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Image courtesy of Schiffer Publishing.

Image courtesy of Schiffer Publishing.

We ladies love our hats. Well, at least some of us in the 21st century do. But in times past most women enjoyed sporting a handsome hat and even if they didn’t, the proper chapeau was an essential element to a well-conceived ensemble. Everyone wore a hat, ladies and gentlemen alike.

For modern-day hat gals, Schiffer Publishing has just come out with Decades of Hats, 1900s to the 1970s, by Sue Nightingale. A handy reference book, Decades of Hats opens with an introduction by Ms. Nightingale, an avid vintage clothing collector, offering a brief overview of women’s hat history – trends over the decades and what societal events influenced the trends. That’s most of the text, the bulk of the book is reprinted illustrations of hats with descriptions from catalogues and magazine ads.

A serious hat enthusiast could spend quite some time on each page poring over illustrations of bonnets, cloches, caps and pills. Something interesting that I noticed was that the beret hit the scene in the 1920s and shows up in every decade after (the beret is a mainstay for me). Decades of Hats is also a useful guide for costumers and folks who like to dress up for period events. Flip to the right chapter and discover numerable examples of what was worn when. Milliners and designers will find great inspiration from studying the illustrations, and fashion history buffs would reach for this book repeatedly.

Decades of Hats, 1900s to the 1970s by Sue Nightingale is a welcome addition to any fashionable’s collection.

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