Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Straw Style

In 1798, twelve-year-old Betsey Metcalf plaited strands of straw into braids and fashioned them into a bonnet lined with pink satin, creating the first straw hat.

Split Straw Bonnet, circa 1810

circa 1820

 Leghorn Straw Poke Bonnet, circa 1850-1820

Once the needle in the haystack was found, every last straw was used to make hats.  Fourteen thousand people in England alone made their living from the straw hat industry.  Round, sailor, and soft felt-like shapes were popular.

 circa 1840-1850

Kate Winslet as Marianne Dashwood in Sense & Sensibility

Like other "rustic" eighteenth century fashions, people who wore straw hats - and shoes and even bands of straw decorations on their silk dresses - were neither countryfolk nor poor.

 The Crawley sisters of Downtown Abbey

By 1846,when Zachary Taylor led an army of men into the throes of the war with Mexico, he didn't dream of wearing anything else.  He donned a hickory shirt and a straw hat.

Zachary Taylor

 circa 1905

The bell-shaped Cloche hat was developed in 1908 by iconic French designer Caroline Rebous.

Cloche Flapper Straw Hat, mid 1920s

It became wildly popular with the young flapper girls of the 1920's, because it allowed women to tuck their hair up into the hat to give the appearance of having short hair. 

Source: Let There Be Clothes by Lynn Schnurnberger


  1. Oooo I loved reading this post!! I'd never really considered straw hats before, but they are quite beautiful.

    Thank you for sharing!! =)

  2. Natalie - I agree. And the lovely silk ribbons are like the icing on the cake.

  3. i love straw hats!! the one with the blue ribbon is especially gorgeous!

  4. Carrie - Yes! I wish hats like these were still popular. They're so pretty.