REGENCY BONNETS AND HATS, OH MY!

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I’ve always loved the hats and bonnets of the Regency Era.

Unfortunately, I cannot wear hats and not look utterly ridiculous in them. A neurosurgeon once said I had an, “odd shaped skull” which means, hats slide straight Fashion_Plate_(Fashionable_Bonnets_for_the_Carriage_and_Public_Promenades)_LACMA_M.86.266.330down my forehead to my nose.

Really, they do.

Readers of Regency and anyone who’s watched any of Jane Austen’s works that have been made into movies knows just how lovely those hats and bonnets were.

First, what’s the difference between a hat and bonnet? I confess, I didn’t know myself.

Bonnets tie on, usually with ribbons,  and hats don’t; simple as that

Today, I’m focusing on the types bonnets that would have been worn away from the home, not the simple lace caps that were common indoors, mostly by married women or Fashion_Plate_(Parisian_Promenade_Hats)_LACMA_M.86.266.235spinsters.

As hairstyles changed in the late 1700s and early 1800s, so did hair accessories.

Remember, hats and bonnets accommodated the current hair fashion, so as styles shifted, so did the shape and size of women’s hair toppers. Bigger hair and bonnets gave way to smaller styles .

Commonly decorated with silk flowers, feathers (and the occasional stuffed bird) ribbons and lace, typical head coverings ranged from simple straw caps to elegantly adorned bonnets.

Changing the fripperies on a bonnet to update the style or coordinate the piece with a gown or spencer was common practice too.

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Hat making is especially dear to my heart.

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My great-grandmother was a milliner. I remember seeing all sorts of beautiful hat pins and fascinating treasures for making hats in her sewing room.

I have some of her hat pins dating back to the early 1900s.

So, do you wear hats beside the occasional baseball cap or winter woolen?

 

 

 

Enjoy an excerpt from Triumph and Treasure

(Highland Heather Romancing a Scot Series-December 3, 2014)

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The butler gave the briefest of bows. “Good afternoon, Lord Bretheridge.”

He peered down his reedy nose.

Considering the top of the fellow’s head didn’t meet Flynn’s nose, the effect was rather comical. He was sorely tempted to stand taller to see if the man would tilt his head further. Except Flynn feared the majordomo might tumble tail over top backward if he did.

He almost grinned at the image. “Good afternoon to you as well. And your name?”

“Saunders, sir.” The butler exhaled an exaggerated sigh. “I suppose you wish to be relieved of your hat and gloves?”

No, I intend to take tea with them on.

Flynn hadn’t imagined the annoyance in Saunders’s voice. Where in God’s name had Waterford found the surly chap? And why hadn’t he sacked him long before this?

“Sir, your hat?”

“Yes, please.” Flynn passed the items to the butler’s outstretched hand.

The majordomo placed them on a table before closing the thick, arched door. Nose in the air, he marched past Flynn, sparing him nary a glance. “Their Graces and Mrs. Thorne await you in the drawing room. Tea has been served already.”

What the blazes? Mrs. Thorne?

The niece was married—no, had been married? Thus, the black garb.

The plot thickened.

Why so desperate to marry off a widowed niece? Something didn’t add up. A huge piece of the puzzle was missing. No doubt during tea today, that tidbit would be served up, whole and raw. He’d be expected to swallow the distasteful thing without complaint.

“Sir, are you coming?” Impatience laced Saunders’s voice.

“Yes, forgive me, I was distracted by . . .” Flynn swiftly skimmed the entry for a logical excuse. “Distracted by that.”

He pointed to a moth eaten five-point red deer with one ear hanging loose and missing a glass eye. The stuffed animal hung askew above the entrance. “What a spectacular trophy. Did His Grace shoot the buck on the estate?”

Saunders raised a brow, no doubt thinking Flynn was a cork-brained ninnyhammer.

“No. He did not.” The majordomo continued marching along the corridor.

No, the duke didn’t shoot it, or no, it hadn’t been shot on the estate?

 

Here’s your Romantic Pursuit question: 

What hung askew above the entrance?

 

 

 

 

 

 

Resources:

http://www.songsmyth.com/hatsandbonnets.html

http://janeaustensworld.wordpress.com/2008/02/22/bonnets-caps-and-hats-a-regency-fashion-accessory-no-lady-can-do-without/

http://hibiscus-sinensis.com/regency/shops.htm

http://elegance-of-fashion.blogspot.com/2011/02/assorted-lace-caps.html

 

All images are courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

 

 

 

Follow Collette Cameron:

Author

USA Today Bestselling Author, COLLETTE CAMERON pens Scottish and Regency historicals featuring rogues, rapscallions, rakes, and the intelligent, intrepid damsels who reform them. Blessed with three spectacular children, fantastic fans, and a compulsive, over-active, and witty Muse who won’t stop whispering new romantic romps in her ear, she still lives in Oregon with her husband and five mini-dachshunds, though she dreams of living in Scotland part-time. Admitting to a quirky sense of humor, Collette enjoys inspiring quotes, adores castles and anything cobalt blue, and is a self-confessed Cadbury chocoholic. You'll always find dogs, birds, occasionally naughty humor, and a dash of inspiration in her sweet-to-spicy timeless romances.

10 Responses

  1. Loved this post! And enjoyed the excerpt. Really, a 5 point deer? Fascinating.

    • Yeah, hubby is a hunter so I haven the misfortune of having 4 bucks staring at me in the den when I’m on that computer like I am now.

  2. I love hats, especially cowgirl hats! Also straw hats, got some of those, too.

  3. Great excerpt, Collette. I love hats, especially in Alaska during the winter. Some of them even have bows–knew you’d appreciate that. 🙂

  4. bmonajem

    What gorgeous bonnets, but I’m glad I don’t have to wear one. I only wear a hat when it’s freezing cold out. Otherwise I find it really irritating to have something on my head. (Plus I look pretty ridiculous in most hats anyway. )

  5. I love hats too! I remember as a young girl, my mother in wide-brimmed straw hats with silk scarfs to match her outfits when we went to church. My favorite was a navy blue hat with a navy and white polka dot scarf – she looked gorgeous in it! And of course she wore navy blue and white spectator pumps, too! Unfortunately, I don’t have a hat head. My daughter does and wears all kinds of hats, from ball caps to knitted woolen ones for winter to a fedora!