Eva's Retro 60s Flashbacks
A Mad Hatter's Haberdash to the Brim
Long before John-n-n-n-y
plunged into the Depp-th of a rabbit hole and tunneled his way to Wonderland, mad hatters have mattered as a
matter of fact. Pulling rabbits out of hats, their madcap fantasies
transform fabrics and frills into heady wear for women: fedoras, berets, newsboy caps, toques, and
Accessories after the fact--
dress, shoes, white gloves, and handbag—hats put a feather in your cap or pull the wool over your
Blazing brimrod, haberdashery and millinery fashion trails through the Sixties was a mad hatter
named Halston who designed hats for Manhattan’s Bergdoff Goodman department store. Halston designed a pillbox hat made famous because of the head it
would rest on. Jacqueline, before the O, Bouvier Kennedy, wore a simple, unadorned bone, wool pillbox hat at
JFK’s presidential inauguration in 1961. So smitten with Halston’s design, the pillbox became the former
first lady’s trademark. She wore a pink one on the day her husband
was shot on November 22, 1963. The tragic reminder of our 35th president’s assassination triggered a sharp down-turn for the reign of the
Revered for her charm, glamour, and trendsetting
styles, American women emulated JBK’s signature pillbox hats. When she accidentally dented a pillbox hat, similar ones with dents
surfaced everywhere. This smallish, brimless, round hat characterized
by simplicity and elegance, featured straight sides and a level top. They most often came in solid colors and were usually unadorned except for a net
veil, single pin, or jewel. Made from an array of fabrics, one could turn heads in wool, velvet, mink, lynx,
fox, or leopard skin. In fact Bob Dylan, a mad hatter in his own right, composed a song about a jilted
lover—“Leopard-Skin Pillbox Hat” (1966).
Other mad hats of the Sixties:
Newsboy Cap - Rendered popular by the Beatles, this cap had a
strap above the bill with a button on each side and was made of corduroy, velvet, leather, or wool. Great for
Fedora –Think Bud Baxter (Jack Lemmon), struggling clerk
in a New York insurance company, discovering a quick way to climb the corporate ladder (The Apartment, 1960). Not surprising, the fedora went out of style during the
latter part of the Sixties decade.
Beret – Black ones
became associated with the Beatnik culture of the 60s. I also associate them with the cool kids in high school
who hung on the street corners downtown where the neon signs are pretty. “Green Berets” was the nickname for
the US Army’s Special Forces associated with exploits in Vietnam, commemorated by Sergeant Barry Sadler’s “The
Ballad of The Green Berets” (1966).
worn by men, this style of head wear resembling the fedora, featured a small brim that creased a little in
the front and turned up in the back. This style reached the height of
popularity in the 60s, favored by jazz and soul musicians tooting their own
Toque – Toques of the 1950s evolved into the bubble toque of the
1960s. It had less height and bubbled out.
As hairdos ballooned into complex beehives by 1969, most women’s hat styles went out of fashion.
Although, long straight hair styles worn by Hippies, resurrected the popularity of the floppy leather hat
.Various floppies also became stylish headwear for
the ladies who dressed “mod”.
No occasion was finer than an early Sixties Easter Sunday
morning to get all dolled up to go to church, accessorized with white kid gloves, patent leather shoes,
matching handbag, bonnet, and corsage. Trimmed to the brim, we filed into a church pew, nodding and bobbing
our heads in greeting to other parishoners without exchanging words. Great hats speak for themselves.
Click the book images to order your copy of the
Signed copies of the Paperback, 40 % off suggested retail, may
be acquired at the Authors Den Signed Bookstore via Eva’s web page: http://www.authorsden.com/evapasco