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National Hat Day

Hats -1890-Capt. GroffToday, January 15th is the unofficial recognition of people wearing hats. It is not done as much as once, when it was the only acceptable thing to do for men and women.

Of course, there are many reasons over the decades our ancestors wore hats.
Hats may be worn for safety and protection, religious reasons, ceremonial reasons, warmth or fashion.hats -1899~Bixler,Hatt

Other reasons include:

  • In the Middle Ages, hats were an indicator of social status.
  • In the military, hats may denote ones nationality, branch of service, rank and/or regiment.
  • A Thebes tomb painting depicts one of the first pictorials of a hat .  The painting shows a man wearing a conical straw hat.
  • Structured hats for women began to be worn in the late 16th century.
  • Millinery is the designing and manufacture of hats.hats-1900~Albaugh,L
  • The term “milliner” derived from the city of Milan, Italy.  The best quality hats were made in Milan in the 18th century.
  • Millinery began as traditionally a woman’s occupation, as the milliner not only created hats and bonnets but also chose lace, trim and accessories to complete an outfit.  
  • The height of women wearing very large fancy hats was in the late 19th century into the early 1900s. Especially added were the bird feathers making the hats even larger. ONLY problem the fashion trend nearly wiped out the bird population, until enough people said that was enough to end the killing of birds for fashion. hats- Rue, Leila M (1910~)
  • In the middle of the 1920′s, to replace the bonnets and wide-brimmed hats, women (Roaring Twenties flappers) began to wear smaller hats that hugged their heads to go along with their much shorter hairstyles.

The photos show are family photos with ancestors wearing hats. Not that many vintage photos have the person wearing a hat, so it can be rare.

Look through your collection of family photos and pull aside the images just with hats. hats - 1943-Everharts-1Especially look at those in the military over the years.  Fascinating.

Photos: 1890 Capt Groff as a GAR member, 1899 was Hattie Bixler in her fine feather hat, 1900 was Louise Albaugh in a feathered hat, 1910 was Leila Rue who was a hat maker; and the Everhart family in 1943 in uniforms and dress hat.

Related genealogy blogs:

Occupational Clothing

Fashions to Help Date Photos

History of the Wedding Dress


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