Easter Bonnet

Curator’s Cache: In Your Easter Bonnet

“In your Easter bonnet, with all the frills upon it, you’ll be the grandest lady in the Easter Parade…” so sang Fred Astaire and many others in the popular song, but having a new hat in the latest fashion has been around for a long time. The Winnetka ladies who wore these hats when they were new were well aware that the perfect hat tops an outfit and the lady who wears it like nothing else can.

(1998.1007) Half hats were very popular in the mid-1950s because they didn’t smash down the curls ladies tried so carefully to preserve. This straw number is enhanced with tiny red beads and bright pink silk flowers and greenery, c. 1955.

(1990.1010) A feather bandeau such as this would have been perfect atop some of the shorter hairstyles in the mid to late 1960s. The feathers mimic bangs and the iridescent feathers would show off a psychedelic-patterned costume, c. 1967.

(1988.1154) I Magnin was one of the highest end clothiers in the late 19th and early 20th In the 1920s they were especially known for their hats. WHS is very fortunate to have this fine straw cloche decorated with swirls of rust and cream feathers. The lady who wore this would have been the envy of many c. 1927.

(2530) Mrs. Frank Windes put one of her stickers inside this hat but that does not necessarily mean she was the owner when it was new. It probably belonged to her mother or perhaps grandmother as it dates from the 1860s. The deep blue silk is in lovely shape and the intricate adornment of lace, velvet and different kinds of flowers attest to its value for the first lady who wore it, c. 1866.

(1989.1079.24) There is a tropical bird on top of this pheasant feather hat. We do not know why. Entire birds were often used to adorn lady’s hats and apparently it didn’t matter if the bird matched the feathers. The feathers really are exquisite and notice please how they have been so carefully arranged around the hat and how iridescent ones were used at the center, c. 1950.

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