Coco Chanel said, “Fashion is not something that exists in dresses only.” This iconic doyenne of style knew that fashion encompasses the whole woman, from head to toe. Fashion goes beyond clothes to include accessories, makeup and the whole package. You may also be familiar with Chanel’s take on accessories: “Before you leave the house, look in the mirror and remove one accessory.” Coco Chanel would agree, however, that the accessory you remove should never be your stylish cloche hat.
A Fashionable History
The cloche hat, or, colloquially, cloche, was invented in 1908 by French fashion designer Caroline Reboux. The name “cloche” comes from the French word for bell, describing the fitted shape of the hat. Cloche hats gained popularity in the early 20th century, even going so far as to influence hairstyles. The close-cut Eton crop haircut gained popularity at the same time as the cloche hat.
In its heyday, the cloche hat sat on the heads of the most stylish women in the world. Styles ranged from simple felt hats with a contrasting ribbon band, to heavily beaded and adorned evening cloches. Actresses of the silent film era wore cloche hats ubiquitously. The image of a glowing face surrounded by wispy curls escaping a perfectly-fitted felt hat appeared everywhere in film promotions.
After brief resurgences in the 1960s and 1980s, cloche hats all but disappeared from major retail outlets. Uniquely stylish women searching for the perfect hat learned to comb vintage stores, antique shops and estate sales. The search for the perfect cloche also included the fervent hope that their piece escaped noticeable wear and fading.
A New Resurgence
Now, artisan fashion designers and milliners produce a wide range of clothing and accessories which are not available in stores. Today’s one-of-a-kind fashionista can buy cloche hats online that are brand-new. Current editions feature beautiful, updated styles in materials suitable for all seasons. A stunning mustard yellow cloche in wool tops off a warm winter ensemble. For warmer months, a pink straw stunner complements any flowing sundress.
Nothing matches the look and feel a new hat. It transforms and frames the face, as the starlets of the 1920s knew so well. Even award-winning author Margaret Atwood attests to the power of a hat. She wrote: “I myself have 12 hats, and each one represents a different personality. Why just be yourself?”
Why, indeed? Especially when it is so easy to buy cloche hats online. You can follow the tradition of the world’s most stylish women and explore the magic and mystery of a quality hat.