Wednesday, 3 February 2010


I have a fascination for old photographs. I just love looking at scenes of people who died perhaps a hundred years ago and imagining how their lives were back then.

There is one curious thing which I have noticed. When you compare a crowd scene of say 1910 with a crowd scene of 2010 there is one particularly obvious difference in people's dress. In 1910, everyone wore a hat. Ladies wore a wide variety of them and no doubt they were secured by hat pins. Gentlemen wore trilby hats, bowlers, flat caps or if they were real 'toffs' they would be sporting top hats. Schoolboys wore caps unless at public school, in which case top hats were the done thing. Schoolgirls wore bonnets or straw hats.

Clearly wearing a hat was an essential part of your outdoor attire. This meant that when you came indoors every home needed a hat stand to park your 'titfer' on - no longer an essential furnishing item. It also meant that Millinery was a thriving profession but sadly that is no longer the case.

I have a theory about what led to the demise of the hat. As suggested above, the type of hat which one wore was virtually a badge to signify which social class you belonged to. This was never more in evidence than in the classic comedy sketch from 'The Frost Report' on the social classes in which John Cleese as the upper class man is wearing a bowler; Ronnie Barker as the middle class man is wearing a trilby and poor little Ronnie Corbett, wearing a flat cap, 'knew his place'. I firmly believe that people tired of wearing a class badge and sought greater equality in their attire.

Of course, hats actually perform a useful function, namely to keep one's head warm. Mindful of this, I have purchased a rather nifty french style beret to see me through the recent spell of cold weather. I should be grateful, if any of you who know my wife, would see your way to passing comment on how fetching I look in it.


  1. My soc cap says " property of Alcatraz" Wonder what that means LOL..My word verification is crime

  2. I've never been very fond of hats, mostly because I look like such an idiot in a hat, but since I've moved to KS, I definitely wear a cap in these cold winter winds!!

  3. I guess advent of cars also had a lot to do with demise of head attire!
    When I first began as a hospital social work manager I still had a member of my team who had been around when social workers (lady almoners) weren't allowed on the ward unless they were wearing a hat.They kept one especially.
    Love hats myself! Beret sounds gorgeous! But is it that warm.....sure it's not just a style thing?