Doll hat

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A later copy of an 18th-century miniature showing a doll-hat design worn as decoration for an ornate wig

A doll hat (sometimes doll's hat) is a women's millinery design scaled down to suggest a hat that could be worn by a doll,[1] it can be of any design and is generally worn at the front of the head.[2] The hat is usually held in place with a band of fabric or elastic secured at the back of the head.[1]

Origins of the hat[edit]

The doll hat had periods of popularity in both the 18th and 19th centuries,[3] this was an era of elaborate hairstyles and the hat was a decorative accessory rather than serving a practical function.

A 1946 version of the doll hat, also worn tilted forward on the head

Doll hats became popular again in the 1930s. A report in The Times in 1937 on the latest London millinery described a miniature bonnet as among the key introductions: "A hat that looks like a doll's hat has been made of Leghorn; the floral topknot of the evening translated, as it were, into daytime wear. It needs only ribbon strings to reproduce the young matron's bonnet of the Victorian era",[4] as with earlier version of the hat, this was a decorative style suited to occasion wear. A fashion report in 1938 described an Edwardian-style model of indigo blue feathers decorated with a winged bird as ideal for: "grander occasions or the theatre".[5]

Later that year, the paper reported a new fashion for vivid doll hats in fuchsia, violet or Florentine blue worn with all-black outfits, the paper added that when a black doll hat was chosen, it should have a contrasting veil in a bright shade such as blue or pink matched with the same hue in gloves or buttonhole.[6]

The popularity of miniature hat continued into World War II; in the United States, the absence of imports from French milliners inspired American designers to innovate. Variations on the beret, bowler and boater were introduced – along with forward tilted miniature hats. Although American Vogue magazine warned its readers in 1941 that doll hat designs were: "definitely not for the unselfconfident", the design became very popular during the war years.[7]


While many versions of the doll hat replicated traditional straw hats in miniature, variations included scaled down witches' hats and Welsh hats.[8]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Brooks Picken, Mary (2010). A Dictionary of Costume and Fashion: Historic and Modern (1999 ed.). United States: Dover Publications. pp. 98, 163. ISBN 0486402940. Retrieved 8 January 2015. 
  2. ^ "Hat Shaper's Hat Dictionary". Hat Shaper's. Retrieved 8 January 2015. 
  3. ^ Walford, Jonathan. "History of Hats for Women: Halo Halo". Vintage Fashion Guild. Retrieved 8 January 2015. 
  4. ^ "London Fashions: New Spring Hats" (47611). The Times. 17 February 1937. 
  5. ^ "Shopping News in Brief" (48127). The Times. 17 October 1938. 
  6. ^ "Challenging the Supremacy of Black" (48153). The Times. 16 November 1938. 
  7. ^ Delis Hill, Daniel (2007). As Seen in Vogue: A Century of American Fashion in Advertising. Texas, US: Texas Tech University Press. p. 170. ISBN 0896726169. Retrieved 8 January 2015. 
  8. ^ "Round the shops: gift suggestions for Christmas" (48163). The Times. 28 November 1938.