Straw hats were fashionable in predominately two styles during the 1920s. The boater hat, a shallow, narrow-brimmed straw hat was popular on both men and women and could be worn during boating and other outdoor excursions. The wide brim hat was also very popular for women during the 1920s, especially as the brim was dramatically extended to make it more fashionable.
Straw hats come in various styles and shapes with a round brim comprising plant fibers including dried straw or reeds. During the 1920s, straw hats were worn for protection against the sun and heatstroke during the summer months, in addition to being fashionable. Straw hats have been worn since the ancient Greeks. Because of their economy, stylishness and utility, they were worn during the 1920s by both males and females of different classes. Embellishing straw hats with ribbons, feathers and hatbands was common practice during the 1920s.
The boater hat was introduced to America in the 1880s by Italian immigrants. They are referred to as boaters because they were commonly worn by gondoliers in Venice. The boater also became a popular hat to wear during boating excursions throughout the late 19th and early 20th centuries. This style of hat has is shallow and sits on top of the head with a narrow brim. The boater hat was worn by performers in Vaudeville, yachting enthusiasts and Gene Kelly and Fred Astaire throughout the early portion of the 20th century.
Wide Brim Hats
Wide brim straw hats were commonly worn as a modest head covering during the summer months. These hats both protected the face and head from the sun and provided a functional option for hat wearing. During the 1920s, the trend of wide brim hats was made more stylish when the size of the brim became even more exaggerated and women began folding up one side of the hat's brim in a jaunty manner. These hats were fashionable the era's "Gibson Girl," a drawing of the feminine ideal held commonly throughout the late 18th and early 19th centuries.
Straw hats of the 1920s were commonly embellished around the brim to make them more formal. Men often wore simple boater hats that had a wide silk hat band of various colors around it. Women tended to dress up the boater hat with a wider variety of embellishments including thick, patterned and colorful hat bands, ribbons, feathers and silk and fresh flowers.