Vintage mid- to late 20s garden party cloche in copper brown novelty straw braid is trimmed in cinnamon, peach and sage green velvet flowers and foliage. It features an asymmetrical wide brim which sweeps over and drapes down alongside the left eye to create a romantic, wind-swept silhouette.
Made of two parts—a close-fitting cloche crown with a fabric-like fold on the left side, and the flared, flowing brim section, which is attached about an inch up from the crown base—the unlined, unstructured hat is both pliable and lightweight. Novelty straw braids or “plaits” were popular throughout the 1920s, with hats fashioned of everything from rustic “barnyard” to fuzzy “caterpillar” braid, and the unusual braid used here might well be dubbed corkscrew or spiral braid, as the straw in it seems to be worked into loops like curling ribbon.
Asymmetrical brims were on trend as well, starting in the mid-1920s and becoming the signature silhouette of famous milliner Rose Valois by 1930. As one 1926 fashion columnist noted, asymmetry had come into vogue in a number of ways--from dresses that showed one color in front and another in back, to mismatched stockings, monocles, and bracelets stacked on a single arm (in contrast to the Victorian wearing of paired bangles). One factor (according to a 1929 article) was that, when women grew out their bobs toward the end of the decade, “drooping hats” that “dip[ped] on the nape” helped disguise the “untidy ends of growing out locks which might be found beneath them”. In any event, as a 1928 fashion article observed: “With the larger hats with…brim cut wide…and drooping downward, this extension proves a pleasing background for the profile.”
Please see photo #9 for some examples of asymmetrically brimmed and “drooping” hats from 1928-1930. (Since, typically, the “droop” in this millinery silhouette fell over the right eye, to keep the hat from interfering with any lapel flowers fastened at the left shoulder, it is possible that the example being offered here was made for a left-handed woman!)
Measuring inner circumference 23”, side to side 14”, and front to back 11” (across the bottom), the hat has a crown depth of 6” and is in excellent condition, with no issues other than a touch of age-related wear to the velvet flowers.
Proud Member of the VFG Vintage Fashion Guild
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