Vintage early 1940s fine straw poke bonnet features black grosgrain ribbon trim, edging the wide brim, banding the crown, and forming two sweet bows in front. A combination of elastic back strap and teardrop-shaped caplet inside the hat anchor it, so that it can sit fairly far back on the head and frame the face prettily.
Poke bonnet styles came into fashion in the late 1930s and became even more widespread with the release of the movie Gone With the Wind; period ads sometimes actually refer to them as “Gone With the Wind bonnets”. They were prized for their face-flattering silhouette (“short of brim behind and wide in front”, as one 1938 ad put it), as well as their demure, youthful air.
A 1939 ad opines that “"poke bonnets are new, part of a trend toward sentimental fashions which emphasize all the femininity a woman has", as well as "refreshing after a season when virtually every hat pitched over one eye".
They were frequently made of Milan straw (as here), often had veils hung romantically from the curving brims, and sometimes secured under the chin with old-fashioned ribbon ties. Photo #8 shows several period examples from the late 30s and early 40s; the hat in the upper right was identified as a “Gone With the Wind bonnet”.
Measuring 20” inside the inner caplet (which has some flexibility to it), the hat is 12.5” side to side and 13” front to back. Crown height is 2.5”; brim width is 4” in front and 2.5” in back.
(Please note that the hat is NOT an unusually small size--the caplet’s 20” circumference is just right for anchoring it at the back of normal size head).
Very good condition, with a bit of wear to the elastic strap. The original veil was in poor condition and has been removed.
Proud Member of the VFG Vintage Fashion Guild