The Cocktail: More Formal than Beret Hat

Some obvious characteristics of the cocktail hats are as follows:

Brimless hat

Decorated with feathers, flowers and bows

Made of Straw, fabric or felt

Usually perched on one side of heads

In the 1930s, cocktail hats were not matched with ensembles in daytime, except for some formal events like art openings, cocktail parties, tea dances, etc. Firstly, it because daytime clothes didn’t work with a cocktail dress. After Hollywood costume designers’ promotion, cocktail dresses paired with cocktail hats in some movies became sensation in fashion, and many women began to follow suit. In the 1950s, cocktail hats reached its peak in popularity.

In the beginning, cocktail hats were usually pined on the top or the side of head. They were also decorated with a veil. Although cocktail hats are smaller than daytime hats, they still take the shape of real hats. Such hats could be pinned on the top of heads by traditional hatpin, featuring a base below luxurious and extravagant ornaments. At present, form and size of cocktail hats are still same with previous hats, but they could appear in many occasions, not just the late afternoon.

Cocktail hats are similar to fascinators extremely. The only difference lies in visible base of cocktail hats while fascinators feature no visible one.

Empress Michiko also top Cocktail hats in many occasions. In addition, some other celebrities also worn to present at various events, including Duchess of Cambridge, the Countess of Wessex, Zara Phillips Tindall and Princess Beatrice of York.

The Fascinators

Some histories of fascinators will be extended in following paragraphs. In general, fascinators will be fixed on top of heads by an alice-band-type base, headband or a small comb. When such headpieces became popular, fascinators were taken as their name from the 1990s. It is estimated that the reason for their popularity lie in convenience and striking look. In other words, one could wear such extravagant hats while keeping hairstyles perfectly.

The most important purpose of fascinators is hair decoration, matching with well-groomed hairstyle. As we all know, the current fascinator is adopted in London millinery trade in the late 1970s and 80s. Before taking fascinators as the name of this kind of hats, the word refered to a lacy headcovering, which is similar to a smaller and lighter shawl.

Throughout every civilization in the world, there is no expection that women will decorate their hair. Native ancient Americans use feathers; Aztecs, coloured cloth; Ancient Egyptians, wigs with gold; ancient Greece and Rome, fresh flowers or jewels. In Africa, women will decorate hair with bone pins and leaves.

In the late 13th century, a very popular hairstyle was the “ramshorn”, coiling hair around ears. All hairs were parted into two parts from middle. To a certain extent, only nobility could access to the hairstyle, because of elaborate decoration and related restricted laws. It’s only the privilege of wealthy people. In addition, only wealthy people could afford to those expensive jewels and clothes. In the 15th century, hats, hoods and other headgears were worn regularly.

The Calot: Similar to Beret Hat

After knowing something about boaters and bowlers, we look at the Calots now. The Calot means “cap” in French. When it comes the Calot, many will hark

back popular hats in the 16th century — “Juliet caps”.

juliet cap

Five centuries ago, Juliet caps were usually decorated with some luxurious pearls, beads and jewels.  In the 1920s and the 1970s, the Calot hat became popular. Such style is de rigueur with Bohemian brides. In most occasions, Calots were worn with gowns and wedding dresses. Sometimes, royal members will also wear it at daytime. The closely-fitting Calots feature no visor or brim. What following rounded crown is the contour of wear’s head. The chic Princess Grace of Monaco wear Calots in some occasions. 

The calots

The calots is suitable to hiking or some events, in which faces should be visible clearly. There are also some variants, which fall flat slightly. To a certain extent, the calots are similar to berets, but more formal than them.

Besides, casque hats are also could be seen in some events. Some may doubt about the hat of Crown Princess Mary.

Some detailed introduction of casque hats are as follows:

casque hat
casque hat

Close fitting cap

Rounded frame

No visor or brim

Trimmed with feathers and leaves

The casques


In the 15th and 16th centuries, male royals worn decorated “casques” for protection in battle. When the calots create a sensation in fashion, a new variation arose, wrapping around the head to frame wearer’s face rather than perched on the back of wearers’ head. Though it similar to a feminine helmet to a certain extent, it is renowned as the casques. In the 1950s, Princess worn the hat in an event. But I do not like the casques, because there are almost no occasions where I could wear them. It is not easy to wear a close fitting hat just like wearing a helmet.

In addition to not knowing how to match it with daily clothes, it is a big problem to care, store and wash. It seems that storage of the casques need enough space and energy. Otherwise, feathers, leaves and other ornaments on hats will be ruined greatly. Hats could not be wear any more if things go in this way.

The Cloches

From the 1920s to the 1930s, cloche hats created by Caroline Reboux became popular. The origin of cloche hats was derived from a French word “cloche”, which means “bell” in French. In the 1950s, cloches’ comeback in the spotlights should be owed to a popular TV show “Downtown Abbey”. In the late 1920s and 1930s, mother of Queen Elizabeth worn many such cloche hats. Half a century later, Queen Elizabeth also worn many cloche hats in many occasions.

Though such hats are relatively simple, they are difficult to match with ensembles. In other words, not everyone looks good in such hats. It’s the possible reason for rare appearances in life. Many perhaps try to find the most suitable hats, adding more glamour to daily looks.

Beret Hat or the Boater

The boater is a kind of summer hat worn by men and women in the late 19th century and the early 20th century. To a certain extent, such hats are more formal than  beret-hat-uk. In general, the boater is woven with stiff sennit straw, featuring flat crown and brim. Sometimes, typical solid or stripped ribbon is used to adorn boaters. Due to popularity in boating and sailing in summer, hence such hats are named as boaters.


In the pre-war years, many agents of FBI often wear boaters as an unofficial uniform. Women also wear boaters with hatpins, so that hat could be kept in place. At present, boaters almost could not be found at sailing or rowing events, theatrical and musical performances, or an accessory of old-fashioned uniforms. From 1952, straw boaters were taken as a part of the uniform, matching the Princeton University Band. Besides, boaters are usual garb of traditional barbershop quartets. In recent years, soft and thin straw hats with the approximate shape of boaters have got popular among women.

Similar to formality of Homburg, so they are worn with blazers or with lounge suit. When it comes to boaters, people may remind Jacob Astor IV.  Celebrities like Harold Lloyd and Maurice Chevalier, and engineer Stefano Zacchè from Italy were renowned for their boater hats.

Around the same time, a similar hat in Voctorian era is renowned as sailor, becoming popular among women and children. Counterpart of male boaters — The Sailors feature larger tirm than previous hats. In general, a dark hatband extended to the back to hats. Besides, Women’s sailor hats are often adorned with some flowers around the base of crown, too.

Differences Between Boaters and Sailors

Both of them feature totally flat crown and brim. Boater hats are woven with stiff straw and trimmed with a hatband in tradition. In addition, modest trims are also one obvious characteristic of boaters. In history, sailor hats own wider brims than boaters, and varied in materials. But in recent days, main milliners called such hats as “Boaters” uniformly rather than tell differences between them. Main characteristics of boaters are as follows: round crown and brim.

The Bowler

The bowler, also renowned as a bob hat, derby, billycock or bom

bowler hat
bowler hat

bin, were created for the Edward and William Coke. For the sake of not applicable top hats in work, the Coke brothers would like replace top hats with more practical hats. The durable and strong new hat became popular in working class. Subsequently, they also created a sensation in the middle and upper classes for many years. Although such hat shape is used to headpieces of ladies, bowlers are still worn by royal male members. In May of each year, male British royal male members wear bowlers hats for the Cavalry Old Comrades Association Annual Parade in Hyde Park.

But nowadays, classic bowlers are not popular for royals in recent years. You may perceive that many royal hats have been adjusted slightly in design, especially brims, to meet demands of different occasions.