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It stands to reason that the initial purpose of

head-dress was as simple covering

for protection against the elements,

made from readily available substances .

The first documented painting of a hat dates back to 3200 BC.

This ancient pictorial was discovered on an Egyptian tomb and

depicts an individual wearing what appears to be a hat made from straw.

In the 16th century the word milliner was introduced into the

English vernacular to refer to a person who makes hats.

The word origin is in reference to Milan, Italy as it was from there

that materials used in haberdashery were imported.

16th Century Fashion

Portrait of a 16th century woman showing head-dress which

completely covered the hair

(image from about.com)

It was during the 18th century that hat making became a professional craft,

moving from hearth to studio.

Detailed design and  construction established hat-wear as

another dress dimension.

An 18th century lady, painted by Charles Bretherton, 1782 

(image from hatsfromhistory.tumblr.com)

18th century hat-wear 

(18centuryfashion.tumblr.com)

In contrast to the flamboyance of 18th century hat design,

19th century hat-dress was less extravagant

a more subdued complimentary accompaniment of dress.

https://i0.wp.com/www.darvillsrareprints.com/images/images/Godey%27s%20Fashion/10.jpg

https://i2.wp.com/www.darvillsrareprints.com/Images/images/Godey%27s%20Fashion/2.jpg

19th century fashion, presented in Godey’s

one of the first American women’s magazines

(images from darevillsrareprints.com)

Hats are more than simple accessory.

 Head-dress is often the focal point of an ensemble.

The singular pieces showcased at Royal Ascot 2013

signify that hats are, in their own right,

fashion statement makers.