M968.39.4 | Hat
About 1915, 20th century
Gift of Miss L. Morton
© McCord Museum
Keywords: Hat (75)
Keys to History
The hat was an essential part of a woman's costume from the 18th century. More than any other accessory, her hat is an expression of a woman's personality and mood.
The size and shape of women's hats changed from season to season, but one factor remained constant - no properly dressed woman went outdoors without one. The hat was a symbol of respectability, but it also gave a woman the opportunity to demonstrate her sense of style. She would get the latest fashion information at a milliner's shop, the source of all the latest styles in a particular season. And when old hats had to be remodelled to serve another year, ribbons and trimmings were found at the milliner's shop.
In spite of its elaborate trim, this hat is quite tailored in shape, suggesting the military look, an important influence on women's fashion during the First World War (1914-1918).
This spring hat is made of green straw and is trimmed with green velvet, ribbon silk, tulle veiling and pink silk roses.
Social events such as afternoon teas and church services, where the wearing of hats was obligatory, would provide occasions to wear this pretty confection.
Hats were always the introduction to a new season's fashions, and stores advertised their "Millinery Openings" as special events.
The creator of this hat had an artistic eye: Colour is used with a sure hand and the rough texture of straw is contrasted with soft, silk velvet.