Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Ensemble Inspired by a Spoon Bonnet

This first "rave" post was going to be a dress. But then I saw this hat Monday evening and knew I had to do this instead.

Hats don't pop up often when you're looking at fashion online. And it's even rarer to find a picture of just a hat. This one is magnificent!

Near as I can tell it's a spoon bonnet, circa 1862. The spoon bonnet was all the rage throughout the 1850's and the first half of the 1860's. They're quite comfortable and a lot more practical than the poke bonnet that preceded it in the 1830's and 1840's.

It looks to be made of velvet. The frame underneath the velvet is probably wire. The ribbons look to be satin, and the flowers most likely silk. Most artificial flowers back then were silk. I wish it was on a head form to know for certain if it's a spoon bonnet. The most popular hairstyle at the time was worn low on the back of the head with a center part, and the spoon bonnet fit over the hair without messing it up or giving the lady hat hair.

I'm in love with it for three reasons. First, it's purple. Purple! My favorite color. And did I mention it's velvet? Velvet! Second, it's a spoon bonnet. One of my favorite 19th century hat styles because it's so versatile and comfortable. Third, it's iconic to the part of the 19th century I'm writing about right now.

Not to mention I already have in my "collection" the perfect pair of boots to go with it. And the perfect dress to finish the look.

And there you have it. The only thing the lady still needs is a pair of gloves and a shawl.

One final word. Nowadays there's such a notion as being too "matched" in fashion. Or, as my sister puts it, "matchy-matchy". In the 19th century there's no such notion. It's also entirely possible to see this dress paired with a chartreuse straw bonnet.


  1. Gorgeous--all of it! I'm going to like this blog, Rachel! :)