Women's hats in the 1700s

Updated April 17, 2017

Women wore a variety of hats in the 18th century. Hats evolved throughout the 1700s, ranging from bonnets to caps. The type of hat a woman wore often depended on her social status. Hats replaced the coiffed, more outrageous hairstyles of the 17th century.


Straw hats were frequently worn in the mid-1700s and became immensely popular in the late 1700s. Women wore straw hats outside to shield themselves from the sun. The hats often had a flat brim and a ribbon. Straw hats were usually worn by women in the country and on farms, but they became more popular among city women in the 1700s. Hats were occasionally worn over caps.


Women of all social classes wore caps. Short of events requiring formal dress, caps were worn by 18th century women on a regular basis. Caps were generally white and made from linen. They were worn to promote cleanliness while being fashionable.


The caleche bonnet became popular in the 1760s and remained popular through the early 1800s due to an influx in larger hairstyles and wigs. The word caleche is derived from the French word for carriage. The caleche bonnet shares visual characteristics with the top of a carriage. Caleche bonnets are usually made of silk, tie under the chin and are collapsible.

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About the Author

Laura Evans has been writing professionally since 2005, with articles published on Student Health 101. She has written press releases and promotional materials for Samsung Mobile, KindCrone Productions and Halliburton Communications. Evans received a Bachelor of Journalism and a Master of Arts in journalism from the University of Missouri.