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.