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Cloche Hats – Essential Facts

By Taylor James


Updated on

Cloche hats are bell-shaped, fitted hats designed for women and were once a fashion icon that hit peak popularity in the 1920s. Let’s take a look at some interesting facts about them.

Women wearing purple cloche hat
@Tereza via Twenty20

The Hat Was Popular in the 1920s

This unique hat was most popular during the 1920s. The hat has a deep crown that hugs the head, a soft curved edge, and no brim. 

The elegant hat became an icon of the ’20s. Women would not leave the house without one and often wore the hat so low that they had to keep their chin up to see. Not only was the hat in style, but it was also a symbol of independence and sophistication.

 Discover more interesting facts about hats in the 1920s here.

Check out this very popular modern take on the classic cloche on Amazon.

The Hat Influenced Hairstyles

The cloche hat was so popular in the 1920s that it even influenced the kind of haircuts women wore. There were two haircuts the cloche influenced: flapper bobs and the Eton crop. These hairstyles placed emphasis on the shape of the head and were quite radical for their time.

The styles were very short, not even touching the chin. Only a few inches of hair stuck out underneath the hat, which displayed the hat’s shape beautifully. 

Read tips about how to wear a cloche hat in this article.

The Cloche Was Customizable

Designers started to embellish the hat for all sorts of occasions; weddings, parties, and any important social gathering.

Brooches, feathers, and beads were popular embellishments and added elegance to the hat. Milliners also added silk and lace to match a sophisticated evening gown.

The Kind of Embellishments on the Hat Could Symbolize Your Relationship Status

Many people put their relationship status on social media in today’s age. Women in the 20s also had ways to show their relationship status. 

If a woman was single and was open to relationships, she could wear a big bow on the hat. However, married women would often wear a tight knot to signify their relationship. Lastly, women who were technically single but had their hearts taken wore an arrow-shaped ribbon. 

Magazines in the Day Would Advise Women on How To Wear It

Much like how we have cosmopolitan to turn to, the women of the 1920s could also rely on the daily gazette to receive fashion advice. Magazines would tell women what style of hat to wear to cover certain flaws. Here are a few pieces of advice from The Complete Dressmaker, published in 1917:

  • Women who have round and full faces at the lower half should wear a hat that focuses on the top of their head.
  • Women who have narrow faces with large foreheads should wear a hat covering the forehead and come down low.
  • When you wear fluffy, voluminous hair, wear a hat turned away from the head.

The TV Series Downton Abbey Sparked Renewed Interest in the Hat

The creative department put meticulous detail into creating the hats in the series. The hats were made specifically for the characters and were handmade for authenticity. This attention to detail certainly paid off. The characters and cloche hats in the series brought the 1920s back to life.

Final Thoughts

The cloche hat has a fascinating history and was a major fashion icon at one point. Its peak popularity was in the 1920s. It was rare that women would leave the house without a cloche hat and often had multiple hats in their closets designed for different occasions. 

About Taylor James

As Philip Treacy once said, “How a hat makes you feel is what a hat is all about.” And on that note, I hope you enjoy your hats and find the site useful. Learn more about Hat Realm's Editorial Process.