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The Hat Collector

I own a lot of hats. I own so many I have to use an app to keep track of where they all are, and even then I often don’t have time in the mornings to retrieve one to wear. Those mornings I am sad as I walk to work with a naked head. What a pity hats for everyday wear are largely out of fashion still – they are such fun accessories to play with, whether they are frivolous or practical.

The half-hat, or bandeau, is one of my favourite shapes to wear. Similar to a headband, it is easy to wear with many hairstyles. Here is a small collection of largely frivolous hats – all but two are from the 1950s. The black satin trimmed with a rust ostrich feather, which is an evening headband, and the pink feather bandeau are both vintage 1940s pieces.

I do most of my hat shopping online, as unique (and affordable) vintage hats are more and more difficult to come by in Melbourne. These were all bought online from various sellers on eBay and Etsy.


Beaded with black and white seed beads, and trimmed with two red velvet bows, the first (above) is made from artificial straw, or cello.


This little bandeau is made from two crescents that cross at the ends, hugging the head. The white feathers are delicately curled.


I am infallibly attracted to pleating. This French blue headband is made from two pieces of grosgrain ribbon, that have been pleated and then interwoven, and is additionally trimmed with a little bow on the top.


The Forties are possibly my favourite period for hats. As they were not rationed during the war, hat designs proliferated and milliners were only limited by their imagination. I particularly love the wool-felt hats of this era, and own quite a few. This glamorous bandeau is made for eveningwear, from gathered black satin and draped with an ostrich feather. The brick red is such a sophisticated colour.


A sweet little Renaissance-inspired bandeau of stiffened and wired lace, this formal Fifties headpiece sits upright on the head. Originally a bridal cap, it would have been worn with a veil attached.


I am not an expert on plumage, but I believe this 1940s headband is made from pheasant feathers, dyed in two shades of pink – magenta and ballerina pink. This type of bandeau was extremely popular in the 40s and 50s, and is still relatively easy to find today. The bandeau curls into a little ball when it is not on the head, and came with its original box. 

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