Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Elizabethan Top Hats

Elizabethan's loved hats, (though during the time they called them Bonnets! Yes Bonnets! Even for the men!) and one of my serious pet peeves in in Elizabethan or Tudor shows where they have nothing on their heads, or have their hair down. Men can do without head gear, though they usually didn't when they went out, but Ladies ALMOST NEVER went out without something on their head covering up their hair. Particularly, if any of you have watched the HBO special, The Tudors, so many of the women are wearing their hair down behind (what I guess you could call) a french hood. This is not period correct. They would have worn a veil. I do think I read somewhere that Anne Boleyn wore her hair down to her execution, but that was really about it. So..that's my rant.

But one of my favorite hats that they wore in Elizabethan times is the top hat. I recently made one and will be posting my walk-through of it soon, but for now, here are a few of the references I used for inspiration! Most of these images I got from the Facebook group, Elizabethan Costume, but I also found some on Pinterest (where you can follow me if you like) or google search.

 A page from Janet Arnold's, Patterns of Fashion: the cut and construction of clothes for men and women c1560-1620. I believe this particular image is from an earlier release, because in my own version of this book, these three hats are found on different pages. But aren't they gorgeous? I specifically love the white leather one...I might have to recreate that one at some point..

The Duke of Anjou, youngest son of Henry II, King of France, with a lovely black toque, similar to a top hat, but there isn't much of a brim, and the top part of the hat is less structured. He started his courtship of Elizabeth I in 1579, but they were never married.

Oliver St John, 1st Baron St John of Bletso, by Arnold Bronckorst, c1578

Elizabeth Littleton, Lady Willoughby, by George Gower c1575. A good example of a Lady's top hat, though the picture is rather dark. A specific quote from a friend of mine, Frank Skony, "George Gower painted both this, and the portrait of Sir Francis Willoughby at the same time. His cost 10 pounds, while hers cost 30 pounds due to her insistence on wearing such a complicated outfit. Sir Francis was not happy."

Queen Elizabeth I wearing a cute little Lady's top hat. I will make myself one of these some day...

After I compete, I plan on posting a step by step of how I made my top hat, including the mistakes I made. For now, here is a great tutorial I read through (though I didn't follow all of it) that shows you how to make a flat cap or a tall hat.

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