- Fashion and Beauty»
Cloches - the most stylish hats
Stylish timeless hat - the cloche
The wonderful cloche - that's the latest buzz word from the current fashion world.
These wonderful hats, which were popular in the 1920s and early 1930s, are enjoying a tremendous style revival.This is the latest news from Caroline, my friend who is a magazine editor in London.
As you know, fashion magazines work several months in advance when they prepare their latest trend layouts and the cloche is an fashion accessory that they are now working towards showcasing. And it's not surprising.
These are a versatile, fashionable item that suits elegant and sophisticated outfits but also looks great with casual clothes as well. They can be dressed up or dressed down by using accessories and are a perfect cover up for bad hair days.They have other adaptable advantages for women today.
They are a soft and unstructured hat so aren't easily damaged. They are the perfect headgear when you're driving or traveling in an open topped car. They had a revival in the 1960s and in the early 2000s and now it's their turn again.
The cloche in historyClick thumbnail to view full-size
Created in Paris
Caroline Reboux, one of the most famous Paris milliners, created the this style in the early 1920s. She was the darling - and the most sought after milliner - of couturiers, the aristocracy and stars from both the stage and screen. In addition to her stores in Paris and London, the popularity of her hats led to her opening up in Chicago and New York to serve her fashionable American clients too.
She was also responsible for the popularity of women wearing berets, originally made fashionable by Marlene Dietrich and revived in the 1970s by Faye Dunaway.Although the popularity of the cloche waned in the middle of the 1930s, this classic design was too important to lay dormant for long and gradually it began to reappear.
Available to buy online today
The beauty of these is that it gives a clean line and silhouette. Women who don't normally wear hats (me for example!) still find that these are a useful and stylish essential accessory.
One of the wonderful things about these hats is that you can change the look by using different accessories. Add a brooch or feathers. One of Caroline's tricks is to use hair accessories pinned onto her hats.
One of the interesting aspects of retro popularity is that today's designers take the best elements of styles from days gone by and translate them to suit us today. Materials and fabrics are much more practical than they were in the 1930s and yet these hats still have that unmistakable aura of a romantic and fashionable era.
Get the movie star look
As you can see from the photographs above, fashionable women and glamorous film stars often wore their stylish hats with fur. Today, this would be more likely to be faux fur and you can find a selection of fabulous stylish coats with faux fur collars here.Because the feminine look is so strong in stylish circles today, Caroline is also working on a layout showing shoes styled in a 1920s and 30s fashion. See her suggestions below.
- These hats were so popular that they were worn for evening wear, day wear and even brides wore them as part of their wedding ensembles.
- Just as there was a language of flowers in Victorian times, in the 1920s and 30s the hat was used to convey certain messages. A tight ribbon, for example, signified that the wearer was married and therefore off limits.
- Wallis Simpson wore headgear by Caroline Reboux when she married the Duke of Windsor.
- Cloche is the French word for bell. The hats were so named because of their bell-like shape. I bet you guessed!
- Originally they were worn pulled down quite low onto the forehead. This drew attention to the wearers' eyes and women were now using makeup to make the most of their eyes and lips.
- The soft structure of the item represented freedom to the women of the 1920s. The previous generation had worn corsets and structured clothes with long flowing skirts. Now, girls were free to wear looser garments with shorter skirts and the new style represented this new freedom available to women.
- Similarly, their mothers had always had long hair, often done in elaborate styles. The women and girls of the 1920s rebelled and had their hair cut into short bobs which were a perfect match for these super-stylish hats.
- The fact that their favorite film stars wore these made them even more popular with women of the day. Gradually, older women followed the young lead - hemlines rose and this headgear became a completely mainstream and acceptable style.