See lavish 1910s women’s hats from a gorgeous era in fashion history

1910s Women's hats - 1915 - Delineator

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Who would like to see these glamorous hats come back into fashion?!

In the Victorian and Edwardian eras, hats were a milliner’s works of art, adorned with feathers, ribbons, flowers — and even whole birds. They were a symbol of status and wealth, and women would spare no expense to acquire the most beautiful and ornate headwear.

In the collection of 1910s women’s hats we’ve compiled below, you can see that — even by this point in the new century — styles were still exceedingly lush and extravagant (though according to at least one fashion columnist in 1912, they are, in fact, considered toned down – ha!). With that said, by the latter part of the decade, the profile of 1910s women’s hats had become significantly streamlined.

Big purple flowered spring hat (1910)

The early spring hat for 1912

From Ladies Home Journal – Drawings by M E Musselman (1912)

After several seasons of millinery absurdities, when one searched almost in vain for a hat which did not completely submerge the head in the too-generous capacity of its crown, it is a pleasure to find that we are back once again to pretty and graceful hats which are worn on the head, and not literally over it.

There is so much added charm given to a hat which discloses underneath abundant waves and coils of well-arranged hair, and so much taken away when not even a stray wisp is visible.

The crowns being made smaller, and the brims not dipping down in an exaggerated form over the head, the bandeau is not always required, as the hat may fit the head with sufficient ease without it. When a lack of hair or a low arrangement causes the hat to slip out of position a narrow fold of velvet sewed around the inner crown will hold it in place.

Not only has the exaggerated hat passed by, but so also, has the enormous hatpin. The new hatpins are small round balls or pear-shaped, studded with pearls, brilliants or set with single stones, in which the color of the hat may be matched.

They are of moderate length, without the dangerous protruding point, and serve their purpose of holding the hat without detracting from the contour of the shape as do the huge hatpins we have been wearing.

Flower hat with cowslips

The fresh charm of flowers in the early spring makes them especially alluring for the new hat, after the somber and heavy trimmings of winter. In the small tailor-suit hat above clusters of cowslips, in two shades of blue, are massed around the crown, with a full rosette of deep panne velvet. 

The hat is a small round shape, with the brim turned up at the left side. A narrow binding of velvet makes a pretty relief to the plainness of the under brim.

An all-flower hat is always lovely, and never more so than in the season when Nature is sending forth such a profusion of floral beauty.

Old-fashioned spring hats for women from 1912 at Click Americana (2)

Yellow primrose floral hat

There is a delicate charm in the hat below, for here the yellow primrose is used in a riotous profusion on a bank of green foliage. This hat is a small and shape’ which is becoming if made to conform with the relative size of the head.

Old-fashioned spring hats for women from 1912 at Click Americana (3)

Antique hat style with big green & white striped bow

A charming hat which is easy the home milliner to copy. The hat is a fine-woven straw braid in a deep parsley-green, a shade which is always becoming to a girl with a clear complexion and a tinge of reddish-gold in her hair.

It has a medium-sized round crown, and the brim turns upward at the left side in a graceful line against the hair underneath. It is adorned only with a large bow made of the supple green and white satin-striped ribbon loosely arranged at the left side, made with one large upward loop and two downward loops, with a double-twisted knot.

Old-fashioned spring hats for women from 1912 at Click Americana (4)

Hat with black ostrich feathers

One of the many pretty ways in which ostrich feathers are used this spring is shown in this hat, a charming model to wear with an afternoon dress or theater gown.

Here the black ostrich feather is sewed with the outside of the stem against the base of the crown. On the left side is placed a black and white ostrich-feather tassel, the long flues reaching to the brim edge.

The hat is covered with ecru lace laid over the white tulle, with an under-brim facing of black velvet.

1912 Hat with black ostrich feathers

Black Milan straw women’s hat with old-blue (1912)

Just below is an exceedingly smart small hat for the tailored suit. It is of fine black Milan straw, with an all-around rolled brim. It is trimmed with knife-plaited ribbon laid around the crown and arranged in a butterfly bow at the right side, falling toward the back.

This hat in black trimmed with old-blue, as pictured here, would be correct to wear with a gray or navy-blue suit or a one-piece dress.

Old-fashioned spring hats for women from 1912 at Click Americana (5)

Hats you can make and trim (1912)

Exceedingly pretty is the hat on the right with its full ruche of taffeta with pinked edges. Here the quiet tan silk is brightened with a lining of red to give a gayer note more in keeping with a youthful face.

Toward the back is a large bow with two forward loops and another backward, fastened with a long, loose knot. To make this knot successfully first sew the loops to the hat and then extend the knot over and beyond the loops and tack securely, yet keeping an appearance of looseness.

Homemade antique hat styles from 1912 at Click Americana (2)

A blue & white striped vintage hat (1912)

A correct simplicity is apparent in the lines of the blue and white hat [below], which set it apart as a characteristically good-tailored suit hat. It is made of a loosely woven wood braid in a bright blue, with a daring touch in the under-brim facing of blue and white satin-striped taffeta.

Jauntily arranged on the left side are two dog-eared ends, made of blue velvet and lined with the blue and white striped silk. These two materials are combined again in the loose knot caught around the ends.

This hat would be charming for a young girl if worn with a mixed gray or dark blue cloth suit. Pinstripes or a plain color silk could be substituted for an older woman.

Homemade antique hat styles from 1912 at Click Americana (1)

A vintage hat with a charming shape

One noticeable feature of this season’s hats is the sectional or melon-shaped crown, the different parts of which are joined with silk cording. This type of crown is used in the hat below– a charmingly girlish shape with an even, slightly rolled brim.

For this crown, a striped silk in brown and white is used with heavy cording joining the sections. When made of a soft material like silk a foundation of capenet or crinoline should be used.

A unique trimming is made by shirring silk over a corded ring with a soft narrow frill at the edge and a simulated flower center of French knots. The graceful drapery around the crown is a bias fold of silk run with cording. Tiny feather pompons may be substituted for the silk ornaments, or rosettes would be equally effective.

Homemade antique hat styles from 1912 at Click Americana (5)

A blue straw sailor’s hat for a woman

Certainly there has never been a time when the sailor hat has been so much liked as this year, appearing as it has in as many different shapes as it is differently trimmed. Below is pictured one of the most attractive of this year’s sailors, with a flat, broad crown and a straight brim slightly tilted upward.

It is made of blue straw, and the monotony of the severely plain hat is happily lost here by the use of the shepherd-check plaid taffeta which is used in covering the crown top and as a binding for the brim edge; it is repeated again on the underneath part of the brim, where the check taffeta used as a half facing gives a bright bit of color next to the face. Around the crown is a wide band of heavy corded silk ribbon, with a flat tailored bow at the side.

Homemade antique hat styles from 1912 at Click Americana (4)

A jaunty hat for women (1912)

Endowed with the free and easy grace of a “sou’-wester” is the jaunty hat [below], ideally fitting to wear with the tailored suit or for knock-about in the country.

It is made of heavy tussah silk, with the crown cut in four sections and double-stitched at the seams, while the entire brim is closely run with rows of stitching.

A scarf of interwoven threads in a riotous intermingling of bright red, blue, yellow and purple, twisted around the crown and tied in a loose knot at the left side with fringed ends, makes a graceful trimming.

This hat would be distinctly smart if made of the same material as your suit or dress; or if a differently colored material is used in trimming use the contrasting material for the hat. This hat may be turned up on the left side and trimmed with a ribbon or feather cockade.

Homemade antique hat styles from 1912 at Click Americana (3)

The mature woman’s hat: Millinery advice from 1912

Many women like to begin the spring season with a small, close-fitting hat or toque, and later, when warmer days appear, choose a larger and lighter hat which will shade the eyes. Surely this is an economical as well as sensible arrangement, as a small hat is more easily kept on the head when blustering March winds are blowing, and will be useful for many purposes throughout the season.

Indeed, it is often the ideal hat to finish a season with, for, having been worn only occasionally in the middle of summer, it will be fresh-looking for the closing days of autumn.

On this page several examples of the small toque hats are shown, to be worn with many different kinds of clothes, from the simplest tailored suit of morning to the more “dress-up” costumes of the afternoon.

At a time when the vogue of the small hat is so marked, every small shape seems to be adapted to all kinds of trimming, whether it is old or young appearing, but certainly the older woman cannot afford to sacrifice her dignity by adopting the small hats in the coquettish shapes intended only for the younger folks.

As the average busy matron generally has little time to consider the lines of a hat, and is more often influenced by the observations of the saleswoman, there are unlimited opportunities for choosing the wrong hat.

Here are some important points to keep in mind when buying a hat: Don’t buy a hat at the end of a shopping tour, when tired out. Always try to have on the dress or suit with which you will wear the hat most, and don’t buy a colored hat in an electric-lighted shop without trying it on in the daylight.

An all-season hat

To have at least one hat which may be worn the year around is necessary for some women who have not the time to devote to choosing a different hat each season. Often after a good shape is settled upon it is wise to adopt it in preference to “trying out” others, simply having it made slightly larger or smaller to conform with settled changes in fashion.

A good example of an all-season hat is shown [below]. The small turned-up brim is faced with black velvet, and the entire crown is buried under swirls of blue tulle over gray. At the side knife-plaited tulle is made into two long rosettes.

Vintage 1912 hat styles for middle-age women at Click Americana (2)

A hat with violets & gardenias (1912)

Just below is a lovely flower hat, the deep purple of the violets being in excellent contrast with the creamy whiteness of the gardenias.

In shape, this hat is the simplest form of a toque. The lower part is covered with large single violets and leaves, while the crown top is softened with twisted folds of tulle.

Vintage 1912 hat styles for middle-age women at Click Americana (5)

Hats for different face shapes and hairstyles

As everyone is agreed that the arrangement of the hair to conform with the lines of a hat is as important as color or shape each woman should have a knowledge of what character of hat to avoid.

If the hair is drawn back from the face in a severely simple and plain arrangement, and the face is inclined to thinness, a straight-brim hat like the one above, or a toque with a regular out-line like the old-blue hat in the upper right-hand corner, should be sedulously avoided.

When soft waves or puffs of hair cannot be depended upon to soften the effect of a hat the hat itself must supply this omission and be made to suit the contour of head and face. Soft, shirred tulle, velvet or silk may be used for the brim; or an irregular outline of the brim edge, as shown in the hat on the right, will be found effective in making the hat more becoming.

The hat [below] would be charming for a matron with a well-rounded face and sufficient hair arranged low at the back or loosely drawn up high on the head under the hat.

This hat has a straight front brim curving upward in the back, with a round crown which is trimmed with crushed roses in a deep, faded rose color scattered loosely, although covering the crown completely, and with glimpses of green foliage in places.

Around the crown at the base is drawn a fold of bias-cut velvet, arranged at the back in a large bow with dog-eared ends extending to the lower edge of the crown. This idea for trimming could be applied with pleasing results to a last year’s hat with a faded crown or upper brim. 

Vintage 1912 hat styles for middle-age women at Click Americana (4)

Vintage hat colors for 1910s women’s hats that match many outfits

In making the hat [below], one of the large plaques of pliable Manila braid has been used and draped over the frame in folds as soft as velvet. It is in a delightful shade of blue, which harmonizes effectively with the wide passementerie band encircling the hat, richly embroidered in silk thread and iridescent beads.

The graceful velvet bow adorning the side is made up of two standing loops and two rounded ends, with a long knot drawn loosely over the center. It is a hat which would look well with a tailored suit or a dressy gown, and the color is one which makes it wearable with many different clothes.

Vintage 1912 hat styles for middle-age women at Click Americana (1)

Sable brown small toque

The hat below is a graceful small toque shape, made of a fine Neapolitan braid plaque in a sable brown. A wide band of embroidered ecru net is draped around the side crown, with a deep edge of chiffon.

The loops visible on the top of the crown are a portion of a graceful velvet bore, arranged at the left side back. An ostrich plume may be substituted here in place of the bow.

Vintage 1912 hat styles for middle-age women at Click Americana (3)

1910s women’s hats: Shapes & styles for women over age 60 (1912)

Many elderly ladies find small-brimmed hats more comfortable than toques or bonnets. When one has plenty of hair in back and at the sides, a small hat is generally exceedingly becoming, throwing soft shadows on the face and protecting the eyes from sun glare.

The best type of hat for an elderly woman is one with an upward-turning brim at the side or back, fitting the head squarely and inclining neither to the left nor to the right; for nothing no detracts from the dignity of an elderly woman as quickly as a hat tilted on one side of the head.

A charming type of hat is pictured below, in a faded Catawba tone. The hat is made of fine Milan straw, with loops of wired tulle with satin-bound edges set around the base of the crown and extending above the top. These are fastened under a twisted fold of the tulle.

Antique 1912 hat styles for older women at Click Americana (5)

Tulle and draped lace toque

At no time does the personality of a woman show itself in such a marked way in her clothes as when she is past the middle age, advancing into the frankly elderly years beyond sixty. It is then, if never before, that the taste of a woman must become individual, and a universal mode or style cannot be imposed.

The elderly woman with a well-rounded face and plenty of hair looks charming in a small draped toque, strings not being essential, or not required in this case, to hold the hat securely on the head. This type of hat is slightly larger all around and requires more hair than the smaller bonnets which are not so deep in the back.

The silver-haired woman with a creamy white skin devoid of color will find a toque like the one on the left becoming. Here the top of the hat is enveloped under twisted folds of purplish blue tulle, with a soft draping of lace around the edge. At the left side is a wired bow of lace with a small cluster of pansies filling in the hollow space in front and back of the bow.

Antique 1912 hat styles for older women at Click Americana (1)

Vintage hat style with a rose for an older woman (1912)

When the elderly person has a delicate pink-and-white complexion there is nothing so becoming as the warm pink of the ” La France ” rose, as shown on the toque [below].

Here the hat is made of a draped Neapolitan braid, light for spring and summer, with a single full willow plume in black and white fastened at the left side and drooping toward the front, softly shading the roses.

Antique 1912 hat styles for older women at Click Americana (2)

A hat for a quietly-dressed woman (1912)

There are many elderly women who never attempt to wear any color except dark gray, but who cling to deep black and depend upon white collars and yokes or fine frills of creamy lace to relieve the somberness.

For this quietly dressed type of elderly lady the bonnet below would be in good taste. It is made of black lace laid on the crown in a soft fullness, with a wide crushed band of silk-ribbon embroidery around the edge.

The graceful side bow is a band of silk-thread lace with a double fold of chiffon hemstitched to the edge. Added to this are a few modest purple violets peeping from under the bow, the whole forming a bonnet of charming dignity and grace for the gentle elderly lady of conservative taste.

Antique 1912 hat styles for older women at Click Americana (4)

A hat with a typical “old-lady” shape

If the woman who is “not as young as I was once ” still possesses the glowing color not uncommon with a creamy skin and a comfortable plumpness of form she will find a sober brown exceedingly becoming.

This is in good taste although one of the youngest of colors, and it is not among the forbidden shades for this type of elderly woman who combines the youthful spirits and ruddiness of health with the maturity of age.

Unlike the other hats on this page, there is no attempt made to heighten this bonnet. It is a typical old-lady shape, such as may have been ordered regularly every season for many years past, and by reason of its very lack of novelty, it has gained the place of all really good things which never pass out of style but are always wearable.

Closely set together around the sides are crushed tea roses charmingly framing the face. Another touch about this bonnet that belongs more to old fashions than the newer ideas is afforded by the strings. They are such a useful and becoming part of a bonnet, not only concealing wrinkles in the neck and hollows under the chin, but also adding an appearance of dignity and repose that are lacking in a stringless bonnet or toque.

Antique 1912 hat styles for older women at Click Americana (3)

1910s women’s hats for Easter (1914)

Easter hats from 1914

Panama Hats for women (1914)

Panama Hats for women (1914)

High toque in burgundy and dahlia tones (1915)

With tinsel and silk flower sprays applied to the raised brim

High toque in burgundy and dahlia tones (1915)

Gage sports hats (1915)

Gage sports hats (1915)

1910s women’s hats: Millinery styles from 1915

Millinery styles from 1915

Classic hats for women from 1915

Classic hats for women from 1915

Tailleur hats (1915)

Imported ladies’ hats at Teitelbaum & DeMarinis, 339 Fifth Avenue, New York (Opposite the Waldorf Astoria)

Tailleur hats (1915)

Dress hat of brown malines and gold lace (1915)

The net veils the lace and forms a wide flange beyond the brim. A band of old blur ribbon bands the crown, and three white roses are placed in front

Dress hat of brown malines and gold lace (1915)

Vintage Fisk hats with stripes from 1915

Vintage Fisk hats with stripes from 1915

Antique women’s hats from 1915 in the Delineator

Women's hats - Fashion from 1915 - Delineator

1910s women’s hats (1916)

The small hat: We lament its coming and we hope for its going, but still we cling tenaciously to it (1916)

Why has the small hat taken such hold on fashion? Nine women out of ten, of the American type, at least, look better in a hat with a shading brim — a hat that softens the face, gives the hair a chance to show, and is picturesque in itself. Yet the big hat, which seems slated to return to fashion, is having to fight for every inch of progress it makes.

We rebelled against the small hat when Paris thrust it upon us. It was all very well for the French face, we said — and for the French figure, for the hat should be chosen with relation to the whole appearance. But perched jauntily above the American face, which lacked the spirit, the chic, of the French face, the small hat was almost ridiculous.

Pleated maline and chiffon hat from 1915

Protesting then, we learned to wear the small hat smartly. We pulled our hair back and plastered it firmly close to the head and we taught ourselves to substitute the word “smart” for “pretty” or “becoming” when we spoke of headgear.

And last spring came a chance to wear the large hat again, if we chose. We did not choose. This autumn, fashion, seeing the trend of summer choice, has emphasized the small hat and left the big one to languish until another season.

Perhaps it is because we have subordinated everything else to smartness that the little hat, grotesquely tiny, sometimes, remains in fashion. It takes time to change the attitude of a people toward clothes. But once changed, it is more comfortable to maintain that attitude for a little — long enough to make the getting of it worthwhile — than it is to veer back again to the original point of view.

We have learned to look smart. What do we want of the picturesque? Give us a season more to get what we can out of smartness? Then, if need be, women will fluff their hair, tighten their stays, and don picture hats and tight bodices with pleasure.

Women's hats - 1917 - Delineator

Picture gowns

There are a few picture hats this autumn, be it remembered — so few that their wearers will be distinguished by them. But they are not worn carelessly, with any frock one happens to have. No, indeed; they are worn with picture gowns.

Picture gowns? Sometimes they are called period gowns. And they are designed usually to show the marked influence of some famous historic period — often actually from a gown in an old portrait. With these period or picture gowns are worn picture hats.

They are not always large — we conjure up an appallingly wide hat whenever we hear that word. That is because our picture hats of the past were modeled on the wide Gainsborough type of hat. But with these new period gowns the picture hats may be no more than the pointed-cap-like hat of the time of Henry of Navarre.

Of course, there are fashionable broad-brimmed hats that do not come under the picture-hat classification. These are most of them of black velvet, and their brims are curved in a becoming line. Sometimes they are trimmed simply with a big flower at the front or on one side. Sometimes a novelty band of beads embroidered on net or of worsted embroidery around the crown forms their only trimming.

Small brimmed ladies' hats from 1916

But to get back to the tiny hat, which is still the pet and favorite of fashion.

It is not the small hat of last autumn nor of last spring. Nobody must think that this continuance of the small hat in fashion is going to make it any easier to wear one’s old millinery than if yard-wide brims had been brought to the front. The new small hat has many forms, to be sure. But each of them speaks distinctively of the autumn of 1915.

Velvet and plush are much used, felt a little. And there are charming hats of feathers, and later will doubtless be many small fur hats.

A high crown, with very narrow, up-curving brim, marks one of the new models. Rather tall feather trimming of some sort is the natural trimming for this shape. Then there is the Lewis Chinese cap, of black velvet, the different wedges or sections bound with black silk braid, and a tassel in the center of the crown. This bids to be a favorite model and is certainly most attractive above a young face.

The idea of trimming the center of the crown is not confined only to this Lewis model. A rose, a feather fantasy, an ornament of beads or gelatin — all these are fastened pertly to the center of the crown of one of the new hats — the shape so trimmed is, of course, chosen with discrimination — and the hat is called finished.

The gelatin ornaments so much used in autumn millinery take many forms. There are flowers of all sorts, cabuchons, darts and various other decorations. Then there are the chenille and worsted trimmings birds and flowers and conventional designs embroidered or formed of loops and twists, with tinsel or beads to give contrast.

Stylish vintage hats for women from 1919

Stylish vintage hats for women from 1919

Antique 1910s women’s hats (1919)

Antique ladies' hats (1919)

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