Fashion and Image

Fashion Hats, 1890-1920

Throughout most of the nineteenth century, the bonnet tied under the chin was the usual outdoor headwear of choice for women. By the 1890s, the bonnet was declining in popularity, and a jaunty hat, perched on top of the head, was considered more suitable for the "new girl" of the period, for whom tennis and bicycling, working in an office and participating in higher education were now acceptable pursuits.

In contrast to the bewildering variety of women's headwear, men's hats consisted of a small number of styles. The top hat continued to be worn for formal occasions, but the bowler hat, or derby, became popular among the urban middle class.

Men's informal hats, such as the boater, homburg and fedora, all of which came into vogue towards the end of the 1800s, marked the emergence of a new social informality and a less rigid class structure.

Straw boater

Bowler hat

Woman's velvet hat
Woman's straw hat

Flower-trimmed woman's hat

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