Summer Hat Styles for 1896

The brightness and glory of Summer are reflected in the season’s hats. They are ideals of airy grace, aglow with blossoms poised amid cloud-like puffings and folds of Malines or tulle.

The unsubstantial nature of Malines renders it especially useful in securing specific effects. While the decorative ribbons, Miroir velvets and sheer laces used are more enduring, lighter results are attainable in Malines.

Plumage is by no means excluded from the season’s trimmings, but it is less favored than flowers, which seem uniquely suited to the broad brims in vogue. Field flowers and garden posies are used as well as the traditional favorites of the greenhouse.

A wealth of wildflowers adorns a large hat of green satin and moss straw, the brim being formed exclusively of the latter, while in the crown are combined both straws.

Black hair lace bearing straw bluets is draped expertly over the brim, and the crown is well-nigh smothered in bluets, daisies, buttercups, wheat heads and the feathery, white puff balls of dandelions gone to seed.

The brim turned up at the back reveals a similar cluster of flowers set on a band. Such, a hat would be appropriate for wear at a garden party or any fête champêtre with a flowered organdy gown.

Flowers and feathers are both used in the decoration of a black chip Gainsborough shape. It is faced with white chip and trimmed inside the brim with two narrow, bias folds of black velvet.

Apple-green velvet is laid about the crown in a pouf at the right side and in two ears at the opposite side and on the brim is arranged a soft puffing of black tulle.

Two long black plumes and a black aigrette are arranged at the left side, and the back is bent up and displays a cache peigne of American Beauty roses and foliage. These flowers are arranged on a band and extend well to the sides.

Manilla straw will to some extent take the place of Leghorn in large hats, and in the sailor shape, it is much admired. The dressiest sailors are made of this straw.

An excellent example has a cream applique lace veil draped gracefully over its brim, in this instance broad, the crown being correspondingly higher than usual.

Directly in front is a massive bow of taffeta ribbon shading from the palest green to a turquoise-blue, a Rhinestone buckle being placed in its center. At each side is a bunch of cog feathers, which duplicate the odd tinting of the ribbon.

The effect, of a pale-blue and dark purple combination, is shown in a large shape in rough pale-blue straw. The crown is encircled by light-blue grosgrain ribbon tied in a large bow at the left side, two of the loops standing and two falling upon the brim.

At the right side are clustered purple carnations, another bunch being fixed beneath the brim at the left side. A finely plaited frill of cream applique lace is arranged to lie in shells upon the brim and completes the decorative trimming.

A small hat, a turban in shape, in the rough green straw now so popular, is almost concealed by an abundance of natural looking mignonette cleverly disposed over brim and crown.

On the left side stands a more massive bow of taffeta ribbon and a feathery white aigrette. A white lace veil might suitably accompany a hat of this kind.

A toque of excellent style is shaped in fancy white straw. Narrow black velvet ribbon is arranged about the crown and tied in a bow in front above a spread bow of black spangled hair lace, caught at each side of the center with a Rhinestone-and-pearl ornament.

At the left side, a bunch of black tips is supported by a rosette of black chiffon and at the right is a bunch of black and white daisies and buttercups. A smaller bow of hair lace is at the back.

Of rare daintiness is a hat of fancy white straw, braid with a frill of white accordion-plaited chiffon on the brim, ends of the diaphanous fabric falling over the brim upon the coiffure at each side.

Toward the left side of the front is a bunch of purple and yellow shaded orchids with foliage, the coloring is exquisite. The flowers are of silk with rubber stems and are exceptionally graceful and realistic in effect.

Especially suitable for wear with a brown canvas costume is a large, rough brown straw hat. About the crown is twisted white Malines and set edgewise on the brim are many loops of monotone taffeta ribbon, the ground tint being deep cream and the chine figures in several shades of brown.

At the back, a large chou of white Malines upholds a bunch of brown tips and a white aigrette. The brim is rolled upward and at each side is a rosette of Malines.

The trimming of a Manilla sailor is artistic both in its arrangement and in its color harmony. Large rosettes of Maline's shading from stem to olive green are arranged on the brim.

At the left side, nestling among the airy rosettes, are white and yellow roses and at the right are purple flowers and leaves. Under each side of the brim, which is flat all around, is a rosette, olive-brown in one case and olive-green in the other.

Instead, a fanciful idea is expressed in a medium-sized hat having a crown of rough yellow straw and a brim composed of broad loops of yellow Milan straw, trimmed along the edges with Valenciennes lace fulled on slightly.

At both sides of the crown are placed white Maline's rosettes, that at the left sustaining a full white aigrette caught in place by a Rhinestone Ornament. At each side of the back under the brim are bunched, white and yellow roses.

A charming hat for the seashore is of Manilla straw in a large shape. Folds of white dotted tulle encircle the crown and on the brim are arranged white, pink and yellow roses, which extend over the crown and nearly conceal it.

The brim is turned up at the back under two rosettes of tulle, one at- each side, and rising high above the crown is a very full white- and-black rosette.

Less pretentious is a hat of rough black straw, with crown and brim like a sailor, though the brim is reversed all around the edge. A niching of chenille-dotted white tulle surrounds the crown.

At the right side is a tuft of purple carnations and at the left an erect bow of shaded heliotrope taffeta ribbon secured by a sizeable riveted-jet buckle.

Purple straw braids are in high vogue in fancy hats, though, not so generally becoming as neutral-tinted straws. Two-toned purple straw is used in a sailor hat having two dark-purple Malines pompons in front and at each side of the back an erect bow of light-heliotrope taffeta ribbon.

A fluffy white aigrette is bunched with the bow at the left side. Under each side of the brim at the back are clustered shaded purple pansies without foliage.

Black straw hats will be worn during the entire season, their Summery effect depending upon the trimming.

Large bunches of white and purple lilacs and foliage almost hide the crown and brim of a large black chip hat, which is further ornamented with a huge spread bow of wide white gauze ribbon having yellow satin edges and yellow and purple satin dots.

With this as with other large hats may be worn with a fine black net veil spotted thickly with large chenille dots. This style of veil is at present fashionable, though it does not appeal to conservative tastes. It is worn to the chin; the ends being caught up on the hat so that it is free of folds across the face.

The close, heavy dots conceal marks of age and imperfections of complexion, hence their vogue. Finely dotted black veils and white lace veils are also worn.

White veils with black chenille dots are liked with white hats, while for traveling the colored chiffon veil with flat, woven dots in self is still chosen.

Blue and brown are the most popular colors; they do not have the injurious effect upon the eyes attributed to gray or white veils.

If a small knot is tied in the center of its upper edge, a veil will adjust itself better to the shape of the hat than if the edge is permitted to stand up around the brim.

Bonnets are again worn with strings, which may be of tulle or of satin ribbon. If of ribbon, they are very wide, and, except in very warm weather, are quaintly bowed under the chin.

A bonnet suitable to a middle-aged matron has a crown of yellow applique lace crossed with black satin ribbon, and a brim composed of narrow brown-and-tan mixed straw braid loops.

At the left side, a very soft and full white aigrette rises from a pompon composed of five tiny black feathers, and at the right side is a rosette of black satin ribbon. At each side of the back, a wide black satin string is fastened by a pearl-and-opal pin.

So many hues are now associated in hats that if one be chosen concerning the dominant shade in the gown, the result will be correct.

Hats still droop over the eyes and bonnets are worn rather far back upon the head. Broad effects are still preferred in the decoration, being usually carried out in front.

The type of the wearer’s face must necessarily be considered, however, in the trimming of hat or bonnet, no matter what Fashion may prescribe.

Hats and Bonnets

Large hats are the rule although many shapes are small. When the form is compact, spreading trimmings are arranged to give the effect of generous proportions. The exception is the hat for walking, which is, of course, unpretentious.

The Dresden and Persian ribbons, with their beautiful colorings, are formed not only in bows but also in frills that stand up about a portion of the crown and spread upon the brim, affording a charming background for other trimmings.

Feathers are used, but they are less fashionable than flowers. When they are part of the trimming an aigrette is usually added. Aigrettes are also seen on hats in which flowers, ribbons or tissues form the primary trimming.

A strong preference is expressed for Malines over chiffon or tulle for choux and other arrangements of a fluffy nature, but the latter tissues are not altogether discarded.

Rhinestone ornaments still maintain their hold upon the feminine fancy, is now used to catch down choux or rosettes.

Hat and Bonnets for the Summer of 1896

Figure No. 1. — Ladies’ Turban. — The rolled brim of this hat is of fancy straw, striped in lilac and white, and the low crown is of fine white straw. Black wings rise at the back and are gracefully posed at each side, leaves mingling with those at the sides.

Twists of lilac velvet are crossed on the brim at the right side of the front. Bows of pink ribbon set at each side of the back complete a charming color scheme.

Figure No. 2. — Ladies’ Carriage Hat. — The familiar black-and-white combination is broken in this hat of white straw by a bunch of leaves placed on the low crown.

At each side of the leaves stand two black ostrich tips that curl outward. A full fancy aigrette rises at the back, and a white satin ribbon is fancifully arranged across the front of the brim against the crown.

A ruching of black lace near the edge of the brim completes the hat, which although elaborate is of moderate size.

Figure No. 3. — Ladies’ Hat. — The crown of this hat is rather low but is made to appear higher by the profuse trimming. The hat is shaped in Manila straw and is somewhat on the sailor order.

Pink roses are clustered at each side in front of a loop and end of purple velvet; rose leaves are generously distributed throughout the entire trimming. Mignonette rises at the back of the crown.

Figure No. 4. — Ladies’ Hat. — An elaborate trimming is arranged upon this hat of rough natural-colored straw. Purple pansies and their leaves are placed at the front and right side, a full rosette of white Malines over purple being added to those on the right side.

A similar rosette appears below an ostrich tip, and an aigrette at the left side and a white net ruché follows the edge of the brim. The trimming drooping over the hair at the back corresponds with the remaining floral decoration.

Figure No. 5. — Ladies’ Trimmed Sailor-Hat. — A novel black-and-white combination is arranged in this fine straw hat, the top of the crown and the brim nearly to the edge being black and the remainder white.

Accordion-plaited white chiffon is frilled all about the crown, a Rhinestone ornament gleaming among the folds near the front; a fancy jet aigrette at each side is backed by two loops of wide black velvet ribbon.

The brim is turned up slightly at the back and caught to a position under a ribbon bow, which falls below the hat.

Figure No. 6. — Ladies’ Walking Hat. — This shape divides honors with the sailor as a walking and general utility hat. It is shown made of rough brown straw.

The moderately wide brim is rolled at the sides, and the crown is indented. The trimming consists of ribbon, which bands the crown and is formed in a large, spreading bow at the left side.

Sometimes a quill or two will be added to the bows, which will then be smaller.

Figure No. 7. — Ladies’ Sailor Hat. — The correct shape for the new sailor-hat is here shown in Milan straw. The band is of brown ribbon showing a white stripe through the center and is formed in the customary trim little bow at the left side.

The hat could suitably supplement a tailor-made suit of plain brown or a brown mixture.

Figure No. 8. — Ladies’ Leghorn Hat. — This hat of white Leghorn is genuinely a Summer creation. It is artistically bent, and all about the crown is a frill of spangled tulle, which is brought half-way over the crown at the back and there wired to stand upright.

Violet ribbon arranged in front of the crown and formed prettily in loops and ends at the right side is drawn over the crown to meet the tulle, with charming effect.

At the left side are placed a bunch of purple irises and a few leaves, the flowers rising high above the other trimmings. A few flowers are arranged against the upturned brim at the back to fall upon the hair.

Figure No. 9. — Ladies’ Hat. — This shape in light-green rough ' straw is daintily trimmed with green accordion-plaited chiffon, white satin ribbon, fancy grasses and pink roses.

The chiffon is frilled all around the crown, the grasses being placed among it at each side, and the ribbon is made into a stylish bow at the left side to give height. The stems of the roses at the back are crossed to appear at each side.

Figure No. 10. — Ladies’ Box-net. — This is a charming bonnet for a young matron. It is composed of loops and ears of jetted hair-net in which spangles and beads are introduced.

The net spreads in a suggestion of a huge bow at the front of a bandeau upon which trimming is arranged.

The trimming consists of a high arrangement of black velvet ribbon and poufs of light-green chiffon, long strings that will be bowed under the chin or pinned on the bust starting from the poufs at the back.

A Rhinestone ornament sparkles among the jetted net at the left of the center.

Figure No. 11. — Ladies’ Leghorn Hat. — White Leghorn hats or those in the deep ecru tint resembling Manilla straw seem to belong to Summer and are lovely complements to gowns of sheer organdy or batiste.

The one here shown is bent fancifully and puffing of white Malines is caught down over the front of the crown by a band of purple velvet.

The Malines stand high at the back, partially veiling pink roses having buds and foliage. Purple velvet and roses form the trimming at the back.

"Summer Millinery" and "Hats and Bonnets" in The Delineator - Early Summer Number: A Journal of Fashion, Culture and Fine Arts, London and New York: The Butterick Publishing Co. Limited, Vol. XLVII, No. 6, June 1896, p. 637, 672-673, 710.

Editor's Note: Some terminology used in the description of women's clothing during the 1800s and early 1900s has been changed to reflect more modern terms. For example, a women's "Toilette" -- a form of costume or outfit has an entirely different common meaning in the 21st century. Typical terms applied to "toilette" include outfit, ensemble, or costume, depending on context.

Note: We have edited this text to correct grammatical errors and improve word choice to clarify the article for today’s readers. Changes made are typically minor, and we often left passive text “as is.” Those who need to quote the article directly should verify any changes by reviewing the original material.


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