Nowadays, unless you are the Duchess of Cambridge, or attending the Royal Ascot or Kentucky Derby, there’s not much call to wear a hat. Of course, that’s not counting the woollen cap with ear flaps you wear in the dead of winter that’s not about fashion, that’s just about keeping warm!

In days gone by though, women, and men for that matter, wore hats as a matter of course and not just for more formal occasions, but on a regular everyday basis. As society became more relaxed and less rigid regarding dress and as social and gender roles changed and to did the importance of millinery. Of course, for those who chose to wear vintage fashions, hats are still as relevant as always.

In the 20th Century, the millinery heyday was certainly the 1930s and 1940s. This was before ready-to-wear became de rigueur in the 1950s and women still included a trip to the milliner as part of their wardrobe planning.

By the 1950s, hats for women started to become optional as opposed to being a necessary accessory.

There’s quite a variety of styles of vintage women’s hats, depending on the time period and the purpose of the hat, and it really would be impossible to share a compressive overview of them all. Instead, I am sharing several important styles.

Queen Elizabeth

Still today Queen Elizabeth is a lover of vintage hats. You can see what she has worn over the years.

Queen Elizabeth vintage hats

Queen Elizabeth second Wearing vintage hats

I tried vintage hats virtually at Love Hats it was so much fun years ago.

The Cloche

Cloche hats are fitted, bell-shaped hats that were often made of felt. They were at their height of popularity during the 1920s and 1930s; although, French milliner, Caroline Reboux, created the cloche much earlier in 1908. The cloche is often remembered as one of the accessories made popular by the flapper. It’s also seen a modern resurgence and if you like the style, it’s very possible to find cloches for sale in boutiques and online.

Cloche vintage hats

The Pillbox

The pillbox hat was made famous by First Lady Jackie Kennedy. Her hats were designed by Oleg Cassini who was her exclusive couturier during her time as First Lady. Considered “the” hat of the 1960s, pillboxes are small, round, brimless hats with a flat crown that perches on the head. Want to add a pillbox to your wardrobe, here is lovely cobalt and navy version.

The Jackie Kennedy pillbox look, 1961.

Jackie Kennedy Pillbox vintage hat 1963


Another style that has made a comeback in recent years is the fascinator. While technically a headpiece as opposed to a hat, fascinators were traditionally still the purview of the milliner. It’s unclear where the term originated, but what is know is that the original fascinators were bits of lace that were worn on the head a head-shawl. By the 1920s, the term had come to describe a more elaborate and definitely a more feathery head decoration.

Ladies wearing fascinators at the 1920s.

vintage hats


Wide-brimmed hats aren’t a specific type of hat but represent a collection of styles. They are, obviously, those styles that feature a wide-brim and can range from casual (think floppy sunhats) to more formal styles.

vintage wide brim hats for ladies

Don’t neglect your vintage makeup look too.