Hats Worn in Tudor Times: 5 Intriguing Facts

In the Tudor times, hats were worn for many of the common reasons why they have been worn throughout history. This could be for protection from the elements such as the sun or wind, warmth in the winter, or coolness in the summer, and to keep hair neat. However, during this time period, hats could be worn to demonstrate the respectability of a woman or for decoration. The Tudor period lasted from 1485 to 1603. 

Here are 5 intriguing facts about the hats worn in Tudor times:

  1. The coif was a popular choice. 
  2. Men were required to wear a hat. 
  3. Feathers were a popular choice to adorn a hat with. 
  4. Women had many different hats to choose from.
  5. Men’s hats featured an upturned brim. 

The hats within the Tudor era could be used to show an individual’s social standing or wealth. Sometimes, these displays of wealth could be over the top. Below are the explained versions of the 5 intriguing facts of the Tudor hat era. 

1: The coif was a popular choice. 

Commonly referred to as the “biggin”, the coif was a close-fitting cap of white linen. This cap was tied under the chin with strings and covered the ears. It could be embroidered with colorful silks. Coif is derived from the Old French word coife which means headdress. This popular choice can be viewed in many paintings from the era and was worn by both men and women alike. 

335 Schwäbischer Bund Leonhard von Eck

2: Men were required to wear a hat. 

The Elizabethan period required all men to wear a hat on Sundays. The way that they decorated their hats could be used to demonstrate their status. This made hats a very important part of everyday fashion. 

In 1571, everyone over the age of six was required by law to wear a woolen cap every Sunday as away to support the wool industry. However, only the poor were expected to obey this as wool was viewed as a poor man’s material. Read more about the history of woolen caps here.

3:  Feathers were a popular choice to adorn a hat with. 

The feather could be put on a hat to make a social statement. Larger and more colorful feathers were usually chosen by the nobility. 

4:  Women had many different hats to choose from. 

Women’s hats generally took on a hooded shape. The Atifet was a heart-shaped crescent hood that can be seen worn by Mary Queen of Scots. The Caul was the equivalent of a hair net. The French hood was a hat with a crescent-shaped brim facing away from the face. This was worn by Anne Boleyn. 

Mary Queen of Scots
Mary Queen of Scots
Anne Boleyn
Anne Boleyn

5: Men’s hats featured an upturned brim. 

The brim of men’s hats in the Tudor time was often upturned and fastened upward with a brooch or pin. King Henry VIII was painted wearing a hat of this nature. Men’s hats could be made of velvet, wool, silk, or taffeta. Taffeta is a finer silk material with a crisper texture. Bilaments, which were jeweled bands could also be used to decorate the hat as well as many other different ornaments. 

Henry VIII
Henry VIII

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