symbol of eastern elegance, and it still continues to be a chic accessory for any hat lover.

Image: Everett Collection/Shutterstock.com

 


3. The Beret
In the 1920’s, the Basque beret, also known as the “French beret,” was popular for sports. It was also worn off the courts. The beret became the number one choice to use for riding in an open motorcar. 20 factories in France, Spain, and Italy were producing millions of berets by 1928. Hollywood also became the film capital of the world during this era, and audiences began seeing berets worn by leading ladies from Jean Harlow to Greta Garbo. The beret would later go on to have a major following in the decades to come.

Image: Everett Collection/Shutterstock.com

 


4. The Sailor
Notable designers of the time include Jeanne Lanvin, Elsa Schiapparelli, Madeleine Vionnet, and the doyenne of style, Coco Chanel. Chanel popularized the ‘garconne’ look and introduced a more sporty and casual chic aesthetic. She was inspired by male uniforms like the sailor outfit. The sailor hat, which resembles a boater hat, was especially loved by those seeking an androgynous style. Starlet Marlene Dietrich comes to mind.

Image: Everett Collection/Shutterstock.com

 


5. The Toque
Toque hats were a great alternative to those averse to the ever so popular cloche. The toque is a small brimless hat with a full crown and was seen as a more sophisticated option. Unlike the cloche, toque hats would go on to later see a full embrace in the 1930’s.

Image: Inna Vlasova/Shutterstock.com

 
 

 

Summary: Major changes from The Women’s Suffrage Movement to The Jazz Age influenced fashion to alter with the times. 1920’s fashion was inspired by movement, assertion, and liberation from the past. With a "less is more" focus, the cloche, turban, beret, sailor, and toque hats grew to be popular styles during the Roaring 20’s.


Sources:
“The Mode in Hats and Headdress” by R. Turner Wilcox
https://fashionmagazine.com/style/history-of-berets/
www.collectorsweekly.com/hats/womens-1920s-1930s-hats
www.american-historama.org/1913-1928-ww1-prohibition-era/1920s-fashion.htm
https://prohibition.themobmuseum.org/the-history/how-prohibition-changed-american-culture/prohibition-fashion/

2 comments

  • Love #3,4, and 5 ! Great info! Thanks for sharing !

    Jamie Fabulous
  • Love this!! The 20s were my favorite fashion decade with the cloche being my favorite hat shape of the time. Hope to see more articles like this one!

    Nedim

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