The Cloche had it's heyday in the 1920's but it evolved from an early time. The Cloche was seen as 'fashionable' from the very early 1900's to as late as the mid 1930's. The word cloche is French for 'bell' and that was what these hats look like. A fitted crown with a slight bell shape. They were worn low on the forehead almost covering the eyes and they covered the ears. They were usually made of felt, but were also seen in lovely fabrics as well as the more everyday knit and crochet versions.
Fashion was as important as ever and with the new found freedom, hemlines were shorter, more skin was shown and women started to cut off their hair. The Cloche was the perfect accessory for these shorter styles. As to whether the hat shape preceded the hairstyles of the times or vice versa, it is unsure, but they lived happily together throughout the 1920's. Some of my favorite 20's images, as seen on the covers of the Saturday Evening Post and Vogue Magazine, portray women of wealth with a regal, haughty look to them. The Cloche had a lot to do with that. The Cloche affected the body posture of its wearer. It was worn so low over the eyes, that a certain angle had to be obtained in order to see, talk or walk. One had to hold the head high, chin up and look down one's nose!
and of course, on a scale of 1 to 10, the infamous Josephine and Daphne get a 10!!!
Factoid: The Cloche hats that flappers wore had secret meanings.... the codes were:
- A firm knot trim indicated the wearer was married and unavailable.
- A arrow shaped ribbon indicated a single girl that was already in love with someone.
- A flashy bow meant single and looking for love.