As the weather provides us with some lovely sunshine, it may be time to think about choosing a few vintage inspired sun hats to add to your wardrobe.
Sun hats serve many purposes beyond the need to be aesthetically pleasing. During the summer months, the desire to wear a hat may turn into an actual need. Depending on geographical location, the sun may blaze down its powerful rays upon us. Vintage inspired sun hats are a great form of protection from the sun, shielding both skin and eyes from the omnipotent light. They are also a fashion statement.
During the 1940s and 1950s, both men and women wore hats prolifically. Hats served not only as a fashion accessory, but also as a mark of social standing and status. Whilst in today’s times, we may only wear hats due to the climate or weather; up to around the 1960s hats were essential. This changed due to the new trends centered on youth, freshness and modernity. Teenagers were the main inspiration and focus for fashion from around the late 1960s. The teenagers of the 1960s desired to look completely different and separate from their elders.
Wide Brim Sun Hats
In the 1940s and 1950s, many styles of hats were popular. The wide brimmed sun hat is a classic design, and not only protects the wearer from the sun, but also looks fabulous at the same time! From the late 1920s, women would wear enormous straw hats on the French Riviera, parading the very latest fashions.
But of course, women wore wide brimmed hats not only on the beach. In the town, women wore large hats to coordinate with their outfits, complete with gloves and costume jewelry. The hats featured decoration in some way to enhance the design. Vintage hats were embellished with ribbons, fabric bows, paper flowers, silk flowers – all used to great effect.
Today many styles of wide brimmed hats are available, due to their everlasting appeal and practicality. Choose a natural straw colored hat or stripes to coordinate with many outfits, and last many summers!
Vintage Straw Sun Hats
Of course, the main material one may think of when it comes to summer hats; is straw. Malleable, breathable and lightweight, straw is an excellent choice for summer hats.
Hats of many designs and shapes have been produced from straw, some of which echoed the fashionable designs of the period. The straw boater hat was very popular in the late 19th and early 20th century; with both men and women alike. The boater remained popular for years to come, with women wearing a slight variation with a lower crown and wider brim during the 1940s.
On hats that were intended for formal wear, more decorations were utilized. In addition to ribbons, bows or flowers, veiling was also added to create a dramatic style.
Vintage Style Visors
When one thinks of visors, usually the decade of the 1980s springs to mind. However, as incredulous as it may seem, during sporting activities, both men and women wore visors from as early as the 1920s. The 1939 George Cukor directed movie ‘The Women’ includes a fashion show segment (whilst the movie is black and white, handily the fashion show is actually in full color). The show opens with two women playing tennis, one of which is wearing a stylish visor (followed by other sporty, summer hats.)
Whilst a visor will not protect the head or back of the neck from the suns rays, it will help to keep the suns glare out of the wearers eyes. A visor may not be the immediately obvious choice for vintage inspired dressing, but they were indeed worn during the early decades of the 20th century.
To harmonize with a vintage inspired style, choose visors made from straw or cotton, in natural colors.
Novelty Designs and Bold Hues
The end of the 1930s saw a surge in the popularity of novelty designs and motifs. Schiaparelli produced her ‘Circus Collection’ in 1938, featuring outlandish designs and colors – designs well ahead of their time. Novelty designs and patterns continued in popularity through to the 1950s.
The perfect pairing to novelty designs were bold colors and patterns. Stripes were an enduring design, with various colors teamed together to form bold, bright styles. When the hat was worn, the stripes of the hat would be visible both on the outside of the hat, and the inside brim of the hat, framing the face attractively.
A boldly hued hat can really add a touch of glamour to an outfit, especially if teamed with matching accessories.
Black Vintage Inspired Sun Hats
As the typical sun hat is usually of a natural beige straw color, sun hats in darker shades and hues seem to appear all the more dramatic. A wide brimmed black sun hat looks fantastic with a white or cream 1940s or 1950s style dress, especially when teamed with matching accessories such as a handbag and pair of gloves.
In 1947, Dior unveiled his ‘Corolle’ collection, with the now iconic ‘Bar’ suit featured among his designs. The suit featured a cream fitted jacket, nipping in at the waist and rounding at the hips, to sit over a full black calf-length skirt. The ensemble was paired with a dramatic black wide brimmed hat, and in additional promotional pictures, a straw summer hat. The sharp contrast of the black against the cream was simple, but breathtaking.
This was the new silhouette of fashion, and for the next decade women would aspire to emulate the Dior look.
There are so many styles of hats out there to choose from, many of which would be the perfect choice to team with a vintage inspired style.
However you choose to wear a hat this summer, or whichever style you choose, there is sure to be the right style out there for you.