The Way You Wear Your Hat, Part 1

At the turn of the 20th century, a woman could be reprimanded by her husband for appearing in public without a hat, which was considered an essential article of clothing. According to the website Fashion Era, a woman once embarrassed her family because she left her house without her hat even though she was merely posting a letter in a box a few feet from her garden gate. Men wore hats for both practical and business purposes. Because hats draw attention to the head, the right hat could elevate one’s circumstances, at least according to social standards of the day: An old saying goes, “If you want to get ahead and get noticed, then get a hat.” While traditions and conventions of hat-wearing began to break down after World War I, particularly after women got the right to vote, mainstream Americans continued to wear hats for several decades. Today, however, hats are rarely worn by the general public, and when they are, it is usually for informal, leisure-time activities. Consequently, various traditions, conventions, and lore about hats, caps, and head gear have been lost to us.

Hats are ubiquitous in classic films released prior to 1960. Hat fashions were not only reflected in Hollywood films, they were also influenced and inspired by them. Costuming tends to be taken for granted by audiences, who think of clothing, set design, and props as mere indicators of time and place. Too often authenticity is the only criteria for evaluating these essential parts of a film’s visual design. Yet, costumes can be important vehicles of information. They can serve as keys to unlock the layers of meaning behind a character. With that idea in mind, I went in search of famous movie hats, hoping to find some examples that I could analyze for their symbolism. It was more difficult than I thought, but I did uncover some interesting facts, some striking hat fashions, and a newfound respect for an article of clothing I knew little about.

I divided my discoveries into two separate blog posts. This week, I listed several distinctive hats made famous by female stars/characters in classic movies; next week, I will include examples from male stars/characters. For these posts, I researched the history of hats, which was easy enough, but trying to organize a thorough search of hats in the movies proved more difficult. Space limited me to a mere handful, and I am sure I missed some good ones. Feel free to contribute your favorite movie hats in a comment below. I would love to hear them.

LOUISE IN A WHITE CLOCHE WITH A WIDE BRIM.

Louise Brooks and the Cloche. According to The Mode in Hats and Headdress by R. Turner Wilcox, the cloche created a revolution in the world of hats when it was reintroduced in Paris in 1923. Prior to that, hat fashion had been divided into winter and summer styles, and day and nighttime styles. The cloche became a style that could be worn all year round and during any time of the day. That was important for the newly liberated women of the Jazz Age. Women also cut their hair into “small head cuts,” as they were known by hairdressers at the time, such as the Dutch cut, the bob, the Eton crop, the shingle, or a shoulder-length cut. These styles hugged the head, which was in contrast to long, Victorian styles with  heavy curls piled on top of the head, or with banana curls hanging down the back. Bobbed hair signified a liberated woman of a new age, who was open to modern ideas such as living alone in the city, working outside the home, and interacting with men professionally and socially. Generally made of felt and often tailored specifically to the wearer’s head, the cloche hugged the head tightly and was pulled down low on the forehead, with the wearer’s eyes showing slightly below the brim. It accentuated the bobbed hair-dos and complemented the overall sleek look of 1920s fashions.

Louise Brooks’s star image as the free-spirited flapper or sexually provocative vamp is evocative of the urban female of the Roaring 20s, and her famous bob fit neatly inside a classic cloche. Brooks donned a cloche for her role as the quintessential vamp in Howard Hawks’ buddy adventure, A Girl in Every Port (1928), which was released at the height of popularity for this style of hat.

NOW, VOYAGER

Bette Davis Is Unveiled in Now, Voyager. In Irving Rapper’s 1942 film, Bette Davis plays Charlotte Vale, a frumpy, spinster-like woman who escapes her mother’s domination to become confident and beautiful. The name “Vale” is significant in that she symbolically steps out from behind a veil to live her life. After a stint at a psychiatric clinic, she takes a long ocean cruise, and the new Charlotte is introduced as she disembarks from the ship for a brief stop in a tropical paradise. Fashionably dressed in a trim black suit, her face is partially hidden by a wide-brimmed hat with a thin veil. During lunch with Jerry, the romantic lead played by Paul Heinreid, she lifts her veil, a motif that suggests her passage from repressed spinster to mature woman. Based on my research, I think the chapeau is a Milan-straw hat with a velvet band, made popular by New York’s famous Knox Hat Company during the mid-1940s.

ROSALIND RUSSELL AND HER WIMPLE.

Rosalind Russell as the Mad Hatter in The Women. Directed by George Cukor in 1939, this classic melodrama about a group of upper-middle-class friends is quite a collection of female (stereo)types. Fashion and costuming are essential to suggesting character traits for each of the women, who were played by MGM’s top female stars of the day. Russell plays the snobby Sylvia who prefers to be called “Mrs. Howard Fowler” to emphasize her prominence as the wife of an important man. Brassy, pushy, and destructive, her gossiping triggers the story’s central conflict, which is the divorce of Norma Shearer’s character. Sylvia is a tactless bully whose gracelessness is telegraphed through a gangly gait and spastic gestures. Broadly played by Russell, Sylvia is costumed in oversize suits, clunky accessories, huge bows, and the largest or most distinctive hats. In the film still to the right, she wears a small torque hat with a velvet wimple attached, emphasizing the character’s tendency to overdress. The torque and wimple, which is the cloth that goes under the chin, was quite popular between 1940 and 1945.

CRAWFORD'S TURBAN IN 'THE WOMEN'

Joan Crawford and the Turban in The Women. Crawford’s star image during the 1930s was that of the working class shop girl trying to eke out a better life. In The Women, she represents the negative side to her image as the ambitious working girl. Her character, Crystal Allen, initiates an affair with married man Stephen Haines, husband to Mary, played by Norma Shearer. The affair results in a divorce, which leads to Crystal becoming the new Mrs. Haines. Crystal relishes her elevated social status, particularly the access to the finer things in life. After she marries, her costumes reflect her newfound wealth, and, tellingly,  they are more ostentatious and less classy than the wardrobe of the former Mrs. Haines. The contrast between the two women is evident in the final sequence in which Crystal “outshines” Mary with her metallic evening dress and matching turban. Mary, who looks tasteful in her black gown accented with net, exhibits superior taste, which is an indicator of her better suitability as Stephen’s wife. Brocaded turbans were introduced in the 1920s, and I was surprised to discover that this hat style remained popular throughout the Depression and well into the 1940s. While the material for the turban changed over the years, the basic design did not. In Hollywood movies, turbans were often used to suggest a character’s power, control, or superiority, whether due to her wealth, status, or commanding personality.

THIS IS NOT A GOOD PHOTO OF HEPBURN'S STOCKING CAP, BUT PART OF IT IS VISIBLE.

Katharine Hepburn Loosens Up with a Stocking Cap in The Philadelphia Story (1940). When Hepburn’s character, Tracy Lord, discovers that Jimmy Stewart’s character, Macaulay Conner, is a talented writer, her icy character warms to his humility and honesty. Throughout the film, Tracy has issues with moral superiority and tolerance for human frailty and is frequently compared to goddesses and statues. Her white, flowing costumes with simple classic lines become a motif to emphasize her connection to Greek statuary. Her scene with Macaulay is an exception, and the odd-looking stocking cap with the tassel on the end suggests she has a playful, fun side, which Mac later brings out. Whenever I show this film in class, this particular hat tends to elicit giggles from the students, but the stocking cap jauntily tossed over one shoulder was a stylish accessory in the late 1930s and early 1940s. Famed hat designer Elsa Schiaparelli introduced a stocking cap in 1936, but Hepburn’s version is closer to a style made popular by Mademoiselle Bruyere in 1940.

The Garbo Slouch. A photo book of Greta Garbo will yield images of this Hollywood legend in a variety of hats, from berets to cloches. However, during the 1930s, she was famous for wearing a felt slouch hat that has been called the equivalent of the man’s Fedora. Garbo always dominated the screen; she was never demure or retiring. And, whenever she wanted to emphasize the masculine side to her image, whether onscreen or off, she donned blazers or suits and topped off the look with a slouch hat. In 1956, this style of hat was revived by Galanos and dubbed the Garbo Fedora.

GARBO AND HER SLOUCH HAT

Twenty years later, the masculine style of Garbo (and Marlene Dietrich) was revised and culturally repositioned by Diane Keaton in Annie Hall (1977). This time, a slouchy bowler topped the outfit, which consisted of a vest, tie, and khaki trousers. The gender-bending of Garbo and Dietrich’s male costuming gave way to Keaton’s feminist connotation for the highly influential Annie Hall look created by costumer Ruth Morley. Annie Hall’s ensemble proved extremely popular for women during the early feminist era.

DORIS DAY WEARS ONE OF SEVERAL TOQUES IN 'LOVER COME BACK.'

Doris Day and the Bubble Toque in Lover Come Back. In the second Doris Day-Rock Hudson sex comedy, Lover Come Back (1961), Day wore a variety of hats described as bubble toques. The word “toque” refers to any brimless hat that sits squarely atop the head. During the early 1960s, a new twist on the toque was introduced with a high crown and a round shape. Dubbed the bubble toque, these cutesy hats were made of printed fabric or in the bright solid colors found in pop art. Day’s character, Carol Templeton, works for a Madison Avenue advertising agency; her solid-colored outfits in white or bright colors topped off by a matching bubble toque were perfect for a modern female professional, who would be familiar with the latest fashions. Doris wears an authentic bubble toque in the photo at the top of this post.

THE BIRD HAT-HAIR IN 'FANCY PANTS' WAS INSPIRED BY A REAL-LIFE HAT.

Lucille Ball Is for the Birds in Fancy Pants. One of my most vivid memories from this Bob Hope-Lucille Ball comedy is a scene in which Hope fixes Ball’s hair for a formal party. Hope is masquerading as a fancy butler from England, and he claims to know the latest fashions from Europe. Ball is part of the nouveaux riche of the American West, and her mother is forcing her to become cultured. Of course, he doesn’t know anything about fashion or culture, so when he incorporates a live bird and its cage into Ball’s hair, we know it will not end well. While doing research for this blog, I was surprised to learn that legendary milliner Elsa Schiaparelli once made an elaborate hat that included canaries in a cage. She was inspired by both the irrational juxtaposition of images found in Surrealist art and the extravagance of Marie Antoinette’s era. The hair-hat creation worn by Ball in Fancy Pants must be a spoof or a parody of Schiaparelli’s creation, a well-known event in hat lore and history. This breezy comedy makes reference to Schiaparelli’s infamous hat to poke a hole in the pretentions of haute couture.

**Special thanks to my friend Lisa Wright for suggesting the hat topic to me.

45 Responses The Way You Wear Your Hat, Part 1
Posted By Greg Ferrara : August 1, 2011 2:39 pm

My favorite, bar none, is Marlene Dietrich in a top hat. She sported one throughout her career, in various roles, photo shoots and on stage during the revues she performed into her seventies. No one ever made a top hat look more appealing.

Posted By Greg Ferrara : August 1, 2011 2:39 pm

My favorite, bar none, is Marlene Dietrich in a top hat. She sported one throughout her career, in various roles, photo shoots and on stage during the revues she performed into her seventies. No one ever made a top hat look more appealing.

Posted By Tom S : August 1, 2011 4:09 pm

Yeah, the opening of Morocco, where Marlene is swaggering around in a suit and top hat, dominating men and kissing ladies, is incredibly memorable (and makes the rest of the movie kind of a let down.) Her von Sternberg collaborations almost always brought out that side of her, and the top hat seems like an instant signifier for it.

My favorite movie hat is one of Katherine Helmond’s shoe hat in Brazil- http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_HcF-QEdzhJc/S7pJ2JaXpvI/AAAAAAAAAIU/P4skkXdjcmY/s400/brazil.jpg
It looks like an absurdist joke, but apparently it’s not far off of a real style from the 40s.

As far clothing codes in movies go- one of the most interesting things I found out in the commentary for Scarlet Street (by Morlock David Kalat, as it happens) was that the bow tie has a phallic significance, implying impotence. It’s funny, because it’s still a piece of coding that’s fairly easy to apply- sorry, Tucker Carlson, but it’s true. There’s even a David Sedaris story that comes to the same conclusion.

Posted By Tom S : August 1, 2011 4:09 pm

Yeah, the opening of Morocco, where Marlene is swaggering around in a suit and top hat, dominating men and kissing ladies, is incredibly memorable (and makes the rest of the movie kind of a let down.) Her von Sternberg collaborations almost always brought out that side of her, and the top hat seems like an instant signifier for it.

My favorite movie hat is one of Katherine Helmond’s shoe hat in Brazil- http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_HcF-QEdzhJc/S7pJ2JaXpvI/AAAAAAAAAIU/P4skkXdjcmY/s400/brazil.jpg
It looks like an absurdist joke, but apparently it’s not far off of a real style from the 40s.

As far clothing codes in movies go- one of the most interesting things I found out in the commentary for Scarlet Street (by Morlock David Kalat, as it happens) was that the bow tie has a phallic significance, implying impotence. It’s funny, because it’s still a piece of coding that’s fairly easy to apply- sorry, Tucker Carlson, but it’s true. There’s even a David Sedaris story that comes to the same conclusion.

Posted By suzidoll : August 1, 2011 4:47 pm

Tom S. Thank you for coming up with the upside-down shoe example. You are correct about it being a part of a real style during the 1940s. As a matter of fact, I mention the milliner responsible for it above, Elsa Schiaparelli. I was looking for a serious example from the 1940s, and I kept leafing through movie books, but I could not find one. I am sure Rosalind Russell wore one in some film, but I could not find a film still of it. I forgot about Brazil, or I would have mentioned it.

Interesting about the bow tie.

Posted By suzidoll : August 1, 2011 4:47 pm

Tom S. Thank you for coming up with the upside-down shoe example. You are correct about it being a part of a real style during the 1940s. As a matter of fact, I mention the milliner responsible for it above, Elsa Schiaparelli. I was looking for a serious example from the 1940s, and I kept leafing through movie books, but I could not find one. I am sure Rosalind Russell wore one in some film, but I could not find a film still of it. I forgot about Brazil, or I would have mentioned it.

Interesting about the bow tie.

Posted By Kingrat : August 1, 2011 5:57 pm

Loved this article, suzidoll. So much fun. Looking forward to the men’s hats, too, because I wear hats.

You’ll enjoy the high-peaked cloche hat Joan Crawford wears in THE BRIDE WORE RED, though I don’t know if it inspired a fashion trend like these hats did. The clothes in that film are wild. Ona Munson’s headdresses in THE SHANGHAI GESTURE are outrageous.

Could we add a good snood picture? That’s another style which apparently did become popular, to my amazement.

Posted By Kingrat : August 1, 2011 5:57 pm

Loved this article, suzidoll. So much fun. Looking forward to the men’s hats, too, because I wear hats.

You’ll enjoy the high-peaked cloche hat Joan Crawford wears in THE BRIDE WORE RED, though I don’t know if it inspired a fashion trend like these hats did. The clothes in that film are wild. Ona Munson’s headdresses in THE SHANGHAI GESTURE are outrageous.

Could we add a good snood picture? That’s another style which apparently did become popular, to my amazement.

Posted By suzidoll : August 1, 2011 6:44 pm

Kingrat: I spent at least two hours searching for a good snood photo, especially from WWII. Sadly, the only one I came up with was a shot of Paulette Goddard in a nuns-habit-style snood, which was a late 1930s style. I was looking for the net style because I wanted to talk about snoods during WWII. Because women wore them in the factories and because they used less material, a net-like snood during WWII was a testament to the wearer’s patriotism.

Posted By suzidoll : August 1, 2011 6:44 pm

Kingrat: I spent at least two hours searching for a good snood photo, especially from WWII. Sadly, the only one I came up with was a shot of Paulette Goddard in a nuns-habit-style snood, which was a late 1930s style. I was looking for the net style because I wanted to talk about snoods during WWII. Because women wore them in the factories and because they used less material, a net-like snood during WWII was a testament to the wearer’s patriotism.

Posted By missrhea : August 1, 2011 7:48 pm

In the mid-1970s I started going to a college in South Carolina where hats were mandated apparel for Sundays (on or off campus). Near the end of September an announcement was made by the Dean of Women stating that “white shoes and straw hats would not be worn” as of a certain date. A few years later a friend from that same college came north to work and lived with my mother and me. We made a practice of wearing hats to church every Sunday even though no one else did. I loved wearing hats and have quite a collection. Sad to say, they mostly sit in hat boxes in my closet now. Although I’m sure I don’t own one, I loved the hats that Ingrid Bergman wore in “Casablanca”.

I’m looking forward to seeing the men’s hats next time. Thanks for a great post.

Posted By missrhea : August 1, 2011 7:48 pm

In the mid-1970s I started going to a college in South Carolina where hats were mandated apparel for Sundays (on or off campus). Near the end of September an announcement was made by the Dean of Women stating that “white shoes and straw hats would not be worn” as of a certain date. A few years later a friend from that same college came north to work and lived with my mother and me. We made a practice of wearing hats to church every Sunday even though no one else did. I loved wearing hats and have quite a collection. Sad to say, they mostly sit in hat boxes in my closet now. Although I’m sure I don’t own one, I loved the hats that Ingrid Bergman wore in “Casablanca”.

I’m looking forward to seeing the men’s hats next time. Thanks for a great post.

Posted By Jenni : August 1, 2011 10:06 pm

One of my grandmother’s always wore lovely hats to church on Sunday. Your post made me remember her hats,and she’d let me try some of them on when I was little. My other grandmother favored scarves for her outdoor headgear. Did you happen to come across when scarves became a good sub for a hat?

Posted By Jenni : August 1, 2011 10:06 pm

One of my grandmother’s always wore lovely hats to church on Sunday. Your post made me remember her hats,and she’d let me try some of them on when I was little. My other grandmother favored scarves for her outdoor headgear. Did you happen to come across when scarves became a good sub for a hat?

Posted By suzidoll : August 1, 2011 10:10 pm

Jenni: Scarves become popular in the 1930s because of riding in automobiles. Scarves were better at keeping the new wavy hairstyles in place than hats when riding in an open-air auto.

Posted By suzidoll : August 1, 2011 10:10 pm

Jenni: Scarves become popular in the 1930s because of riding in automobiles. Scarves were better at keeping the new wavy hairstyles in place than hats when riding in an open-air auto.

Posted By dukeroberts : August 2, 2011 12:48 am

I immediately thought of Ingrid Bergman in Casablanca. That woman could wear a hat like nobody’s business. And the way they used her hats in it was fantastic. Head down, you see the hat. He lifts her head and she’s crying, but her eyes are shaded by the brim. Beautiful.

I also thought of Loretta Young so desperately wanting that ridiculous looking hat in The Bishop’s Wife and how sad she was to find another woman trying it on. What woman wouldn’t take Cary Grant’s advice about a hat not looking right for her? That lady surely listened.

Your next post must mention the greatest hat in movie history: Indiana Jones’s fedora. I have one.

Posted By dukeroberts : August 2, 2011 12:48 am

I immediately thought of Ingrid Bergman in Casablanca. That woman could wear a hat like nobody’s business. And the way they used her hats in it was fantastic. Head down, you see the hat. He lifts her head and she’s crying, but her eyes are shaded by the brim. Beautiful.

I also thought of Loretta Young so desperately wanting that ridiculous looking hat in The Bishop’s Wife and how sad she was to find another woman trying it on. What woman wouldn’t take Cary Grant’s advice about a hat not looking right for her? That lady surely listened.

Your next post must mention the greatest hat in movie history: Indiana Jones’s fedora. I have one.

Posted By Medusa Morlock : August 2, 2011 8:16 am

Great post, Suzi! Hats were the thing that Danny Kaye’s Anatole of Paris designed, in one of the decidedly non-Thurber dreams in “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty”. The whole musical number can be seen here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uJ9bnC1v1xc

Actually, maybe Anatole’s hats are really more accurately termed “fascinators” since we’ve been inundated with talk of them after the recent Royal Wedding and so forth!

I think it’s an old hat that Teresa Wright is so miffed at her mom for wearing out in “Shadow of a Doubt”…and remember when Lucy and Ethel got some crazy hats in Paris? My goodness, imagine trying to figure out a hat to wear every day — I can barely get a pair of shoes on!

Wonderful post! I think I like Doris Day’s hats — and her in them — best of all!

Posted By Medusa Morlock : August 2, 2011 8:16 am

Great post, Suzi! Hats were the thing that Danny Kaye’s Anatole of Paris designed, in one of the decidedly non-Thurber dreams in “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty”. The whole musical number can be seen here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uJ9bnC1v1xc

Actually, maybe Anatole’s hats are really more accurately termed “fascinators” since we’ve been inundated with talk of them after the recent Royal Wedding and so forth!

I think it’s an old hat that Teresa Wright is so miffed at her mom for wearing out in “Shadow of a Doubt”…and remember when Lucy and Ethel got some crazy hats in Paris? My goodness, imagine trying to figure out a hat to wear every day — I can barely get a pair of shoes on!

Wonderful post! I think I like Doris Day’s hats — and her in them — best of all!

Posted By missrhea : August 2, 2011 9:33 am

Thanks for mentioning “The Bishop’s Wife” and that horrible hat, dukeroberts! My husband and I watch it every Christmas Eve and I always say/think “Why in the world does she think that is a wonderful hat?!” (I’m sorry to report that I have a hat that most people think is terrible but nowhere near that one. Mine is winter white with a small feather but is an odd shape. It would have looked great on Princess Diana but doesn’t do much for me. I really liked it, though. lol)

Posted By missrhea : August 2, 2011 9:33 am

Thanks for mentioning “The Bishop’s Wife” and that horrible hat, dukeroberts! My husband and I watch it every Christmas Eve and I always say/think “Why in the world does she think that is a wonderful hat?!” (I’m sorry to report that I have a hat that most people think is terrible but nowhere near that one. Mine is winter white with a small feather but is an odd shape. It would have looked great on Princess Diana but doesn’t do much for me. I really liked it, though. lol)

Posted By Juana Maria : August 2, 2011 10:29 am

Probably because I’m a girl, I just loved this article. I have a cordoroy hat I wear in the winter, everyone loves it on me. Hats are great, they keep the sun off your face, your head warm in the winter..and save the day on “bad hair days”!

Posted By Juana Maria : August 2, 2011 10:29 am

Probably because I’m a girl, I just loved this article. I have a cordoroy hat I wear in the winter, everyone loves it on me. Hats are great, they keep the sun off your face, your head warm in the winter..and save the day on “bad hair days”!

Posted By Lisa W. : August 2, 2011 11:00 am

LOVE this topic, Suzi and you really reveal the importance these hats play within the films and for the actors. I love hats, but struggle with finding one that suits me— maybe I need the birdcage?! I find it interesting that the current fedora trend seems to be worn by both men and women and more feminine hat shapes have not yet become as popular. I wonder if they will yet? Very much looking forward to part 2! Thanks, for the thanks, btw— your approach to a topic is always so well-informed and enjoyable!

Posted By Lisa W. : August 2, 2011 11:00 am

LOVE this topic, Suzi and you really reveal the importance these hats play within the films and for the actors. I love hats, but struggle with finding one that suits me— maybe I need the birdcage?! I find it interesting that the current fedora trend seems to be worn by both men and women and more feminine hat shapes have not yet become as popular. I wonder if they will yet? Very much looking forward to part 2! Thanks, for the thanks, btw— your approach to a topic is always so well-informed and enjoyable!

Posted By Cool Bev : August 2, 2011 11:11 am

A running gag from one of the Thin Man movies involves Myrna Loy’s “screwy” hat. “Hey lady, screwy hat!” is a favorite tag line in our family.

Posted By Cool Bev : August 2, 2011 11:11 am

A running gag from one of the Thin Man movies involves Myrna Loy’s “screwy” hat. “Hey lady, screwy hat!” is a favorite tag line in our family.

Posted By NCeddie : August 2, 2011 12:01 pm

My Virginia-bred maternal grandmother had trained as a milliner in Baltimore at the turn of the twentieth century. My mother learned much about the craft from her. As a child of post-WWII, I remember Mom making her own hats, petite confections that perched/clamped onto the skull. Fanciful creations of beads, bows, ribbons, sprigs of feathers with netting and often including minimal veils. She incorporated any fabric from tweed to satin. She always took her latest creation with her to the beauty parlor to have her waves and curls set to make a proper-fitting nest for her hat. Later, I called those hats her Lucy Ricardo Collection as Lucy was the prime actress who wore that type of small hat. My mom was one who always wore a hat and carried gloves to the supermarket– until she died in 1989!
Thanks for this article about hats of the movies–and the serendipitous trip down memory lane.

Posted By NCeddie : August 2, 2011 12:01 pm

My Virginia-bred maternal grandmother had trained as a milliner in Baltimore at the turn of the twentieth century. My mother learned much about the craft from her. As a child of post-WWII, I remember Mom making her own hats, petite confections that perched/clamped onto the skull. Fanciful creations of beads, bows, ribbons, sprigs of feathers with netting and often including minimal veils. She incorporated any fabric from tweed to satin. She always took her latest creation with her to the beauty parlor to have her waves and curls set to make a proper-fitting nest for her hat. Later, I called those hats her Lucy Ricardo Collection as Lucy was the prime actress who wore that type of small hat. My mom was one who always wore a hat and carried gloves to the supermarket– until she died in 1989!
Thanks for this article about hats of the movies–and the serendipitous trip down memory lane.

Posted By Kingrat : August 2, 2011 3:46 pm

Suzi, thanks for the fascinating information about snoods. I had no idea they were both practical and patriotic. From now on, I’ll treat them with the respect they deserve.

My grandmother always wanted to wear a hat and carry a purse if her picture was being taken.

Posted By Kingrat : August 2, 2011 3:46 pm

Suzi, thanks for the fascinating information about snoods. I had no idea they were both practical and patriotic. From now on, I’ll treat them with the respect they deserve.

My grandmother always wanted to wear a hat and carry a purse if her picture was being taken.

Posted By DBenson : August 2, 2011 7:54 pm

And remember Garbo’s hat in Ninotchka. At first she viewed it as a summation of everything wrong with capitalism; then embraced it as a symbol of romance, freedom and femininity.

From this guy’s point of view the hat in question — a strange, tiny object — was neither decadent, liberating nor becoming, even on Garbo. Maybe it really is all that (or was all that) to the opposite sex. Maybe its lameness is one more sly joke in a movie packed with them. Or maybe I just lack taste.

Always liked the spunky girl reporter look myself: Real fedoras, just like their inkstained male counterparts, but with much better-fitting suits.

Posted By DBenson : August 2, 2011 7:54 pm

And remember Garbo’s hat in Ninotchka. At first she viewed it as a summation of everything wrong with capitalism; then embraced it as a symbol of romance, freedom and femininity.

From this guy’s point of view the hat in question — a strange, tiny object — was neither decadent, liberating nor becoming, even on Garbo. Maybe it really is all that (or was all that) to the opposite sex. Maybe its lameness is one more sly joke in a movie packed with them. Or maybe I just lack taste.

Always liked the spunky girl reporter look myself: Real fedoras, just like their inkstained male counterparts, but with much better-fitting suits.

Posted By Carol Witt : August 3, 2011 11:55 am

There’s also the hat that Mrs. Miniver buys at the beginning of that movie: the extravagance she’s worried about mentioning to her husband, just as he’s worried about telling her about his own extravagance.

I love hats. If I go out of my house, I’m wearing a hat. I’m not sure how many I have, but probably around three dozen, ranging from fairly casual (no caps though!) to custom-made. Of the ones pictured above, I’d wear the cloche (although probably not in white) and slouch.

I also thank your friend for suggesting the hat topic. :)

Posted By Carol Witt : August 3, 2011 11:55 am

There’s also the hat that Mrs. Miniver buys at the beginning of that movie: the extravagance she’s worried about mentioning to her husband, just as he’s worried about telling her about his own extravagance.

I love hats. If I go out of my house, I’m wearing a hat. I’m not sure how many I have, but probably around three dozen, ranging from fairly casual (no caps though!) to custom-made. Of the ones pictured above, I’d wear the cloche (although probably not in white) and slouch.

I also thank your friend for suggesting the hat topic. :)

Posted By debbe : August 3, 2011 3:55 pm

who can forget audrey hepburns’s hat in breakfast at tiffanys? Im with Lisa- enjoyable, well informed, well written and fascinating. cant wait for part two.

Posted By debbe : August 3, 2011 3:55 pm

who can forget audrey hepburns’s hat in breakfast at tiffanys? Im with Lisa- enjoyable, well informed, well written and fascinating. cant wait for part two.

Posted By Maryann : August 3, 2011 8:58 pm

Always been a fan of Claudette Colbert and loved her in Midnight, there is a great scene in a hat salon with Mary Astor, Colbert looked great wearing hats in this film.

Posted By Maryann : August 3, 2011 8:58 pm

Always been a fan of Claudette Colbert and loved her in Midnight, there is a great scene in a hat salon with Mary Astor, Colbert looked great wearing hats in this film.

Posted By john august smith : August 4, 2011 9:59 am

Broad brimmed hats frame a womans face beautifully. Francis Dee in the film Wheel of Fortune (1940) with John Wayne looked stunningly beautiful. I could not take my eyes off of her!

Posted By john august smith : August 4, 2011 9:59 am

Broad brimmed hats frame a womans face beautifully. Francis Dee in the film Wheel of Fortune (1940) with John Wayne looked stunningly beautiful. I could not take my eyes off of her!

Posted By Crowns: Black Women and Their Hats « Leo Adam Biga's Blog : August 19, 2011 8:57 am

[...] The Way You Wear Your Hat, Part 1 (moviemorlocks.com) Share this: Leo Adam Biga's BlogEmailFacebookStumbleUponRedditPrintTwitterDiggLike this:LikeBe the first to like this post. Categories: African-American Culture, Fashion, John Beasley, Omaha, Playwright, Theater, Writing Tags: Black Women and Their Hats, Crowns, Regina Taylor, The Black Church Comments (0) Trackbacks (0) Leave a comment Trackback [...]

Posted By Crowns: Black Women and Their Hats « Leo Adam Biga's Blog : August 19, 2011 8:57 am

[...] The Way You Wear Your Hat, Part 1 (moviemorlocks.com) Share this: Leo Adam Biga's BlogEmailFacebookStumbleUponRedditPrintTwitterDiggLike this:LikeBe the first to like this post. Categories: African-American Culture, Fashion, John Beasley, Omaha, Playwright, Theater, Writing Tags: Black Women and Their Hats, Crowns, Regina Taylor, The Black Church Comments (0) Trackbacks (0) Leave a comment Trackback [...]

Posted By charles del genovese : March 11, 2015 6:21 pm

how could you leave out Claudette colbert

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