The 1960s was a tumultuous period in American history. A new war raged in a faraway jungle. Social mores began to change, as did what was considered fashionable. In 1960, formal dress was the style. Men and women rarely left home without every hair in place, along with a hat. By 1968, a younger generation was setting style trends that were much more informal.
The Cloche Hat
The cloche hat originated in the late 1800s and was popular again in the 1920s. Shaped like a bell with a short brim, it was often made of wool or felt and was not considered a fashion statement as much as a way to protect the head in the winter. It was revived in the early 1960s by Halston, a clothing designer who made it part of his fall and winter line.
The Pillbox Hat
First Lady Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy almost single-handedly made the pillbox hat a household world. The pillbox had already been designed and was being worn in the early 1960s but had failed to reach trend status. When the First Lady donned the pillbox, it became a must-have for women far and wide who wanted to emulate her style. It became the most popular hat of the early to mid-1960s, becoming at times more important than the outfit itself. Women found themselves purchasing a hat and then having to find an outfit to go with it. The pillbox is still popular today with women who collect vintage clothing.
A babushka was not really a hat in the conventional sense. It was a long scarf that was wrapped and tied around the head. "Babushka" is the Russian word for "elderly grandmother," though it was not only elderly grandmothers that chose to wear babushkas in the '60s. It is also a name for the little stacking dolls that people find in Russia and nearby countries. The babushka was usually a triangle shape with short fringe. The wearer wrapped it around her head and then either tied the ends under her chin or wrapped them around her neck like a scarf.
The Knitted Skull Cap
Entertainers like Mia Farrow and Twiggy made this hat from the flapper age popular again. It resembled a large beanie that was heavy around the sides but was made feminine by adding a single silk flower where one ear would be. It was usually made from knit fabric, but sometimes satin or velvet. The skullcap was another hat that was revived by the designer Halston.
The beret was one way young people asserted their individuality. "Beatniks" of the late '50s adopted it, and its popularity continued into the '60s. The beret originated in France and was made of wool or felt with a stem at the top of the hat. It was depicted in many movies as a type of hippie hat, though it was simply a French accessory that became popular in the United States.
The Newsboy Cap
The newsboy was the name of the leather, usually multicoloured, hat with a bill worn by women in the late '60s. It went along with spiky lashes, stark make-up, short hair and white lipstick. Goldie Hawn often wore a newsboy when she appeared on the '60s comedy show "Laugh-In." The newsboy was a take-off on the men's newsboy cap.
The Floppy, Wide-Brimmed Hat
Near the end of the '60s, young women who believed in "free love" and peace made the floppy hat popular. Made of fabrics from leather to straw to lace, the wide-brimmed hat accompanied flowing skirts and halter tops. Pretty, elegant versions of the hat were worn by some brides in the '70s.