The cloche hat was created in the early years of the twentieth century, and although there is some discrepancy as to who invented the first, French milliners Caroline Reboux and Lucy Hamar both started creating the earliest cloches during this time. With the expanded use of the automobile, large hats that were currently in vogue at this time fell out of favour. The cloche with its sleek, fitted design became the new trend. The height of its popularity was from 1922-1933.
The hats even influenced hairstyles of the day, with the Crop and the Bob, both short styles that showcased the new bell-shaped cloche.
Early cloches were generally made of felt and worn low on the forehead, just above the brow. In the late 20s it became fashionable to wear the cloche with the brim turned up.
In Pauline Thomas’ book “Hats and Hair Fashions” (March 2004), she states that different styles of ribbon were used on the hats, each with their own message about the wearer. An arrow-like ribbon indicated a girl was single but had already given her heart to someone, a knot signaled the wearer was married and a flamboyant bow signaled the wearer was single and interested in mingling.
The cloche is often referred to as a Flapper hat or Gatsby Hat. Flappers were a group of young women that flaunted their disdain for what was then considered acceptable behaviour with their fashions, hairstyles and choice of music. The Great Gatsby is the 1925 novel written by F. Scott Fitzgerald that is set in the jazz age.
If you’re a fan of period dramas, chances are you’re familiar with this fashion icon of the 1920’s, the Cloche. With the popularity of Downton Abbey and Boardwalk Empire in 2010, followed by Peaky Blinders in 2013, the fashions, jewellery and hats of the 1920s piqued our interest—and it certainly did mine. I fell in love with the classic bell shape silhouette of the hat and the beautiful detailing on them.
They were the perfect fit for my business, and I drafted a pattern with some modifications, from an antique pattern I had found online. The sizing needed to be updated along with the depth of the hat, which was deeper than would be suitable for today’s wearer. I decided to use velvet for my first collection and bought several dark coloured shades to get started.
These vintage style hats have become my bestsellers and I absolutely love creating them. Decorating these 1920s style hats is my favourite part of the process.
November 26’th is Small Business Saturday in both Canada and the U.S., and supporting small businesses is more important than ever. With the pandemic in 2020, many small businesses have turned to online sales as a means of survival. In Canada, a third of small businesses have started offering online sales and that