Contrary to what many people believe, the cloche hat was actually invented in 1908, almost two decades before the flapper era of the 1920s. Leave it to the Parisians to create something so chic and timeless, the word cloche means “bell” in French. Years later, as the Roaring Twenties kicked in full steam, it became the iconic hat of the Jazz Age.
How to spot a cloche hat? It’s all in the bell shape. Cloche hats are traditionally made from felt, though ones made from straw or cloth were not uncommon. Decorations were minimal in order to maintain the slim and trim profile of the hat.
The fitted silhouette makes it hard to see because it covers the eyes, and for this reason it even altered the way women carried themselves. They literally had to tilt their chins up in order to see. The snug shape also playfully accented the short hairstyles that were so in vogue at the time, and was the ideal way to wear such a trendy accessory.
It’s been years since I sported a bob, but I might just chop off my long locks and embrace my inner flapper at the drop of a cloche hat.
“That’s the best thing a girl can be in this world, a beautiful little fool . . . ” – Daisy Buchanan
I guess you can call me a beautiful little fool for attempting to rival the looks of Ms. Daisy Fay. After all, she wears the finest pearls that money and buy and has two men vying for her love. Who wouldn’t be jealous?
Perhaps one of the most popular fashion decade amongst vintage experts and amateurs alike is the flapper style of the Roaring 20s. The style of this decade consisted of shapeless shift dresses with boxy straight cut silhouettes. Gone were the constricting corsets of past eras, and this was the first time there was so much exposure of the arms and legs. Shoes also became important in the outfit, as they now were visible because of the shorter hemlines. Mary Janes and T-straps were the popular shoes of this era, with their aesthetically pleasing design and practicality for dancing.
After watching The Great Gatsby, I was inspired to get jazzy and celebrate the 20s while I am still in my 20s. I got this awesome sequined wool top during my solo trip to Toronto a few months back. Not only does it shine and sparkle under the lights, but also when I move, the sequins rustle like the sound of leaves blowing on the treetops during a breezy autumn day. I wore it over my LBD, and with my already boyish figure, I suddenly created a flapperesque silhouette of a dress. Add some gold T-strap heels and a velvet turban headband (I used a strip of fabric scrap), and I am ready to do the Charleston all through the night. I probably could’ve used one strand – or ten – of pearls, since the 1920s look isn’t complete without tons of costume jewelry. Oh, what a fool I am!
vintage sequined tank (sequin option here) / We Who See T-strap heels (similar) / DIY velvet turban headband (tutorial here)