Hats & hairstyles of the early 1900s

Written by emily pate
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Hats & hairstyles of the early 1900s
Feathers adorned hats and turbans during the early 1900s. (Hemera Technologies/AbleStock.com/Getty Images)

When Queen Victoria died in 1901, society was being thrust forward in Europe and the states. The industrial revolution sped up production and communication, and the suffragette movement signalled a shift in women's roles to the "New Woman," a young, independent female. Fashion during the early part of the century followed suit, moving from very restrictive clothing to more practical and comfortable styles for women. Hat fashions and hairstyles followed suit.

Edwardian Hair Styles

Women used curling tongs to curl locks into waves and curls to pile atop the head. The first permanents were introduced during this era, and women would have to wait 10 to 12 hours for it to process. Styles had a wide silhouette to support the equally wide hats during the Edwardian era. Hair was piled on top of the head, and fringe were waved or curled around the face. In 1911, influence from Mediterranean and near East styles reached the states, and Grecian style gained popularity. Hair was pulled to the back of the head

Hat Support

Women used a natural hair product called transformation as a hair support to add volume and padding. A woman placed the transformation, or pompadour frame, on her head, and smoothed her hair over the base. The Marie Stuart frame allowed a woman to create a heart-shaped do in Elizabethan style. Hair roll supports allowed women to create large sausage curls around the head, and false switches, plaits and frizzettes provided extra hair with curls and small waves to fill in gaps in a hairstyle. Women decorated their styles with feathers, a hat or a bandeaux, a swath of cloth often embellished with jewels and matched with combs.

Early Edwardian Hats

Early Edwardian haberdashery still had heavy influence from art nouveau, the previous style. Hats swirled around the face and appeared as if they were suspended above the head. Hats were often wrapped in tulle, ribbons, rosettes and feathers. Lace veils also became part of the style after 1903. Hat brims became less wide after 1904 and in 1907, the Merry Widow picture hat was introduced, which was a black wide-brimmed hat covered in chiffon, organdie and feathers. Women also wore lingerie hats made from lace or muslin. They were typically white to show social status, since servants were needed to constantly launder whites.

Hats 1907 to 1914

Designer Poiret introduced the turban in 1907. Evening turbans were common by 1910, usually bedecked with a large jewel or brooch in the centre-front and plumage on top. While women still wore wide picture hats for formal occasions, smaller hats caught on. The toque hat had spiky plumes and a fan silhouette created with ostrich feathers. Mephisto feathers adorned these hats in 1913 as two long, narrow plumes influenced by military clothing. Military influence continued during and after the war, when widows added black veiling to hats, and tricornes and postilion hats became the fashion.

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