Women's Hats

For centuries, a woman was not considered fully dressed unless she wore a hat, and there was a time when no self-respecting lady ventured outside the home with her head bare. As that is no longer the case, the evolution of women's hats coincides with both fashion evolution and social change.

At the turn of the twentieth century, bird feathers were frequently featured in ornamental hats before a protest movement gave rise to the Audubon Society. In the Roaring Twenties, cloches were de rigueur for women who appreciated the deep, close fit that kept them in place while on the dance floor. The '30s Surrealist movement's obsession with geometrical forms heavily influenced hat styles as well

By the '40s, silk-veiled chapeaus gained favor as ideal pairings for fishnet stockings. The arrival of the '50s brought much smaller hats like those styled after Jacqueline Kennedy's fashionable pill-box hat, which were universally worn with A-line dresses. And as the feminist movement, and beehive hairstyle, rose in the '60s, millinery faded as women ditched their headgear.

In the minds of many, the hat is an afterthought in the world of style, but for connoisseurs, a well-made hat still sits atop the list of must-have accessories. Modern-day hatmaker offerings and auctions featuring vintage women's hats satisfy their predilection for stylish headwear.


Quick Facts

  • French emperor Napoleon Bonaparte's signature two-cornered hat, mirroring the bicorn style worn by women through the Edwardian era, sold at auction in 2014 for $2.4 million
  • The high conical hat worn by the Wicked Witch of the West character in "The Wizard of Oz" sold at a Profiles in History auction in 2010 for $200,000
  • In June 2015, a black velvet hat by Montaldo's that belonged to Marilyn Monroe sold at a Julien's auction for $3,520

Recommended Items at Auction

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THAILAND BANGCOCK TRADITIONAL HAT MONSTER WITH NINE FACES
Oct 19, 12:00 PM EDT
THAILAND BANGCOCK TRADITIONAL HAT MONSTER WITH NINE FACES
by Aether Auctions
Est: $0- $0
$3315 Bids
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Irene Mbitjana Entata (b. 1946) Man with Hat Smoking, Lidded Pot, Hermannsburg, NT
Oct 19, 6:00 PM AEDT
Irene Mbitjana Entata (b. 1946) Man with Hat Smoking, Lidded Pot, Hermannsburg, NT
by Shapiro Auctioneers
Est: AUD300- AUD500
AUD3205 Bids
SIGNED Stan Musial St. Louis Cardinals New Era Cap Fitted Hat w/ COA
Oct 25, 6:00 PM EDT
SIGNED Stan Musial St. Louis Cardinals New Era Cap Fitted Hat w/ COA
by One Source Auctions
Est: $0- $0
$855 Bids
Red Cowgirl Hat - Size 7 1/8
Oct 21, 10:00 AM CDT
Red Cowgirl Hat - Size 7 1/8
by McCurley Auction Company
Est: $0- $0
$53 Bids
Amtrak Trainman Hat w/ Santa Fe Buttons
Nov 13, 10:00 AM EST
Amtrak Trainman Hat w/ Santa Fe Buttons
by Rail and Road Auctions
Est: $60- $90
$302 Bids
SAMUEL EDMUND OPPENHEIM "GIRL IN STRAW HAT"
Oct 23, 10:00 AM EDT
SAMUEL EDMUND OPPENHEIM "GIRL IN STRAW HAT"
by Oakridge Auction Gallery
Est: $500- $800
$2501 Bid
CAROL CHANNING 2008 KENTUCKY DERBY HAT
Oct 21, 9:00 AM PDT
CAROL CHANNING 2008 KENTUCKY DERBY HAT
by Abell Auction
Est: $50- $100
$501 Bid
Chicago, South Shore, & South Bend Railroad Conductors Hat
Nov 13, 10:00 AM EST
Chicago, South Shore, & South Bend Railroad Conductors Hat
by Rail and Road Auctions
Est: $40- $70
$101 Bid
Two bowler hats, one a substantial weigh
Oct 21, 1:00 PM BST
Two bowler hats, one a substantial weigh
by Kinghams Auctioneers
Est: £60- £90
£351 Bid
Lot of (2) Straw hats one Montgomery Wards Company and the other one The Zip Sizer.
Oct 20, 9:00 AM EDT
Lot of (2) Straw hats one Montgomery Wards Company and the other one The Zip Sizer.
by Apple Tree Auction Center
Est: $0- $0
$51 Bid
Five vintage hat with three hat boxes.
Oct 20, 9:00 AM EDT
Five vintage hat with three hat boxes.
by Apple Tree Auction Center
Est: $0- $0
$51 Bid
Timor Plant Fiber Hat, Early/Mid 20th C.
Nov 14, 10:00 AM EST
Timor Plant Fiber Hat, Early/Mid 20th C.
by Material Culture
Est: $200- $300
$1001 Bid
Lot with wooden spoon rest board and a #708. 6 7/8” 17/8” Wooden hat mold.
Oct 20, 9:00 AM EDT
Lot with wooden spoon rest board and a #708. 6 7/8” 17/8” Wooden hat mold.
by Apple Tree Auction Center
Est: $0- $0
$51 Bid
Penelope's Hat hardback book by Ronald Frame. Published 1989 Hodder and Stoughton 1st edition ISBN 0
Oct 29, 6:00 PM BST
Penelope's Hat hardback book by Ronald Frame. Published 1989 Hodder and Stoughton 1st edition ISBN 0
by Chaucer Covers & Auctions
Est: £6- £8
£60 Bids
LOT OF 3 HATS - 60s
Oct 25, 3:00 PM CEST
LOT OF 3 HATS - 60s
by Bertolami Fine Art
Est: €15- €30
€150 Bids
LOT OF 3 HATS - 30s / 50s
Oct 25, 3:00 PM CEST
LOT OF 3 HATS - 30s / 50s
by Bertolami Fine Art
Est: €100- €200
€600 Bids
CESARE CANESSA - LOT OF 3 HATS - 50s / 60s
Oct 25, 3:00 PM CEST
CESARE CANESSA - LOT OF 3 HATS - 50s / 60s
by Bertolami Fine Art
Est: €50- €70
€400 Bids
Admiral's hat - Italy, first half of the 20th century
Oct 25, 3:00 PM CEST
Admiral's hat - Italy, first half of the 20th century
by Bertolami Fine Art
Est: €800- €1,000
€4400 Bids
Large wallpaper covered oval hat box
Nov 20, 9:00 AM EST
Large wallpaper covered oval hat box
by Horst Auctioneers
Est: $0- $0
$300 Bids
Brattleboro, VT oval lidded wallpaper hat box
Nov 20, 9:00 AM EST
Brattleboro, VT oval lidded wallpaper hat box
by Horst Auctioneers
Est: $0- $0
$300 Bids
Primitive Folk Art Painted Tin and Wood Top Hat Bird House
Oct 26, 10:00 AM EDT
Primitive Folk Art Painted Tin and Wood Top Hat Bird House
by Material Culture
Est: $300- $500
$1500 Bids
A GOOD PERSIAN QAJAR EMBROIDERED FELT SUFI DERVISH HAT, approx. height 21cm, approx. diameter 18cm.
Oct 20, 10:30 AM BST
A GOOD PERSIAN QAJAR EMBROIDERED FELT SUFI DERVISH HAT, approx. height 21cm, approx. diameter 18cm.
by John Nicholsons Fine Art Auctioneer & Valuer
Est: £200- £300
£1800 Bids

Sellers Who Sell Women's Hats


Material Culture

Material Culture

Kinghams Auctioneers

Kinghams Auctioneers

Apple Tree Auction Center

Apple Tree Auction Center

Bertolami Fine Art

Bertolami Fine Art