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.
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.
Apparently some really liked to adorn their costumes with feathers.
|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.
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).
Beautiful, aren't they?
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:
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. =)
Copyright © 2020 Kristin Holt LC