"From simple barbettes worn in Anglo-Saxon times to the pillbox hat popularized by Jackie Kennedy in the mid-twentieth century, hats and headdresses have – for centuries – played an important part of a lady's wardrobe."
This week's book is a true record of more than 1300 years of ever changing fashion in women's hairstyles and headwear in England.
I must admit from the very beginning that it was a rather tricky read, due to its abundance of details and specific terms. A fashion history student should most definately read it, but not sure about someone who just enjoys fashion.
Do you have the habit of reading every little side note at a museum exhibition. If yes, you will love it. If not, a headache might be settling in after just a douzin pages.
Or maybe it is best to start slow and read a couple general fashion history books beforehand. Which takes me to the three books which I will review next. But before that, here are a couple fun facts found in this read:
- During the Plantagenet times, around the 13th century, it was decreed that no woman below a certain rank should go out in a furred hood. This regulation was made because lower class women were trying to imitate the wealthy, using cheaper fur or only trimming the hoods and capes, fooling one's eye.
- "In 1355, at the request of the citizens of London, a statute was introduced by Parliament which ordained that no known prostitutes should wear hoods. [...] The purpose of this law was not to curb extravagance but to protect the morals of the community by enabling everyone to distinguish prostitutes from respectable women."
- Also, in the 15th century another ordinance regarding hoods appeared, which specified the varying in length of the hoods, according to the rank of the wearer, the Queen having the longest.
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- During the Victorian period, more exactly the 19th century, "The importance of suitable headwear for any woman who wished to appear a "lady" was shown by the fact that material for three bonnets and a hat with trimmings were together the second most expensive item in the yearly budget."
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- In the late twentieth century, "The Princess of Wales attracted a great deal of attention as a leader of fashion. [...] Her small hats were much copied by the trade. A chain of department stores claimed to have sold 18.000 of their version of the little tricorne she wore when going away on her honeymoon."
Until next time and do not forget: whichever style of hat you enjoy, wear it as your very own crown!