Tag Archive | hat history

Around the World in a Hat: Part 1

Hats are great. They’re stylish, they’re fun, and  all in all make great head coverings.
But did you know that they also form an essential part of national ID around the world. Take a look around the world and what you’ll see is a dizzying array of Hats and Caps in all of the colors of the rainbow! So in the spirit of the summer travel season lets start a world -wide hat tour.We’ll start our tour in Europe.

The Borsalino Hat

The Borsalino Hat

Italy– Well Italy gave us hats you could say. The word Millinery is similar to Milan for good reason, it was coined as the term used to refer to hats coming from Milan,Italy the location of the worlds best hat makers  in the 18th century. No stop in Italy would be complete without a visit to Alessendria, the place in Italy that hosts the Borsalino factory makers of the famous Borsalino felt hats which are made from belgian rabbit fur.

The British Police Bobby Helmet

The British Police Bobby Helmet

England– Come on, any world wide tour of Hats has to have a stop in Britian to see the Helmet worn by the British Bobbies (policemen) when they are on patrol and while we’re in Great Britian, lets take a look at the Beerskin a tall furry hat worn by the Guards that are in charge of guarding the Queen in Buckingham palace.

The Glengarry Hat

The Glengarry Hat

Scotland– Crossing into Scotland where we’ll see a hat with a poetic name that does the people of this fair country justice, the Glengarry. Its shaped like a boat, without a peak, made from a thick woolen material, has a rosette cockade on the left and ribbons hanging down. It is normally worn as part of the dress of the Scottish Military.

The Cordobes Hat

The Cordobes Hat

Spain Its not to far from England but Spain has a hat that it gave us too! The Cordobes are a flat brimmed hat with a flat top that originated in Cordoba Spain. Do you want to know how it looks? Well if you know anything about the Mask of Zorro you’ll recognize it, the hero has one as part of his costume.

Iceland Tail Cap

Iceland Tail Cap

Iceland– It’s a tiny country to be sure but Iceland has a cap that’s part of the traditional national costume, its the Icelandic tail-cap.

By Ben Levi

The Cowboy Hat: You Don’t Have To Be a Cowboy To Wear It!

Although the cowboy hat started out as a uniform and hat exclusively for cowboys, the cowboy hat today is definitely a fashionable and trendy hat.

The cowboy hat today is definitely a fashionable and trendy hat.

The cowboy hat as we know it goes back to the 1860’s. Before John B. Stetson invented it cowboys wore many different types of head gear. There was no specific hat or “uniform” so it would be common to see a cowboy wearing sailor hats, war gear, caps, tall hats and many others.

Thankfully, Stetson came along and created what we no know as the cowboy hat. It was truly a great invention since most people look good in them, not only cowboys. For many, cowboy hats are  great for the summer. People love wearing straw cowboy hats in the summer to block the sun from their face since it’s not just any other cap; it really looks cool. A cowboy hat adds a lot to an outfit and believe it or not, when you’re wearing one, you get the spirit of a cowboy!

Suddenly you feel like you can do anything! Sort of like the Lone Ranger.

Some wear them when going horseback riding or simply when working in the garden. It also makes a great hat to dress up a lovely summer outfit and makes you feel taller and stronger!

Just like any other type, different cowboy hats are made of different materials. The most expensive and high quality ones are made from real felt, which is animal fur. A typical felt used in the cowboy hat is that of a beaver, a muskrat or a rabbit. However, it is very common to see a one made from a mixture of beaver, muskrat fur and rabbit fur. Another fabric or material used is straw, which is what we are mostly familiar with today. (Nowadays however, many straw hats are actually made from the pulp of a tree just like paper so often, cowboy hats and other straw hats will have 100% paper listed as the content.) These are definitely more affordable, comfortable, lightweight and stylish! They are worn by cowboys and many other men, women and children around the world.

There are many different styles and looks for a cowboy hat but the most common is simply a wide brimmed hat with a medium sized crown. In addition there is a prominent pinch at the front of the crown to give it that country look and cowboy twist.

Although the cowboy hat started out as a uniform and hat exclusively for cowboys,  today it definitely is a fashionable and trendy style option. Put it together with a pair of cowboy boots and your good to go! So when packing for your summer vacation up in the mountains, a camping trip or any other summer getaway don’t forget your cowboy hat to add to the spirit! If you don’t own a cowboy hat or are just a little too feminine for them definitely go for a beach or straw sun hat which will do just the trick and look really good!

Warbonnets and Indian Headbands

Indian War Headdress

Indian War Headdress

One headcovering that has captured the American imagination is the Indian Warbonnet.

Getting specific, the Warbonnet that has most captured the American imagination is what is known as the “trailer bonnet” which is a sort of headdress with a single or double row of  eagle feathers going down in a long tail till the ground.

So what exactly is the Indian Warbonnet?

Well it is believed to have originated among the Sioux Indians and was common among the Plains Indian Tribes. However, the Indian Warbonnet was not your typical headcover.  Typically it was made from eagle feathers and each feather was hard won. In order for a young brave to earn a feather, they had to carry out a feat of bravery or danger. An example of this would be if a brave was the first to touch a fallen enemy in battle which meant that they were at the front lines of battle. With each such feat that an Indian performed they were awarded a feather.

Once a suitable number of feathers were amassed the male friends of the indian would bind them to together to make a headdress. Of course, the headdress itself was usually not worn into battle.

However while the Indian Warbonnet was a unique item that was hard earned the typical Indian Headband was very much not.

The Indian Headband was usually a finger woven or beaded deerskin strip with tribal etchings and a couple of feathers tucked in the back. These Headbands were more of a “fashion statement” if you will, and were worn by Woodland Tribes. Unlike the warbonnet these head bands had various types of feathers, for example, turkey or hawk feathers.

Interestingly, because the Warbonnet was a central and important object in Indian life there are many Indians today who strenuously object to people selling, purchasing, and wearing these head dresses just for fashion.

(Sources include Beyond Bucksin, Indians.org. Wikipedia, and Native American Languages)

By: B. Levi

The Hat Museum

SG: Beach Hat with Flower

The largest selection of hats in the world at The Hat Museum

Well you love wearing a Hat and your wardrobe contains all sorts of hats. Wide brimmed straw hats for sunny days, a warm cloche to keep warm in the winter, and even a Fedora for a touch of style. But you wonder where you could find out some more information about hats.

 Where can you find out a whole lot more about hats? Their History? The different types of womens Hats? In short all about them.

Well it so happens that in the USA there is a great place tofind out all about hats and it’s appropriately called

 Hat museum. Where is it? Well in Portland, Oregon there’s a neighborhood called

Ladd’s Addition. This neighborhood was developed by a buisnessman by the name of William S. Ladd. The actual construction was roughly between the years of 1905 and 1930. Ladds’s Addition has a bunch of interesting things. Amongst them are four parks situated at the four points of the compass and the the largest stand of elms in Portland. Most interesting is the fact that this neighborhood boasts of 122 houses that are considered of Primary Historical Significance. Yup 122 of them. One of these is the Ladd-Reingold House which is the current of the Hat Museam. The name Reingold is after Miss. Rebecca Reingold who was a milliner in Russia and moved into the house in the early 1900’s. The house’s current owner is Alyce Cornyn-Selby who beleive it or not is actually a Hat Lover herself! The Museam claims to have over 1000 different hats in stock including a Straw London Top Hat, a Thanksgiving table hat that sings and more hats from around the world. The Museam bills itself as one of Portlands “quirkiest attractions”. So if you’re in Portland stop by, check it out and tell us if it’s really true that they have more types of womens hats then we sell on Myheadcoverings.com.(sources include reelscout, the Hat Museam website, Rose City Roamers)

 By B.Levi

Womens Hats – A History

Womens Hats - A History

Hats are generally acknowledged to have been around for a long time. A very long time. In fact the Greek at called the “petasos” which looked something like a modern day sombrero is considered the mother of All brimmed hats. In ancient times hats denoted status. In fact in ancient Rome slaves were not allowed to wear hats at all, but if they were freed they were granted a hat in celebration. For centuries hats were considered a mostly male garb. While in many places women did cover their hair in public as a matter of refinement, they did so with various headscarvesand shawls as well as hoods, while men wore hats.

This began to change in the late 1500’s when women’s’ hats began to be made. Through the 1600’s hats began to be designed exclusively for women. Gradually, makers of male hats and ladies hats were separated and the term hat maker came to be used exclusively for makers of male hats while the term milliner came to be used for makers of female hats. The term Milliner comes from the traveling salesmen from Milan, Italy who used to circulate selling hats.

As women’s hats grew in popularity, they began to be decorated elaborately with feathers. Lots of feathers. Sometimes whole birds worth of feathers – and in America the Audubon society registered a formal complaint against it! Slowly womens hat wearing reached its peak around WW1 and then began to decline rapidly after WW2. However when Princess Diana came around she revived the concept of the Dress Hat, wearing hats during formal occasions to add a touch of style to her outfits.

While it is no longer considered scandalous for a woman to walk outside without her hat, still women’s hats continue to be popular. Why? The uses for a hat are so varied that it’s one item that just can’t go away! Religious women who cover their hair for modesty purposes wear hats; women suffering from hair loss wear hats; Women wear hats on windy days to protest their hair style; Women wear sun hats to protect them from the sun; Women wear winter hats in the winter for warmth.

And in true Princess Di style hats for ladies are something of a fashion statement at formal occasion.

by: B. Levi

(Sources include: Fashion Era, E How, Wise Geek, Hat History)

The Hat Act of 1732

 

The Hat Act of 1732

The Hat Act of 1732 and the effect on Womens Headcoverings

What was the Hat Act?

Everyone knows about the Boston Tea Party, and the crucial role the colonists’ protest against the taxes England wanted to place on tea imports played in sparking The American Revolution.

However did you know that headcovers also played a major role?

Before the American Revolution the English Government enacted a policy
called Mercantilism in respect to the American colonies. The purpose of this policy was to ensure that all raw products from the American Colonies would be shipped to England to be turned into finished products and then shipped back to the American Colonies.

At that time in history  everyone wore hats women, men, children – just about everyone – and a major source of the material used to produce these hats was beaver pelts from the American Colonies. In fact in 1631 over 12,000 pounds of beaver pelts were shipped from the American Colonies back to England!

So you can understand that as soon as a  “homemade” hat industry began to flourish in the American Colonies the folks back in England got worried and decided to do all they could to protect their “hat making industry”.

The Result?

The infamous 1732 Hat Act which placed a number of restrictions on American Hatmakers. These included  limiting the number of workers they could employ, the number of apprentices they could have. The intention of all this was to drive up the cost of making a hat in the colonies thereby ensuring the continued dominance of the English made hat.

The Hat Act of 1732 became known historically as one of the laws that restricted commerce in the Colonies leading to the growing divide between the Colonies and England which eventually led to the American Revolution.

Now don’t forget to buy modern-day hats for women at www.myheadcoverings.com

( Sources include Wikipedia, encyclopedia Britannica, Colonial America.info, American Revolution.org)

By: B. Levi