Hats have always been in fashion because of their practical purpose and fashion appeal. Initially, people used hats to protect individuals from the sun’s harsh rays. It was popular among the laborers and the working section. These individuals who spent a lot of their day outside in the sun required protection from weather elements. Hence, hats were the epitome of social distinction. In the early 17th century, headdresses helped in reflecting specific religious and political affiliations. During the initial phase of this period, the brimless and high crown headwear was very much in fashion.
It was popular among the lower section of society. However, things changed, and people favored wide-brimmed and lower crown headwear. The transition gets reflected in the lower crown and stiff brim of the Elizabethan period. Remember that hats have always adapted to the changing situation of society. Hence, it is one of those accessories that have catered to the community’s changing needs.
Matching standards of fashion realm
The fashion world is never static. It is the most spirited of all the industries. If you look at the transition of the fashion world, you will see that multiple factors influence the emergence and evolution of different fashion accessories. One of these is headwear.
If you look at military uniforms, you will see that people used to favor headwear to compliment the overall image. Along with this, headwear was a staple of military dress. It was for practical purposes. However, things changed with time. The blooming fashion taste, floppy boots, and ruffled shirts started giving way to cavalier hats. This headwear reflected a military swagger and looseness of stature. Along with this, this wide-brimmed headwear always came from beaver felt.
This broad-brimmed headwear was available in different shapes and was known for their resilience to weather variation and high quality.
Significance of cavalier headwear among the aristocratic section
As mentioned earlier, cavalier headwear was a part of the military uniform. Captains, sailors, merchants, and ship owners were fans of cavalier style headwear. These hats got their name from the king who engaged in the Cavaliers civil war. This headwear featured a wide brim and had a different swag.
The cavalier hat is known for its broad brim, either rolled or ornamented with ostrich feathers called weeping plumes. The encircled crown was further decorated with a silk band or necklace and sown with gemstones. The aristocratic section wore these hats with big ornamented plumes every day.
Back in those days, feathers and swords played a vital role. These were not accessible by the lower section of society. Only the higher section was permitted to use the sword arm and the feather on their headwear. Furthermore, hat ornaments helped as a love token and a reflection of the position of an individual. The decoration remained a prominent part of this headwear and got confined to the left side. Most cavalier headwear came from felt.
In the 17th century, the Beaver trade was very much prominent. Hence, the rich section could afford the Beaver pelt. The high expenses were a reflection of their status and position. Thus, people wear costly and decorative headwear, especially the wealthy people of the society.
The role of felt in the hat industry
Felt is a combination of fur and wool. The material is not woven but altered and pressed in the traditional process by using steam and hot water for creating the smoothest, sturdy, water-resistant, and lightest natural fabric. Felt are used widely for producing hats for centuries. It is perhaps the conventional textile material used all across. There is archaeological evidence showing the popularity of these hats in the fashion industry. Remember that people used cotton, linen, silk, and rabbit fur to manufacture headwear apart from felt.
Even today, there are different variants of felt used for making hats. Fur felt, wool felt, and Beaver felt are prominent examples. Beaver felt is one of the oldest materials for hats that date back to the 14th century. Beaver skin was used for coat trimming and reimported in hat making. In the early 1600s, Beaver felt became one of the most popular hat-making materials. People used it in the large-scale production of hats in the western world.
Even today, felt is a favorite material for hat manufacturers. If you go by records, you will see that felt hats have a better market than other options. Now, if you are thinking about which option to choose, you must pay attention to the quality and comfort of the material. Never go for low-quality material because it will be a waste of money. You have to discover the comfort and therefore pay attention to the internal lining. The more you are cautious of the quality; the better will be your choice. Now that you know so much about different categories of hats, it’s up to you to decide which one to choose.