From cloches and caps to trendy berets, 1950s hats were an essential accessory that helped to complete any look. See how women wore various styles of vintage headwear, including flower hats, straw hats, wide brimmed headgear and many others.
We found photos of more than 50 hats from the 50s — many of which make us wish that at least some of these vintage hats would make a comeback!
50s hats in blue and pink to match dresses
A hat to please (1950)
A white hat, a flower hat, a wide feather-light straw so sheer that the sun shines through… This spring, hats have a lovely quality of becomingness.
Cloche, cap, hood, peaked hat, wide sailor, scoop brim, hat with side width, some go forward, some show the hairline, some tilt sideways… you are the one to please.
About the 1950s hats shown below:
Lacy white straw, side-tilted with a veil, by Mr John; A springtime helmet of yellow daffodils with green leaves, by Lilly Dache; The cartwheel in sheer blue baku, by Hattie Carnegie, perfect hat for silk suits. Printed surah by Adele Simpson.
1950s hats: Details on the trends shown below
The fashion of the white hat, forward-tilted cloche, rose petal trim and a sheer veil, by Chanda — the feminine look with a man-tailored suit, worn with fresh flowers, crystal and pearl jewelry.
Shantung straw sailor with ribbon and half-veil, by John Frederics. Shantung suit, Nettie Rosenstein’s choker. Scoop-brim toyo by Lilly Dache. The hat that goes so well with prints or surahs. Surah dress, Larry Aldrich
A wide straw hat from 1950
Hats seen at the 1954 Miss Rheingold beauty contest
The Peach Basket hat (1957)
In diamond weave rustic straw braid, a fashion that spans your season from suits to summer cottons. Opulent with big, bright roses.
Floral hats for women from the Sears Spring 1957 catalog
WIDE SWEEPS THE BRIM of this natural raffia braid hat, gently dipped to shadow pretty eyes. Giant white daisies circle the crown. A fashion to take to your heart now and wear all summer.
LILAC TIME really does go to a woman’s head! You’ll be enchanting in a dipping brim heaped with dozens and dozens of lilac clusters. Fine sewn straw braid, delightful with suits or dresses.
RIPPLE BRIM fashion in rustic straw braid, its crown almost hidden by luscious full-blown roses. Flirtatious Yes, and utterly charming. Colors: white, navy or pink with peony pink flowers; or beige with harmonizing flowers.
These 50s hats played on fashion trends from the past
Hats for 1956: Millinery adds bulk to the picture
Article from the Terre Haute Tribune (Indiana) February 19, 1956
Completely captivating are the spring hats that answer women’s desire for something really new, really exciting in millinery.
And what is this dramatic difference in styling? One word — bulk — sums it up. Spring’s slim sheath silhouette demands the dramatic accent of a larger hat and the new designs give women an enchanting variety.
CROWNS SPREAD to wide dimension way beyond the circumference of the head, often soaring to new heights at the same time. And the more they widen, the more they round out for added grace.
And, typical of fashion’s whim, the larger hats become the lighter they look! This airy look of bulkiness is achieved through the use of featherweight straws. textured straw weaves and frothy fabrics, often combined for added impact.
These bountiful shapes embrace many exciting silhouettes including pagoda and peach basket contours, cloches, high-crowned bonnets, jutting-forward sailors, deep domes and glamour-fabric turbans. In almost every case, these hats that emphasize bulk are posed at the hairline.
TEXTURED STRAWS, lightened with tulle, organdie or organza touches, ballibuntl, baku, milan, straw braids and lustrous straws star in the millinery picture for spring.
While the large hat is the stand-out favorite of the showing, the smaller hat is not overlooked. The range is extensive, from very large, very bulky-looking to miniature flower caps with floating velvet streamers.
Color adds a final fillip to this exciting hat tare in such lively accents as lemon yellow, orange. vermillion red, royal blue, and turquoise. Natural tones and brown shades rank importantly, as do the perennial spring favorites — pastels.
Chanel women’s suit from 1956 with a matching red hat
Warm winter hat from the 1950s (1956)
1950s hats for women were the cutting edge of fashion
Vintage black and white striped cloche hat (1956)
Vintage 1950s tan neutral hat (1956)
Wide-brimmed hat with fur (1956)
Red Christian Dior suit worn with a touch of fur — a mink ascot and pompom on a wider-brimmed hat.
50s woman in dark suit with a red hat (1957)
Vintage orange and white flower hat (1957)
Old-fashioned blue straw hat (1957)
Old-fashioned floral hat (1957)
Stylish spring hats for women (1957)
Cloche hat in beige
Vintage 1950s hat (1957)
Textured straw hat in blue-grey (1957)
White spring women’s hat from 1958
Fashionable black hat (1958)
Fancy flowery hat from 1958
20s-style cloche hat in the 50s (1958)
A rise in headgear with brims and crowns raised to the sky
From The Herald-News (Passaic, New Jersey) March 27, 1958
FASHION SCOOP — Hattie Carnegie’s small “sugar scoop” is made of deep burnt straw braid, with wispy white edelweiss at back and a touch of green grosgrain.
DRAPED SHAPE — Miniature lemons and leaves trail up the side of this printed crepe turban by Reggi of Wilshire in vivid lime and lemon on white.
GIBSON GIRL: Walter K. Marks presents a snowy white toyo straw sailor, its high crown banded with navy grosgrain, with similar piping on the stiff brim, and the whole softened by a patterned mesh veil, also navy blue.
TALL STORY: Shiny rough white straw is shaped by Leslie James into a high crowned chemise cloche, accented with a scarlet satin ribbon bow.
“STRIPE ME PINK” — A huge striped silk rose perches on Walter Florell’s shallow breton in pinky lavender-and-white striped silk. The scarf matches.
“ROW” CATCHER — Emme’s deep cloche in honey shantung boasts an enormous self-flat bow for extra fashion measure. Snug fit makes it breeze-proof.
1950s fancy small hat in blue (1958)
Stylish large hat from 1958
Spring millinery story told in brims and high crowns
Article from the Omaha World-Herald (Nebraska) February 01, 1959
The telltale signs of the new spring hats are three — brims, height in crowns and emphasis on the hairdo. These big three signs are turned out with verve and endless variety.
Emme, at times the most “high-hatted” designer of all, turned to the East for her Oriental fez and lantern caps. Designer Adolpho’s polka dots become huge “Yen Dots” and adorn stitched silken berets and high-crowned slouches.
Kabuki hats from this house are like Oriental headdresses, and even the colors have a sound of the Far East—Ming blue, almond pink, lacquer black.
Lilly Dache has found Eurasian inspiration, too. Pagoda shapes and turbans are fashioned of pearl-sized straw or silk shantung. And lest coiffure-expert Dache and hatmaker Dache be found incompatible, Lilly tips her cloches and minaret-crowned rollers to set off the hairdo.
Walter Florell’s hats, even the large ones, often leave two-thirds of the coif uncovered. Favored materials are milan straw sewn alternately with horsehair strips for large-brimmed lightness, or tucked organza in berets and pillboxes.
Colors at Florell, rather than flower trims, provide excitement. The exceptions are some “grand entrance” brims complete with chiffon water lilies.
Tailored straight brims, gently rolling bretons and little rollers vie at the House of Hattie Carnegie with those little pillboxes, turbans and caps for which this designer is famous.
The ultimate in Carnegie bewitchery is the large capeback dinner hat, face framing, shoulder covering and transparent. Other varieties in brim and height carry the Sally Victor, Miss Mary or John Frederics name tags.
A buckled bowler, bishop’s miter and even an extravagant Lillian Russell chapeau are included in Mrs Victor’s line. A large-crowned sailor cloche with sunflowers appears at Miss Mary’s, and there’s a “souffle crown” in the John Frederics collection.
In addition to the straight skimmers, curved-up bretons or curved-down slopes, there are brims with “soaring cuffs” or “swooping capelines” to emphasize the profile. Generally, brims sit back from the hairline, slant to one side or set off the hair-do with an open crown.
Yet this north-south hat factor is balanced by conical and cylindrical heights, deep, deep crowns and extravagant use of color.
ABOVE: 1. Emme’s bicorn in shantung Baku. 2. Foliage-trimmed cloche from Amy. 3. Telescope crown cloche from Christian Dior. 4. Milan-over-chiffon toque by Walter Florell. 5. G. Howard Hodge’s demi-roller brim in balibuntl. 6. Carnegie’s Leghorn with grosgrain. 7. Dotted silk surrah by Sally Victor. 8. Swiss straw boater from Chanda. 9. Dachette panamalacque cloche. 10. John Frederics milan charmer. 11. Wide-sweeping brimmed cloche from Mr. John. 12. Laddie Northridge’s profile cloche of balibuntl.
Dancer-actress Lena Horne wearing a hat in the late 1950s
Flowery ladies’ hat from 1959
Two 50s spring hats for women (1959)
Light gray winter hat (1959)
Woman in a royal blue vintage suit & matching hat (1959)
Vintage hat styles from the late 1950s/early 60s