Winters Past

20th Century Fashion from Deco to Disco

Vintage Cocktail Hats

Here is our next installment of the series in which in which I gently leading you toward your hat-wearing best self.

Here’s the deal: you don’t have to be a royal or a racehorse owner to feel great in vintage headwear. If you’re willing to be a just little bit bold, you, too, can become a confident hat wearer.

In previous posts, I’ve championed the beret, the pillbox, the cloche and the structured straw hat.

Today, lets talk about those small works of millinery magic I’m calling the Cocktail Hat. These petite 1950s chapeaux are sweet, sexy and-I promise- easy to wear.

First, check out these modern ladies sporting vintage dainty mid-century hats:

modern ladies wearing 1950s vintage hats

The common thread here is their diminutive size and lack of brim. In these examples, the women are keeping their hair, makeup and overall look modern.

You can see for yourself  how alluring these small, embellished wonders are are:

modern ladies wearing 1950s vintage hats

To put these hats in the context of their era, think about the drama of 1950s fashion. All the proportions were exaggerated; the skirts were wide, the shoes pointy, the bust line emphasized. The lips were red, the jewelry was bold and copious. They wore gloves. Everything matched.

As a counterpoint to all that, hats weren’t the stars of the show, they were a complement. While there were no lack of embellishments, the shapes were modest and close to the head.

You’ll find crescents and shell shapes that hug the head, sweet Juliette caps that sit toward the back, and “beau coifs” or whimsies that are a kind of glorified headband. There are flat round tambourine shapes and lots of flirty, eye-emphasizing veils.

In the modern world, their proportions are perfectly suited for dressy occasions. Play around with the placement until it feels comfortable. I’ve seen some customers place them more toward the forehead while others wear them toward the back of the head, keeping in mind how they plan to do their hair.

If you haven’t got a fancy event on the horizon, perhaps you’ll want to host one just so you can wear a vintage cocktail hat.

Here are just a few I have in the shop right now:

1950s vintage hats

1950s vintage hats

1950s vintage hats


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.

Comments are closed.