This is followed up by two entertaining sub headings. “Milliners are keeping their hat pins crossed” and “Like a game but groggy boxer, hats are making a comeback.”
I've long thought of the 1960s as the decade when everyday hat wearing stopped being the norm, and I think most people, looking back on it, would agree. There was still plenty of hat-wearing going on, and distinctly new styles appearing, but you also see a lot of photos of women without hats. That's real life photos and fashion photos alike.
So it was with surprise and curiosity that I read what the early 1960s thought about the situation. That women haven't been wearing hats for the last two decades! Business for milliners has been bleak and many of the little guys have been put out of business.
“ “The last time hats were universally worn was – oh, 1939. Just before the war,” said Mrs Joy Butler, public relations officer for the Millinery Manufacturer's Association.
“Then during the war women went without hats (they couldn't spare the coupons). And going hatless became a habit.” ”
The article touches on a few elements of the 1960 fashion situation that I feel the millinery world continued to wrestle with for the rest of the decade. The attitude of the 'youth' to hats, which they associated with formal occasions and church. The relationship and sometimes battle between hairstyles and hats. The value of convenience, and hats you can just pull on or put in your pocket.
The Australian situation is also highlighted. The writer still refers to what the European couturiers are doing and how the Australian milliners are following them. Referring to the previous season's fur 'Cossack' hats, Mrs. Butler comments on how inappropriately hot and heavy they were for Aussie conditions. But she has hopes for the nylon fur we'll see next winter, that will be lighter, and that you will be able to “wash out at night – and it's like new the next day.”
It was also interesting to note that the Melbourne Cup was already separating itself from the regular millinery fashions. Mrs Butler remarks that it is a place for “extreme” hat fashions, unsuitable to regular wear. From what I've seen of photos from the Cup in the 1950s newspapers and magazines, styles worn then were still very much in line with mainstream fashion. So it may be that this divide was just starting to begin in the late fifties and early sixties.
Yesterday I had some serious fun doing a photoshoot with Ruanne, who was able to pull together some amazing sixties looks, despite not considering that she had much sixties at all.
One of the main purposes of the shoot was for some hats I haven't shown you yet, for which longer hair was a requirement, but you'll have to wait until next week for those! We also had fun with the fur hats and pillboxes.
Get ready for some serious elegance from this lady in the next post!
This post is part of a series "Hats of the Past: A milliner explores history." Previous posts are my first impressions and changing ideas about sixties fashion, a look at sixties style of fur hat, and an exploration of pillboxes.