Truly, the more nearly the natural outline of the form is followed in dress, the better the artistic effect. This is why the hats of the present moment are so very charming. They are so low of crown and wide of brim that they do not hide or distort the shape of the head, and as there is no exaggeration in the coiffure also, the result is very pleasant. The feathers drooping down from the hat and showing behind the ear, or the lace falling at the back of the head, gives a touch of picturesqueness that is quite allowable, and almost universally becoming. Some of the new hats are provided with quite a veil to hang down behind, but there is no need to go to such extremes — a light fall of lace or one or two feathery tips are sufficient. Felt hats trimmed with flowers are plentiful among the models. One pale-grey hairy felt was trimmed with alternate groups of pink roses and Czar violets, and this was very effective; under the brim at the left side was a small bandeau covered with roses to throw up the shape a little above the face. A white soft felt with two sweeping black plumes down the left side of the back and round the front to the right, with a binding of black velvet at the edge, was as smart as it was becoming; a good ostrich feather has a distinction all its own, and immediately makes a hat smart.

The two hats that appear at the right accompanied the present article whole those at left come from the issue of 1 November. [Click on images to enlarge them.]

Three-cornered or marquise shapes are still seen. Stiff wings are frequently used to trim these, and may be placed quite at the edges, one wing above each car, the tips of the wings drooping over the brim of the hat. The hairy-surfaced felts, by the way, are called by the milliners, “zibeline” felts. Another of these, a wide, flat shape, was cream-coloured and edged with a roll of moss-green velvet, over which fell a little flounce of yellowish lace. A twist of green velvet, a big bright steel buckle, and a brush osprey upstanding at the left side, completed the trimming, while a bandeau under the brim, raising the whole slightly over the left car, was finished off with a large bow of green velvet. Although the shapes are perfectly flat, a bandeau is usually placed inside to keep the head-covering off the face, and this is most becoming to women who have their hair waved and worn full in front.

Fruit is to be seen on autumn millinery, and is mingled with tinted autumn leaves, especially those of the bramblc in their bright tones. Grapes are the special fancy of the moment. They are made in very dainty guise; green grapes with the bloom on their surface in particular are well copied. Quite good-sized apples figured on one chapeau, in company with cerise velvet and black lace, the foundation of all being folded dark red cloth. The last-named material is popular for covering toque shapes, and can be bent about to suit the countenance. The black lace passed carelessly round that particular red-cloth shape, and fell down at the back in a deep loop, that filled in the sides of the face very becomingly. While smooth cloth is most suited for weaving into shape as a toque, zibeline cloth is also taken advantage of, and has the special claim to notice that it will not spot if a few drops of rain should fall upon its surface. One toque was composed of alternate folds of grey zibeline cloth and dark red panne, and, fully trimmed with a rather bright red bird and loops of the red panne falling down the back, was successful. Velvet is always used for hats for the cool weather; it drapes so softly and prettily.

If abundance that reaches to the point of superabundance is justifiable, it is in the matter of the hats that a woman owns. It is essential that each costume shall have its appropriate chapeau to harmonise with it, and that any costume that is nondescript and in frequent use shall have plenty of different hats to wear with it to make a change. A little French friend of mine, when an Englishwoman said to her that there should be a hat for every gown, replied that she wanted a hat for every one of her own moods — and they were many indeed! At any rate, the hat, which is the crown of the costume, is also one of the most moderate in price of all the leading details, and one in which generosity to yourself is desirable. It is one, too, in which a good deal of latitude is allowed. liven now, if the flat shapes, the marquises, and the broad folded toques all fail to suit you, there are a few entirely different new models, showing the “jam-pot ” crown above a wide brim, the height of which may please some countenanccs best, after all.

[You may use these images without prior permission for any scholarly or educational purpose as long as you (1) credit the Hathi Trust and The University of Chicago Library and (2) link your document to this URL in a web document or cite the Victorian Web in a print one. — George P. Landow]


“Ladies’s Page.” Illustrated London News. 50 (11 October and 1 November 1902): 548 and 664. Hathi Trust web version of a copy in The University of Chicago Library. Web. 4 January 2016

Last modified 5 January 2016