Hats have been worn by people since the ancient times. They have been used to indicate one’s occupation and social status. Vintage ladies hats serve as inspirations in design and they’re fun to collect and recreate.

If you are into vintage ladies hats, you probably know how different eras saw women wearing different kinds of hats and for different reasons.  For practical purposes, hats offer protection from the elements. Especially during winter, hats are worn to keep the head warm.

Etiquette also dictated what hats to wear. In the early 20th century, it was considered a social faux pas for women to leave the home without a hat. In fact, women would change hats several times a day to match their activity.

Finally, vintage ladies hats were once symbols of a woman’s occupation and social status. The more flamboyant the hat, the higher the esteem. The rarer the accessories of the hat, the more prominent a wearer is thought to be. This demand for luxurious and custom hats gave rise to milliners and plumassiers.

Millinery started in Britain in the 1700. It is the art of creating one of a kind women’s hats. Plumassiers on the other hand are those who harvest plumes to be created into hats and other accessories.

Fashion also played a role in the kind of hats that women wore. In the early 19th century, bonnets were in vogue. They were large and decorated with lace, ribbons and features. Towards the end of the century, we saw wide brimmed hats with flat crowns. By the 20th century, more practical hats were introduced. We have the pompadour hats of the 1900s, the cloche hats of the 1920s and the pert and snood hats of the 1930s.

After world war II, wearing of hats became less practical as women became more and more involved in the workforce. Hat designs became more utilitarian and hat wearing became more of an option than a necessity.

Hollywood and popular art also contributed to the popularity of vintage ladies hats. Who can forget the hats worn by Scarlett O’Hara in “Gone With the Wind” or Holly Golightly in “Breakfast at Tiffany’s”?  What’s a western without cowboy hats or a soap opera without the wide brim hats of the heroines?

In recent history, you see monarchs and distinguished women still wearing hats. Nothing says sophistication and style more than an appropriate hat well worn. We also see hat wearing being relegated to certain activities like formal functions, weddings and when engaging in outdoor activities.