The Cloche Hat – The design, the colors and how to wear
Cloche Hat design and material
The standout feature of women’s millinery in the 1920s was to frame the face, often hide it, either with narrow or wide brims. Angelina Jolie remarked on how wearing the cloche hats in the movie The Changeling, was good for ‘ helping me to collect myself’ as she felt secure and in her own little world. An interesting observation on what period fashion does for your demeanor. By the mid to late 1920’s the cloche hat had taken everyday working women by storm, with felt fabric being the predominant material used because of its ease of cutting, as many women designed and made their own hats from patterns supplied by the Women’s Institute.
Straw hats made from Milan hemp were much in demand, and of course fleece and wool. Summer hats on occasion were wide brim affairs worn with formal frocks at evening dances etc, but the prevailing fashion was for small, high in the crown and narrow brimmed. Hat trimmings were always colorful with gardenias, water lilies and artichoke bows, as can be seen in this popular archive film from 1928 hosted on the Glamourdaze YouTube channel.
Cloche Hats – Original Millinery book.
Below are some charming reference illustrations and photos from Jane Loewen’s 1925 book Millinery.
1920’s Cloche Hat Fashion – Matching a hat to your face.
Better known as Line harmony, in the old days of millinery shops, women didn’t walk out without a hat that exactly matched their own unique face shape.
When you purchased a hat in the 1920’s, there were three objectives;
1. Greater beauty for the individual
2.Beauty of line in the hat.
3.Conformity with fashion dictates – i.e be trendy
How to wear a Cloche style hat
This is a reference to an article published by Old Magazine Articles from a 1925 issue of The Delineator.
‘ In choosing a suitable hat, make sure the head size is correct. It must be large enough to pull right down over the head, but it must not stand away from it. Consider your height and the shape and length of your face in relation to the shape and height of the crown and the position of the trimming.’
A 1920’s Cloche Hat Color Chart
Pottery colors were a big inspiration like soft green-blue; black and oyster white; Quaker greys, and cocoa brown. For a summer flavor, light blues, greens and pinks. A desirable color is one that evokes the health of youth, so keep it vibrant ! We found the following color charts in the 1925 book Millinery by Jane Loewen. It’s a real gem for reference.