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Cloche Encounters – Radical Fashion Statement of the 1920’s


It’s the roaring 20’s, the Jazz Age. The world is going through a momentous change. WW1 has just ended, the middle class is on the rise and women are beginning to assert a new found independence. Fashion gets swept along with all this change and starts going through a revolution of its own. The old Victorian and Edwardian fashions just do not work in this new world. Looser and freer styles which present new choices come into being.

Straight dropped waist dresses featuring rising hemlines, bold colors, and rich fabrics are enthusiastically embraced by the new woman and not only did 1920s fashions look totally different the young women wearing them felt and acted differently.

Amidst all this change a new type of hat was created which would become the iconic head covering for the entire decade. This particular hat was called the Cloche. Cloche means bell in French and indeed the basic shape of the cloche is that of a bell. Eventually, the term “Cloche” came to designate all of the streamlined, tight-fitting hats that were created in the 1920s.

Worn low and straight on the forehead, nearly obscuring the eyebrows, the cloche accentuated the streamlined silhouette of the flapper era.

While the cloche hat never really went totally out of style it had a strong resurgence in the 1960’s. Many hats from that time were blatant copies of their earlier cousins from the 1920’s, albeit using newer fabrics and updated construction techniques. If one is seriously interested in purchasing an authentic 1920’s cloche some home work on fabric and construction techniques are in order since many sellers use the term “cloche” or “flapper style” to describe a whole host of bell hats from many different periods.

Here are some examples of authentic 1920’s cloche hats ——

Straw Cloche - 1920's

From the Slapmefabulous collection

1920's Felt Cloche

Available at svintage

1920's Straw Cloche

Can be found at marvita13

There aren’t many nice 20’s cloches to be found online but fell free to comment about these few classics I’ve managed to find.

As an added treat check out this video.

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Men’s Hats – Revived Fashion Statement

Straw Hat

Men’s hats have been around since pre history although it wasn’t until the 19th century that most modern hat forms originated. The top hat and bowler tended to represent the authority of the aristocracy while the softer informal felt and straw hats  were usually associated with artists, intellectuals and country folk. Most of these hats exist to his day. During our recent modern history the hat seems to have been retired as a fashion accessory but more recently they seem to be coming back. More and more gentlemen are discovering the value of this wonderful accessory and the sense of style it can convey.

I’ll be listing two hats tomorrow on my Etsy site. The first is a collapsible top hat, probably originally worn for a formal event. The second is a straw boater or skimmer, some 75 to 80 years old, just perfect for a summer outing.

Click on image to enlarge.

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The Little Black Cocktail Hat

black Hat

We all know that fashion changes and almost nothing more so than the fashion of hats. Those charming and sometimes absurd creations we balance on the top of our well coiffed heads. From Victorian times up until the mid 20th century hats were a must. No self respecting fashion plate would be seen without one.

Modern hats went from being the overdone floral, feathered and ribboned concoctions of the Victorian and Edwardian era to the more spare, sculptural and minimal of the mid 20th century.

In this post I’d like to focus on the more spare and sculptural hats of the 1940’s, 50’s and 60’s. Cocktail hats to be more specific. I’ve always enjoyed the classic black cocktail hat of that period. Many of these are like little sculptures, titled, bent, tortured works of satin, felt, raffia or straw.

It’s not too late in the party season to don a neat cocktail hat for an evening out.

Check out these sweet hats I’ve selected that are currently available from various Etsy dealers.

I hope you enjoy… let me know what you think!

Vintage 1940s Deco Womens Black Cocktail Hat

Vintage 1940s Deco Womens Black Cocktail Hat from marvita13

Vintage 1950s Mr. Arnold Womens Black Pill Box Cocktail Hat

Vintage 1950s Mr. Arnold Womens Black Pill Box Cocktail Hat from marvita13



Mysterious Lady 30s 40s Black Ostrich Feather Hat Evelynvaron

Mysterious Lady 30s 40s Black Ostrich Feather Hat Evelynvaron from tammym1972

 crazy little 1950s atomic era hat by Shorlon

crazy little 1950s atomic era hat by Shorlon from Tottie Vintage

Black and Purple Straw Accordian Hat
Okay, it's not completely black and I am not certain of its age... but is definitely deserving of a Slap Me Fabulous special mention!

Black and Purple Straw Accordion Hat from Sana Chante