History of Hat Fashions for Men and Women

A perfect dress, suit and casual clothing outlook could easily be supplemented with a matching hat. You may have probably heard guys ask, “Where did you get that hat?” or comments like “wow, that hat styles you up, I wish I could have one like that.” Well, we all have won hats at some point whether it was just to hide your bald head from the scorching tropical sun or just for styling up. Before you consider modern hat fashion for men and women as the best ever, it is important to go down the memory lane and see that even your ancestors wore them too. If you look at the history of hat fashion for men and women, you will be amazed at how modern designs simply depict ancient hat fashion.

Early hats

Evidence of ancient hat fashion was first discovered on a tomb painting at Thebes which showed a coolie-style straw hat worn by a man. There were also other hats such as a simple skull cap style called Pileus. You may have heard about the liberty cap that was anciently referred to as Phrygian cap that were gifted to slaves back then in Rome and Greece on being freed. If you thought was all, there was also the first hat to have a brim back in Greece called Pestasos.

Initial women hat fashion

For women, it was traditionally expected of them to cover their heads with veils, caps, hoods, kerchiefs or even wimples back then. Women started to revolutionize their style with hats late in the 16th century structuring the design based men hats but lighter. The women head gear started to emerge in the 17th century when ‘milliner’ or rather the maker of women hat fashion around Milan in Italy started to dominate the scenes with elegant additions such as gloves, ribbons and straws. They were basically made from cardboard, paper or even grass.

The 1900s

The bonnet dominated hat fashion for women in the early 19th century and was essentially made of feathers, ribbons and flowers giving them a large attractive look. By the 1900s, hats had become the order of the day with the in New York and the rest of the world with department stores such as Henri Bendel, Bergdof Goodman and Sacs Fifth avenue emerging with their own workrooms to serve the rising demand. The 5os witnessed a tendency to include higher crowns with minor brims. The milliners started receiving competition from ready-to-wear hats which started dominating the scenes. This revolutionized the hat fashion industry striking out the milliners.

The 60s style

The 60s saw emergence of wigs which came in different colors shaking up the industry to another level. This made men and women realize that they could wear less formerly and feel comfortable. The hat thus grew into a reliable part of the casual look. However, Princess of Wales love for hats in the 80s somehow tried to revival the interest millinery hats as she wore it colorfully making many women to admire it. Many hat designers thus emerged again characterizing the 90s with adorable hat styles.

Even now, hats still continue to feature in both men and women fashion even though many hairstyle threaten to overtake them. However, the history of hat fashion for men and women suggest that this nice pieces have for long been used as status symbols, fashion statements and perfect head covers with great efficiency. It is hopeful that they will continue to dominate for decades to come.


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This video nicely sums up the last 100 years of hat fashions. Enjoy!