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Friday, 17 February 2017

Sepia Saturday: Everyday Hats

This week's prompt photograph shows a busy  urban scene in Europe,  with children feeding pigeons in a square.   But my eye was drawn   to the two women on the far right.     It appears to be a sunny day, but for them  wearing a hat is essential  wear for the older  woman.  So here is a selection of everyday hats  from my family collection - I have deliberately avoided those worn for weddings.

1930's-40;s  - 
Hats, gloves and fox furs the fashionHats were generally small, but often embellished with decorative bows or feathers. Fox furs were the aspirational accessory for many women from an ordinary background and are proudly worn here by members of my extended family.  I remember my mother keeping hers wrapped in tissue paper  in a box in her wardrobe  I didn''t like touching it - those beady eyes in the head were unnerving. 

My mother and aunt - Kathleen and Edith Danson,  Both sisters had an interest in fashion, and made their own clothes on an old treadle sewing machine - their house  did not have electricity until the 1950's.  

Kathleen Danson  - again with a fur wrap.

My grandmother Alice Danson, nee English

  My husband's mother - Ivy Donaldson, nee White

My  husband's grandmother Alice White, nee Armitage 

Below - Patti and Ivy White - daughters of Alice above.  

Most of these photographs date from the 1960's,  when my mother and husband's mother  would have been 60 years old.   At a time when fashion was changing rapidly   and I was wearing mini skirts, the older generation still  wore  for everyday occasions hats that  we now reserve for formal wear.  Turbans seemed to be the main fashion style here. 
For a visit to the Zoo 

For a summer outing

For a visit to the Botanical Gardens in Edinburgh

For my graduation - so more of a formal occasion

 For a Sunday afternoon run in the car 

Meanwhile  for me, hats were purely practical - for keeping warm in winter and providing shade in (hot) sunmmers.  


Sepia Saturday gives an opportunity for genealogy bloggers 
       to share their family history through photographs

 Click HERE to see what other bloggers have spotted in this week's prompt.


  1. A recent thematic photography post of mine covered hats but was nowhere near as impressive as yours.

  2. Super collection of relatives in hats. And oh my, those awful foxes! It must have been really a fashion, but to me it looks as if they are showing off the hunter's (their husbands perhaps) prowess by slinging them over their shoulders.

    1. I did like the picture you created, Barbara! It certainly made me smile - thank you.

  3. I bought a little ermine fur at an antique shop when I was teaching "Miss Brill" to help students see the main character. It's hard to explain the attraction of wearing the entire animal, but I do think the women in your photos looked quite elegant. And "GO YOU" for not getting pigeon-holed by this week's prompt!!

    1. I enjoyed your pun, Wendy! I admit I rarely come up with anything other than the obvious, so this week's contribution made a change for me.

  4. I do like to see a nice hat being jauntily worn. Where I live, it’s usually a sunhat! This is a great collection of fashionable wearers.

    1. I would love more chances to wear a sunhat!

  5. I noticed the hats too. And yes my grandmother loved wearing furs...very politically incorrect now. My father had quite a job getting rid of them I think after she died. No-one wanted them.

  6. I've gone through a few periods of wearing hats. I wore caps in Brownies and Girl Scouts. In my teens and 20s I had a new hat every Easter. Then I married & had kids & hats pretty much disappeared for a while. Later I joined the "Red Hat Society" & had a bunch of rather wild-looking red hats. That was followed with big flowery hats for "The Ladies Who Go To Tea". Unfortunately I didn't last too long with that group as I never seemed to be available for the dates they set. Now I rarely wear hats at all. :)

  7. A lovely spin on the theme. Women's fashions, especially hats, are a great way to date unmarked photos. Men's garments not so much. Recently I took my mother to a thrift store where she bought a high end Eskimo coat made of faux-caribou skin at a bargain price. She delights in showing it off and makes people guess the material. "It's faux-fun fur," she says with a grin.


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