Winters Past

20th Century Fashion from Deco to Disco

Cloche Hats

This is the third installment in a series of posts designed to take you by the hand and gently lead you down the path of hat wearing in gradual, easy steps.  I’ve encouraged berets and pillboxes in previous posts. Now, an ode to the cloche.

What’s a cloche hat? As the Supreme Court once said about pornography, it’s hard to describe but you know it when you see it.

Call up an image from the 1920’s and early ’30’s. Picture the hats they are wearing, the ones pulled right down to the eyebrows. Those are cloche hats.

I recently purchased the wonderful wardrobe of an elderly lady’s mother. Among the treasures was a purple felt cloche hat. This hat came home with me and, after wearing it for a week I’ve learned two things: one, purple is a neutral and two, the cloche makes the grade as one of the most wearable and flattering of all hats.

A cloche has a  close fitting deep crown and conforms to the head nicely, which means it stays put. Cloches have  a small brim or no brim at all, so wearing one isn’t distracting- you forget it’s there.

Now for the flattering part. There is something great about the way it’s worn low on the forehead that is both sweet and alluring. In the 20’s, they didn’t wear blush; their makeup focused on eyes and lips, which makes perfect sense, since the cloche highlights those features nicely. I wore lipstick with my cloche and I felt just like a modern Zelda Fitzgerald, (early Zelda, from the playful and fun-loving years).

Here are some great archival photos of 20’s ladies in cloches:

vintage cloche hats

These dresses just wouldn’t be the same without the hats

Here are a few costumes that reference the 20’s in inspiring ways:

how to wear a vintage cloche hat

Angelina Jolie, Twiggy, Mary from Downton Abby and Miss Fisher

Now, some modern ladies sporting cloches. While twenties hair was short, you can see the cloche looks great with long hair, too. The gal who wears glasses (like me) did the lipstick thing, too.

modern ladies wearing vintage cloche hats

Modern ladies wearing vintage cloche hats

These are some cloches I have in the shop, except the purple one, which I’m wearing right now.

vintage cloche hats

Just a few of the vintage cloche hats at Winters Past

Author: Winters Past

I am a vintage clothing shop owner living and working in rural north Florida. I believe in adding a little vinegar and molasses to my greens, having my coffee outside whenever possible, and mixing something vintage into every room and every outfit.

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