Women's Hats in the 1700s

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Women wore a variety of hats in the 18th century. Hats evolved throughout the 1700s, ranging from bonnets to caps. The type of hat a woman wore often depended on her social status. Hats replaced the coiffed, more outrageous hairstyles of the 17th century.


woman in a straw hat image by Galina Barskaya from Fotolia.com

Straw hats were frequently worn in the mid-1700s and became immensely popular in the late 1700s. Women wore straw hats outside to shield themselves from the sun. The hats often had a flat brim and a ribbon. Straw hats were usually worn by women in the country and on farms, but they became more popular among city women in the 1700s. Hats were occasionally worn over caps.


woman smiling & wearing a cap in the 17th century image by L. Shat from Fotolia.com

Women of all social classes wore caps. Short of events requiring formal dress, caps were worn by 18th century women on a regular basis. Caps were generally white and made from linen. They were worn to promote cleanliness while being fashionable.


The calash bonnet became popular in the 1760s and remained popular through the early 1800s due to an influx in larger hairstyles and wigs. The word calash is derived from the French word for carriage. The calash bonnet shares visual characteristics with the top of a carriage. Calash bonnets are usually made of silk, tie under the chin and are collapsible.