Wednesday, June 11, 2008

The Cloche Hat - Through the Years

From Fairchild's Dictionary of Fashion:

Cloche (klohsh) Deep-crowned hat with very narrow brim or brimless, fitting head closely, almost concealing all of the hair. Worn pulled down almost to eyebrows.

The cloche hat first became popular in the 1920's. Although cloches are most often linked with flappers, they actually started appearing in high fashion as early as 1917. Coco Chanel started her career as a milliner and is said to have invented the cloche style in the teens, although that distinction has also been given to milliners Reboux and Lucie Hamar. Cloches complimented the bobbed hairstyles of the 20's.

During the 1950's, cloches again made a brief appearance as cocktail hats. Most often made of satin with sparkling decorations, they also fit closely to the head and were soft in construction.

Cloches made another appearance in the late 1960's and early 70's, although they now most often had a small brim.

How do you tell if the cloche you're looking at is from the 20's or 60's? Almost all cloches from the 20's will be fully lined in lightweight silk.

Later hats will have no lining and an inner hatband of grosgrain ribbon.

If you see a cloche hat advertised as 1920's or flapper and it isn't lined or has an inner grosgrain hatband, be careful! You could be buying a 60's hat!