Cloche hats – short history

Just recently a couple of new cloche hat blocks were added to our collection. We think that this is a good time to find out a bit more about this iconic 20s hat – the cloche hat.
20s fashion has found place not only in the latest movies but also in our wardrobe. The classical cloche hat has regained its popularity. More and more women prefer to include this iconic accessory in their Autumn-Winter wardrobe. This is also good news for milliners, as this is one of the hats that is easy to shape and at the same time provides space for numerous variations in style and trimming.

Bits about the history of cloche hats

Did you know that the cloche hat was invented already in 1908 by a French milliner Caroline Reboux? This small bell-shaped (in French “cloche” means “bell”) hat became most popular in the 1920s and was worn till 1930s.

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Different styles of 20s cloche hats

Cloche hats were traditionally made of felt, sisal or straw. Special cloche hats were also created for evening wear and were made from lace, silk, beads etc. Cloche hats were commonly worn plain, showing off the shape and texture of a well made hat.

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An elegant cloche in mustard with black ribbon trimming by Emily Moe at etsy.com

At the same time these hats could also be trimmed with appliqués, beads, brooches, scarves, feathers etc. trimmings were usually applied to one side only, mainly the right side.

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Exquisite cloche hat in red with black trimming by Adrienne Henry at Etsy.com

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Gorgeous grey fur felt cloche hat with a sumptuous silk flower by Dinah Makowsky at Etsy.com

Cloche hats even became common bridal accessories.

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Glamorous sinamay bridal cloche hat trimmed with sequins, beads and flowers by Gail Bartlett at Etsy.com

It’s interesting how ladies used ribbons of cloche hats to give different messages: an arrow-like ribbon indicated a woman was single but had already given her heart to someone, a firm knot signaled marriage or a flamboyant bow indicated the wearer was single and interested in mingling.

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Two tone cloche with a beautiful ribbon trimming by the Etsy.com milliner Marcia Lacher

The cloche hat was worn all but pulled over the eyes, allowing just a glimpse of the eyes of the wearer. As the years passed by also the style of the cloche changed a bit – the brim of the had become narrower until in the late 20s the asymmetrical brim practically disappeared.

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Beautiful wide brimmed cloche hat by Katarina at Etsy.com

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Lovely cloche hat with no brim by Maggie Mowbray Millinery at Etsy.com

We hope this post inspired you, so grab your hat blocks or choose one of our Easy Hat Blocks to create  your own cloche hat.

4 thoughts on “Cloche hats – short history

  1. Katie says:

    Ooh! I love the blue one! I also like the red one just above it — such an interesting shape! Some women love shoes … I love hats!

  2. Carol says:

    I have been making hats now from scratch (sewing) for the past 2-1/2 years and have been blessed with many different designs. I have been blessed with a small but growing clientele of people that love what i make and wear. Making these hats from what I see in my mind; I give God the glory. But I have been itching to try my hand at blocking. The two-tone color is definitely something that would peak my interest. I love it. So I am going to begin small and work my way up. I, too, love hats!!!

    1. admin says:

      Carol, good luck making the first steps in hat blocking! Let us know if we can be of help, it can be quite confusing at the beginning 😉

  3. Hey!

    Amazing Post.

    This cap flatters all women because of its classic style. Even I have some collections of Cloche Hats.

    It’s a great accessory for any kind of outfit.

    Thanks for sharing this beautiful post.

    Keep up the good work.

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