What ever happened to the Easter hat? I found myself pondering this as the parade of spring dresses came into the store the last two weeks and the images of bunny ears with pastel colored chicks begin to pop up in stores. I remember as a child the traditional Easter dress— the promise of tule, an fabric perfect for twirling. And for a brief moment in my childhood I recalled the Easter hat. Usually straw with ribbon and flowers. Where did they go? You hardly see them outside of the Deep South and you definitely don’t see them in stores any more.
Why, out of all the traditions to go away, was that the one? Can we all take a moment to appreciate not having to wear gloves with your new Easter outfit. Because if you are anything like me, they were dirtied within the hour and ruined by the end of the day. I am proud to say that I have managed to almost shake that habit. Almost.
The Easter hat, also referred to as the Easter bonnet in earlier years, found it’s origins with the tradition of new clothes for Easter. The holiday marked the moment of new beginnings, the beginning of spring and renewal of the new year. During the Depression, a new hat or refurbished one, was a small luxury for many. The practice can be found as far back as the 16th century, referenced in literature.
In current times, when found, the Easter hat is limited to Easter church services and parades that follow typically. Most common in the south, the practice has slowly faded in obscurity for many. There has been a small revival in places of the style, with a twist. Women wearing half veils that partially cover the face or forehead, fasted with a clip or small head fixture. What we call a fascinator today.
To me, the Easter hat holds a bit of charm. It’s a toss the past, a nod to tradition with the ability to be playful and modern. To me, you shouldn’t confine it to just religious services. Wear it all day. Flaunt it. Buy a new (or new to you hat, found in a vintage shop like say, Most Everything) fabulous hat to mark the time of spring and the seasonal year ahead. Toss some flowers and ribbon on an old hat to bring new life to it like many did during the Depression. Bring the Easter hat back! It is a simple fashion statement, but a wonderful way to try something new and who knows, you may enjoy it and have to incorporate into your everyday fashion.
Here are a few of the hats available in the shop…