Hat Lore

In Your Easter Bonnet

Miss Harris,
Ottawa, 1908
Photo: William James Topley
National Archives of Canada,
It is difficult to imagine today, but in the past almost every woman had at least one hat for each season of the year — straw hats for spring and summer, and felt or fur hats for fall and winter. It was a tradition in many communities for women to display their new spring hats in a parade at Easter. Upper-middle-class women had a whole collection of hats to suit different times of the day, and to match their outfits, which they replaced each year. Others of more moderate means had a milliner retrim or recondition the previous year's model to produce the new year's shape. Hats were worn in all public places, including on the street, in restaurants, for visits and — to the chagrin of people seated behind — in the theatre.

next menu return index