The History of Millinery

The usage of hats within the world of fashion and elegance has been around for decades, providing beautiful examples of women wearing delicate and hand-crafted headpieces within popular films and aged novels. Although hats served as a way to keep individuals warm during the cold and chilly winter season, their usage has transformed into an indication of class status, permitting sophisticated and stylish women to wear hats as a type of adornment to make themselves more comfortable attractive in the eyes of onlookers. Hats have taken on the mood and spirit of the individual wearer, reflecting how an individual feels when they are wearing the headpiece. To provide readers and milliners with an accurate representation of hat-making, we have provided readers with an insight into the history on millinery practice.

A Look Back At Where Millinery First Began

The term ‘millinery’ was not officially created or used in language until the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries when hats in Milan were beginning to be produced and generated using fine materials, such as delicate fabrics, felt, and straw. These particular hats were labeled as “ Millayne bonnets.” This is where the present English word ‘milliner’ stems from, providing the world with a term to describe the individuals who create beautiful hand-made accessories that can be adorned on the heads of individuals everywhere.

As you begin to work your way through the centuries of millinery and the history behind this craft, many differential hat styles start to make an appearance. In many cases, these particular styles became trendy and a fashion statement due to the fact that prominent individuals within the time period, such as kings and noblemen, began to adorn these hats, thus, introducing the world to named styles like the ‘Homburg’ and the ‘Monte Cristo.’ For example, during Theodore Roosevelt’s days, men within his troop of Rough Riders began to wear a large felt cocked hap. This hat was then named or regarded as the ‘rough rider’ hat.

One hat style that has been able to stand the test of time has been the Top Hat. The earliest recorded appearance or version of a Top Hat was the “Cocked Hat” or a “Cockade,” which originated in the 1700s in France. At that time, the Top Hat was mainly worn only by men. However, similar hat styles that women could wear began to surface, and these hats featured decorative buckles, feathers, and floating veils. As hats became gender neutral, an abundance of different names and terms arose for the hat styles that could be worn and sported to various events and outings. As we have made our way along with the history of millinery fashion, the hat styles have remained the same, but their names have drastically changed, even within the last 20 years. Although some materials utilized in the crafting of these hats are different, much of what is held within the millinery practice has not changed.

When learning how to make a hat, one needs to understand or be familiar with the history of the practice itself, allowing milliners and hat makers to appreciate the evolution of the techniques used to form these stunning headpieces and where they originated from.

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