Friday, 7 March 2014

Fur Hats of the Sixties

One great thing about winter hats is that they often remain popular even in times when hat-wearing in general wanes. The 1960s was a big transitional time for fashion, including hats. When summer fades away, however, especially in colder climates, a hat starts to sound like a good idea. Ears get cold no matter what the fashion forecast.

No matter where I looked for sixties hats in my research, I would see fur hats, so I wanted to make them one of my styles to focus on this month.

The fur hats of the sixties share one main distinctive feature with most hats of this decade: they are tall. Tall hair needs tall hats.


The above article appeared in The Canberra Times (Thursday, April 13, 1967, page 19) and shows a range of fur hat styles. You can see how they would all accomodate a high hairstyle. In general you see the same shapes in fur as in summer hats (the pillbox, the tall sixties take on the cloche) but also some unique-to-winter styles, like that giant hood. I've seen similar hoods as part of ski outfits, and I imagine that is its intended purpose.


This photo is from an article in The Australian Women's Weekly (Wednesday, March 13, 1968, pages 92-95) called "A Touch of Fur". The photos show big fur hats, fur collars and cuffs, and these delightful big pillboxes (and some fabulous eyelashes).

Both real and artificial furs were around in the sixties, and both feature in the descriptions of hat fashion trends, but all of the photo captions I've seen are for hats of real fur. The Women's Weekly article, for example, mentions fox, Russian marmot, and arctic fox, others include possum, chinchilla and mink, and I'm sure there are many more. Developments in artificial furs were still being made, and I don't know what the quality was like in the sixties, but for some climates, they would have offered a more appropriate alternative for milder winters.

These days, faux fur fabric is pretty amazing, and I used to be quite obsessed with it, so luckily I have a large supply of good quality faux fur in my stash.

I wanted to make a no-fuss fur hat to showcase that tall flowerpot-esque sixties silhouette.



I also made up the same shape in a grey-brown faux fur.


And a short-pile plush fabric that I suppose is a cheetah print. The lighter-weight fabric gives a different feel to the hat. It loses the impression of size that the thick fur gives, but gains a textural element at the top as it crumples.



I also wanted to have a go at making an even bigger fur hat. I've gone with a more classic "cossack" style shape, straight up and down rather than tapering. Inspired by the ski-hat above, I added a band of brown velvet ribbon to break up the expanse of fur.



In a nice coincidence, while I was editing photos for this post, I read a post about "Winter Fashion by Decade - 1960s" from Bobbins and Bombshells. It's the last in her series about winter fashions and I've really been enjoying it, and this post has a lovely image of some more 1960s fur hats. I recommend you check it out if you haven't already.

As you can see, I'm struggling with self-control at the smorgasbord of inspiration! I didn't even get to a fur pillbox or attempting the giant hood! And I can just imagine wearing one while I fall over again and again on skis. I'm not sure if it would add to or compensate for that loss of dignity.

This post is part of a series "Hats of the Past: A milliner explores history." In the previous post, I talk about my first impressions and changing ideas about sixties fashion.

4 comments:

  1. Great hats! You have captured the '60's look. Thanks for the link!

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  2. These are all kinds of fabulously fun!!! I own a couple of faux fur hats, but they're both from the 50s. A lot of 60s hat styles (much like the cloches of the 20s) don't seem to work for me, so to date I haven't added any fur ones from that era to my hat wardrobe yet. You never know when the right style might come along though! :)

    ♥ Jessica

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    1. Absolutely! The key to hats is to keep trying them on. Styles you think won't work sometimes do (and vice versa) and you can come back to a style you didn't like before and decide you like it now! I find for cloches to suit me they need to have the right kind of trim to work with my face shape, but then I love them.

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