No fair maidens, wall mirrors or Halloween (a non-event here until fairly recently) feature in my photographic collection. That leaves, not just that unprepossessing man, but his hat - my theme for this week.
Women have lots of hat styles but apart from cloches, berets and the current fashion for fascinators, I cannot think of many given a distinct name. Very different for men, as I soon discovered.
- Fedora and trilby came on the scene in the1890's and were made popular by 20th century movie stars such as Frank Sinatra and Humphrey Bogart.
- Homburg - named after Bad Homburg (‘Homburg Baths’), a town in Hesse in Germany, where it was created.Think of Edward VII, Winston Churchill and Agatha Christie's detective Hercule Poirot.
- Pork Pie - another mid 19th century development and one associated with the man about town and jazz musicians.
- Straw Boater - traditionally associated with Venetian gondoliers that became a popular choice for summer wear.
- Panama - another popular light hat, thoughit actually originated in Ecuador.
- Beret - associated with peasant wear in France (think Onion Johnny) and Spain. Adapted in Scotland to become a "Tammie" - after the Robbie Burns hero Tam O' Shanter.
- Deer Stalker - think of Sherlock Holmes and upper class country wear.
- Bowler - think of the typical London businessman of the 20th century with rolled umbrella, briefcase and bowler hat; also movie comedians Charlie Chaplin and Laurel & Hardy.
- Top hats - think of romance and swirling capes - the symbol of the 19th century society gentleman, and now more associated with Ascot Races and weddings.
Below are some men's hats from my family photographic collection, though I can't always identify the style by name.
Master Mariner John Robert Moffet (c.1814-1881) was my husband's great great grandfather. In the early census returns he was living in Stepney and Limehouse, London, but by 1871, he and his family returned to his roots in South Shields on England's north east coast.
This dubious looking character, I am pleased to say, is no relation, as far as I know, but he features on the right in the photograph below of my great grandfather James Danson, sitting merry in the ancient stocks in Poulton-le-Fylde, Lancashire. And are those berets worn by the two men seated on the left?
The three men in the front of this wedding picture are all carrying hats - panamas or trilbys? My father, John Weston (on the left) is looking very solemn at the wedding of this eldest brother Fred Weston at Leicester in 1929.
I remember Dad wearing a trilby and when he climbed up the business ladder he often went down to London on the train, carrying his "badge of status" - bowler hat and briefcase. Nobody ever thought, though, to take a photograph of him.
The flat cap brigade! A photograph of my grandfather William Danson seated with a group of workers at the ICI factory at Thornton, near Fleetwood, Lancashire. Was this some special occasion with Grandad given the pride of place at the front. He would have had his 50th birthday in 1935.
In Britain flat caps were generally associated with workers in the industrial north . Think of old photographs and newsreels of men streaming from the mills, or cheering from the football terraces or enlisting for the First World War.
I think of them too as worn by coster-mongers in London - memories of Eliza Doolittle's father in the film of "My Fair Lady"; or Del Boy in the TV comedy "Only Fools and Horses".
At the other end of the social scale, the Duke of Windsor as Edward Prince of Wales, was photographed in a flat cap as part of a golfing outfit. Nowadays finer versions are popular rural wear at farming events, countryside fairs, horse race meetings etc. And if you have the youth and looks to get away with it, flat caps are being worn as fashion statements by "celebrities".
My own father would not be seen dead in one!
And what about the style for young boys? The hat-wearing fashion started early. Below is my uncle Fred Weston again - this time in c,1909. His hat looks more like a sombrero, it is so huge for a wee boy. I wondered at first if it was meant to reflect the popular fashion of sailor outfits for children, but have not seen a coat like this before in old photographs, It is only photograph I have of my father';s side of the family as children and came to me through a distant contact of my cousin.
I remember my brother wearing a school cap like this, often perched on the back of his head, when it wasn't being used as a football. Here is my husband' brother c.1936.
On ten years to a photograph below of my my husband in his school cap with his father sporting a beret. They were on his motor bike, so such a headgear would be very much frowned upon in today''s health and safety era.
Nowadays men wearing hats are either sporting the ubiquitous baseball cap, or in more wintry weather a warm knitted beanie - where did that name come from? oggle has a variety of answers. In Britain it gained popularity from a character in soap opera "Crossroads" where the well liked Benny wore a knitted version of the hat.
Husband in his beanie, with daughter doing their "Hills Are Alive" act from "The ~Sound of Music".
I could not end a feature on men's hats without recollecting the men's hats seen on our holidays in southern Germany and Austria.
Here is a fun representation! Enjoy!
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in this week's prompt photograph.
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