Friday, February 7, 2020

Madam, is that a duck on your hat? by Kristin Holt


Madam, is that a duck on your hat? by Author Kristin Holt

 

Madam, is that a duck on your hat?

: Or, Victorian Hats (1880s) decorated with feathers

 

Feathers for Decoration

Hat styles changed and developed throughout the nineteenth century, incorporating all sorts of materials and methods of design. Feathers became a particularly popular decoration for ladies' hats in the 1880s.

Kristin Holt | Madam, is that a duck on your hat? 1880s Ladies Hats (contains two fashion plates from the 1880s, showing colorized styles for the era).

Sometimes entire wings were used to spruce up a hat. Other times, a single plume, or a very large assortment weighed down a delightful confection. Heavy hats were blamed for headaches back in the day.

Kristin Holt | Madam, is that a duck on your hat? Image of a Met Museum website's surviving Victorian ladies hat, decorated with feathers.

Apparently some really liked to adorn their costumes with feathers.

Kristin Holt | Madam, is that a duck on your hat? More Victorian Adornment with feathers, this time a stoll and muff, with seagull feathers, heads, and beaks.
NYhistory.org image of Seagull scarf(?) and muff. A fine example of Creepy Victorian Styles.

This creepy seagull wrap and muff aren't the only "feathers with a face"... look at this vintage hat on display from Victoriana.

Kristin Holt | Madam, is that a duck on your hat? Bird's feathers and birds heads decorate hats. Image courtesy of Victoriana.com.

Victorians and Artificial Feathers

Yes, artificial feathers. Victorian-American inventors worked hard on this problem, for the demand for feathers was steep!

"Artificial Feathers" are not quite what you think with today's manufacturing miracles. Read on! This article appeared in the great Old West newspaper the Reno Gazette-Journal of Reno, Nevada back on May 8, 1899, when the social world sort of had its tail in a twist over the use of feathers (and the sheer quantity of avian lives, too).

Kristin Holt | Madam, is that a duck on your hat? Feathered Finery: Plumage for Millinery Now Artificially Produced. The humble Barnyard Fowl Now Furnishs The Material for a Great Deal of the New Hat Trimming. Part 1 of 3.
Kristin Holt | Madam, is that a duck on your hat? Feathered Finery: Plumage for Millinery Now Artificially Produced. The humble Barnyard Fowl Now Furnishs The Material for a Great Deal of the New Hat Trimming. Part 2 of 3.
Kristin Holt | Madam, is that a duck on your hat? Feathered Finery: Plumage for Millinery Now Artificially Produced. The humble Barnyard Fowl Now Furnishs The Material for a Great Deal of the New Hat Trimming. Part 3 of 3.

Beautiful, aren't they?

Kristin Holt | Madam, is that a duck on your hat? Vintage photograph, Victorian, showing a white feathered wint decorating a young woman's hat.

Do you have the knack to paint a plain hen's feather into a magical and almost-perfect fabrication of a peacock? I don't. It's probably a good thing I'm not trying to remain stylish in the 1880s on a meager income.

A few related articles:

Kristin Holt | Victorian-American Headaches: Part 1 (hats are the cause!)

Kristin Holt | Hat Etiquette of the Victorian Era

Kristin Holt | Ladies Fashions: Huge Sleeves of the 1890s

Invitation


Have you thoughts you'd like to share?

Would you wear a hat with a bouncing bird on it?

I had a good deal of fun writing silly and highly decorated late-Victorian-era hats for my characters. You'll find hats like these in The Menace Takes a Bride and in Isabella's Calico Groom. Have you read either, and noticed the hats-- or read another title by any author, where hats were an interesting connection?

Please scroll down and share your thoughts! "Conversation" is the best part. =)

Kristin Holt Writes Sweet Western Historical Romances set in the Victorian American West.

Copyright © 2020 Kristin Holt LC 

2 comments:

  1. This is so very interesting, Thank you for sharing this information. And No, I would not like to wear a duck or goose or whatever on my head, but I guess back then it was the style. Have a Great weekend. I enjoyed reading this post. God Bless you.

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  2. I'm glad there are synthetic substitutes for the real thing.

    ReplyDelete