When I was antique shopping with Gina a few weeks ago, I brought home various goodies. A 1930s pattern, some ruffling which I promptly used in a sewing project, a vintage magazine and some books. Gina learned very quickly that I was side-tracked by rows of old books as we skimmed through the booths! But my prize of the day was this hat.
I think it's from the late '40s or perhaps 1950. It was too charming to let behind. The black straw with its cunning side loops and close fit to the head was lovely enough, but the corsage of pristine vintage blooms in delicate white and blue, all for a reasonable price, was too much for me. So it came along home to join my extensive hat collection.
I frequently mix eras when I dress up, unless it's for an event where I want to be as period correct as possible. But this time, by accident, the era of the dress I paired with the hat was a perfect match.
I've mentioned before how much I like the transition between classic 1930s and classic 1940s in fashion. But there was also this neat little fashion blip between the war-affected fashions of the mid 1940s and the quintessential silhouettes of the 1950s when older fashions were in style again - of course with some updating to make them fashion forward. Taking something old and redesigning it in a fresh way in nothing new to the fashion industry. Reading fashion ads in vintage magazines from this era you'll find descriptions of the latest thing including words like "bustle" and "carriage hat" and "poke bonnet" that sound much more like the late 1800s than the late 1940s.
Here are some images from 1948 or thereabouts to demonstrate what I'm talking about. The first one is even edited to look like an old portrait photograph! The others - feathers, high buttoned shoes, jackets with peplums, hats - look heavily Edwardian in everything except for the skirt length and the made-up faces.
This dress (made last year as part of my Polka Dot Project) is from that window in fashion, and honestly (though perhaps my fabric choice contributed), doesn't it look almost 1910? Heavily inspired by the Titanic era, at least?
So at any rate, this hat deliberately has an older-fashioned-than-vintage flavor yet still with a chic element that would have been new back then. I love the charming combination.
Gina told me these are bachelor's buttons (I'll take her word for it, being fairly ignorant of flowers), and they are in such good condition. She told me to steam them to make them happy again, so I did. And they are.
I love vintage millinery flowers. Such better quality and so much more lifelike than most modern faux flowers! I like to use them for corsages and hair flowers as well, and it delights me to find these in pristine condition.
The thick grouping of flowers on one side did make the hat a tad heavier on that side, but nothing that a hatpin on the opposite side wouldn't fix. One more little detail was a wisp of black veiling that softens the front brim and nestles against the head just above the curls.
So, though it wasn't Easter, was it any wonder that I had a tune stuck in my head most of the day?
In your Easter bonnet, with all the frills upon it,
You'll be the grandest lady in the Easter parade...
Only in this case it definitely wasn't frills. It was flowers. Lots and lots of them!