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Victorian Style Hats

Victorian hats and gloves were essential for both men and women. For example, the top hat was the standard accessory for upper and middle class men. For women, the style of hats changed over time and was designed to match their clothes. The styles and occasions of the hats were all related to the hierarchy, status and even political tendency of the wearer.   

Victorian women’s hats were simple and elegant. The hats can be worn on their own or decorated with ribbons, flowers, feathers and jewels. Victorian bonnets were the most common hat that was worn in the daytime during the civil war, while lace caps and headdresses were ornaments for housewives. Victorian women often wore an informal hat indoors. The headdress was known as a morning, breakfast or day cap.

Sporty hats were small toques or straw sailor hats. Their shapes and sizes changed over time. Today, the small Victorian ladies perch hats are still popular. It represents the bustle era and riding hats for the turn of the century.

The most iconic hat of a Victorian gentleman was the formal top hat. The height and shape of hats changed over time. In the late Victorian period, the top hat changed from a tall and narrow shape to a short and curved straw top hat. Bowler hats were other kind of common hat for gentlemen.

People in the countryside preferred the wide-brimmed planter’s hat in Gone with the Wind. Straw boater hats or sailor hats were summer classic hats. Later in the Victorian era, fedoras had appeared and became a stylish city hat worn by young people. These hats all came in many colors, such as black, brown, gray or taupe. Hats made of felt can be worn in cool weather and woven straw for wearing in summer.

Casual hats like the golf cap (also known as the newsboy cap) were bold, baggy with eight panels around the hat. Yacht-style hats or bucket hats and railroad conductor caps were other working-class hats. Upper-class people wore the fez or smoking cap at home.

The hats and bonnets of the Romantic Era were ornate creations, full of ruffles and frills, exotic feathers, vivid flowers, and colorful ribbons around the hats. The elaborate hairstyle was topped by these wide-brimmed hats, while the face was framed by the frills of a white frilly hat.

In the 19th century, women wore sun hats when gardening to protect their skin and eyes from the sun. The stunning 19th century sunbonnet featured a flat-plaited straw brim with ruffle framing the face. The hat was lined with lightweight organdy fabric. The same fabric is used to form a very complete poof to the back.

In the fashion world, there has never been a more sophisticated or dominating hat than the top hat. From 1850 to 1900, gentlemen wore top hats for business, entertainment and formal occasions. Usually, hats in gray for daytime, black for day or night. The top hat made the wearers look taller, handsomer and more exquisite. Even in the 1960s, men still wore hats for every outdoor excursion as women did.   

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