In the 1930's and '40's, even though not as pervasive as in the past, hats were still considered a proper part of day wear for women. Below, see how some of the most stylish women in America used them to accessorize.
Hats used to be an everyday staple for much of human history. Today they are an optional outfit accent. Like many cultural changes in the Twentieth Century, this change can be attributed to the 60's. There were a few factors at work here:
- The popularity of big hair. After hours at the salon, having your hair teased to a poof, why would you want to cover it up? The hair-do itself became the new hair accessory.
- The popularity of the suntan. In the 50's the pale, delicate look reigned, but in the 60's a tanned, sporty look was in. In 1959 the movie Gidget came out, bringing with it a beach culture craze that ushered in numerous beach movies, surf rock, and a fascination with California culture that lasted till the end of the decade.
- A move towards casualness. This was the decade where the paradigm shifted and ever since, instead of adults influencing culture, everyone has taken their cues from teenagers. Men stopped wearing suits, women stopped wearing white gloves, and they both stopped wearing hats everyday.
So why are we seeing more hats now since the 60s? They're still not an everyday thing, but they are back in a big way. Here are my theories:
- The internet. The internet has made it easier than ever to find your tribe. There is no longer a predominate culture but many many subsets. This extends to what shows you watch, what music you listen to and how you dress.
- No association with grandmas. Recent generations still have memories of the mothers or grandmothers wearing hats everyday, but millennials are rediscovering them on their own. There's no uncool association, like children of the 70s may have with hats.
- Pop culture - I would say the two biggest shows that have influenced fashion in the past decade have been Mad Men and Gossip Girl and the stars of both really rocked their hats.
- Museum Exhibits - Fashion designers are strongly influenced by museums. Look at what's on display in the museums of Paris, London and New York and you'll see it reflected on the runways. Recent ones that have had incredible hat displays have been Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty at The Met, Hats: an Anthology by Stephen Jones at The V&A and Schiaparelli and Prada: Impossible Conversations at The Met.
- The Royal Wedding. Enough said.
I get this question a lot. As a milliner I make hats, and while haberdashers sell hats, they also sell many other things. Haberdasheries are men's accessories shops. You may also see haberdashery sections in department stores. Haberdasher does not refer to a craftsperson but to a salesperson. Famous people who got their start as haberdashers include President Truman, Johnny Carson, and Christopher Lloyd (aka Doc Brown). Below are pictures of very attractive modern day haberdashery sections, that make me wish the trend would return.
Last weekend I took a Saori class at the Middle Tennessee Fiber Festival at the Dickson Fairgrounds. I had never used a loom before and after two and a half hours, I had a beautiful new textile that I plan to use as a scarf.
Saori is a Japanese style of weaving that began in the 20th century. In fact, the woman who founded it is in her 90s and still weaving today. It extends beyond a craft, into a philosophy.
Leave in mistakes. If you skip a thread it's ok. And actually you should intentionally leave gaps and make mistakes. See what happens when you tie a knot in your thread, play with the tension.
Add treasures. Throw in crumbly bits of yarn and ribbon and see what happens. Add in something you wouldn't think would go.
Don't follow a pattern. You can change colors and techniques throughout. They look different every time. The pattern only comes when you assemble your textiles into a garment.
Learn from another person. They encourage you to take a class from an experienced artisan rather than watch online tutorials. When possible, that's the best way to pass on a skill.
Whether or not I do more Saori Weaving, I plan to use what I've learned to inspire my creativity. The idiosyncrasies are what makes handmade special. Sometimes you have to put the perfectionist aside and create chaos to find beauty.
Sign up for a class at my teacher, Sarah's Huntsville studio http://www.handmadesaori.com
The second ever Fashion Happening Nashville event took place on April 12th and it was so much fun! Hunter Claire Rogers from Rouge Rogue and I started it last year to spotlight noteworthy local designers of fashion, jewelry and accessories. There is so much talent in our city, and it was great seeing such a creatively diverse group all in one place. This year we were joined by artistic director Sadie Monroe who did an incredible job bringing our vision to life.
Here are the featured designers who really brought their A game Sunday night: