When is a bonnet not a bonnet?

 The answer seems to be, when it's a hat. But it could be, "it's a mystery."

Bonnet2Hi, Jo Beverley here. As Pat said, we got talking about headwear, and I began to wonder when bonnets, in the way we usually think about them — which I assume is as in the picture at the left — came into being. 

Was the brimmed bonnet a 19th century invention? My experience is that in the mid 18th century at least, people spoke of hats, and they didn't have anything that tied beneath the chin. As in the picture at the right.  I know we have some costume experts here, so perhaps someone can expand on what I found out. 1764hat

 The Oxford English Dictionary has this general definition of "bonnet" which is, A head-dress of women out of doors; distinguished from a hat (at present)  mainly by the want of a brim, and by its covering no part of the forehead.

It's a bit unsatisfactory. The "want of the brim" implies that in the earlier examples below the bonnet is what's sometimes called a Scotch bonnet, ie, more like a beret. The "out of doors" doesn't cover the many occasions when a bonnet is a soft, indoor head covering. But here we have these examples of usage.

1499   Acct. in Comm.-place Bk. 15th C. (1886) 167   It. for a bonet of welwete bowte for hyr at Norweche.

?a1513   W. Dunbar Poems (1998) 149   Pryd, With bair wyld bak and bonet on syd.

1530   Papers Earls of Cumbld. in Whitaker Hist. Craven 305   Three black velvet bonnetts for women.

1716   S. Masters Brit. Patent 403   A new way of working and staining in straw and..adorning hatts and bonnetts.

1786   Lounger No. 79   The progress of bonnets from the quaker to the Shepherdess and Kitty Fisher, and thence to the Werter, the Lunardi, and Parachute.

I tried looking up these bonnets and found nothing except for the Lunardi. Lunardi was a famous balloonist, and this was named for him. "(balloon-shaped and standing some 600 mm tall)" according to Wikipedia. 600 mm is about 2 feet. More here. However, I would say the Lounger, a periodical, was referring to items we would think of as bonnets, though I'm not sure any had brims and ribbons.

By 1881  R. G. White Eng. Without & Within ii. 55 states that "A bonnet has strings, I believe, and a hat has not." That "I believe" suggests confusion, and it's hardly surprising.

I consulted La Belle Assemblee. There are a lot of them available on googlebooks here. Unfortunately many seem to be missing their fashion plates.

They don't provide much clarity. Take this explanation of a plate. It calls this confection a hat, but it has ribbons. It does, however, lack a brim. What are we to conclude — other than that ladies were encouraged to dress extremely distractingly for the opera?

1816opera 1816desc

 

A description from an 1815 edition of LBA on Parisian style is particularly confusing, especially as there is no illustration to go with it.

Of course, once Napoleon was done for, Paris and Parisian fashion was the latest thing, so this would have been read with great attention. As a character in The Viscount Needs a Wife remarks, France is the old enemy and Britain had just emerged from a long war with them, but everyone is rushing over to Paris to learn the latest styles.

"As the French ladies study, with the most careful precision, that laudable part of coquetry which teaches them to adopt those fashions which are best suited to set off their persons, so it is not to be wondered at that they pay particular attention to the most lovely and exalted part of the human form, the head.

Here the various caprices of taste and fancy are most eminently displayed; here the Parisian beauty attracts the eye, as she sometimes spurts a hat of cloth, of the same colour as her pelisse; another challenges admiration, and sometimes envy, by a scarce and costly article, a hat of Chinese velvet, stamped in clouds, or of a snow-like whiteness: scarce has the passer-by regarded this elegant fair one, than another whimsical worshipper of fashion darts on his sight, in a black velvet hat spotted with rose colour, surmounted by plumes of black feathers: the next, in a hat of simple black velvet, a belle blonde, adds thereby to the dazzling fairness of her complexion; another, with much intelligence marked in her fine blue eye, attracts the general admiration by a late new fashioued bonnet of the helmet kind, called the Spartan bonnet; while another presents herself in a large black chip or straw bonnet, leaning on her friend, who wears a hat of silk shag, turned up on each side. The crowns of the hats lower visibly every day, and one kind of bonnet seems to be prevalent at the museums and at morning lounges; it is of cloth with a very flat crown, and is ornamented with gold lace."

It probably all made perfect sense to the English lady studying this news, but it befuddles me. 

P1299w Joseph Wright 'Mr and Mrs Thomas Coltman', c1769It's not helped by the fact that most ladies had portraits set indoors, so there aren't many head-coverings on view there other than frilly lace caps. Let's not get into the word cap! 

This portrait, which is one of my favorites, bucks the trend, and the Georgian lady has a very stylish hat. I've always liked it for Rothgar's half-sister Hilda, and her down-to-earth husband, Lord Steen, enjoying their country life away from the dramas of London. There's more about the Georgian Malloren family here.

I think I'll stick to my practice of calling a hat something that sits on the head without ribbons beneath the chin, and a bonnet something that has such ribbons.

Bonnet

Here are a couple more. A Regency bonnet, I think, and a Georgian hat. I think this lady is very proud of her headwear!

What do you think?

I'll give a copy of Too Dangerous for a Lady to one commenter here, so have your say. Another question. When did you last see a hat or bonnet on the cover of a romance?

Blackhat

 

 

Jo

 

 

 

 

 

 

180 thoughts on “When is a bonnet not a bonnet?”

  1. I read somewhere recently that a bonnet is a hat with a brim in the front but no brim at the back. I think they tended to have ribbons or strings to hold them on.
    If the brim in the front was very large, so that one couldn’t see the face unless one was right in front of the wearer, it was called a poke bonnet. There was speculation that this was because one had to poke one’s face into the bonnet to see in, but I thought that was a little far-fetched.

    Reply
  2. I read somewhere recently that a bonnet is a hat with a brim in the front but no brim at the back. I think they tended to have ribbons or strings to hold them on.
    If the brim in the front was very large, so that one couldn’t see the face unless one was right in front of the wearer, it was called a poke bonnet. There was speculation that this was because one had to poke one’s face into the bonnet to see in, but I thought that was a little far-fetched.

    Reply
  3. I read somewhere recently that a bonnet is a hat with a brim in the front but no brim at the back. I think they tended to have ribbons or strings to hold them on.
    If the brim in the front was very large, so that one couldn’t see the face unless one was right in front of the wearer, it was called a poke bonnet. There was speculation that this was because one had to poke one’s face into the bonnet to see in, but I thought that was a little far-fetched.

    Reply
  4. I read somewhere recently that a bonnet is a hat with a brim in the front but no brim at the back. I think they tended to have ribbons or strings to hold them on.
    If the brim in the front was very large, so that one couldn’t see the face unless one was right in front of the wearer, it was called a poke bonnet. There was speculation that this was because one had to poke one’s face into the bonnet to see in, but I thought that was a little far-fetched.

    Reply
  5. I read somewhere recently that a bonnet is a hat with a brim in the front but no brim at the back. I think they tended to have ribbons or strings to hold them on.
    If the brim in the front was very large, so that one couldn’t see the face unless one was right in front of the wearer, it was called a poke bonnet. There was speculation that this was because one had to poke one’s face into the bonnet to see in, but I thought that was a little far-fetched.

    Reply
  6. Hi, Jo,
    Back in the sixteenth century men’s hats were called bonnets. George Macdonald Fraser used that in the title The Steel Bonnets, a history of the border wars between England and Scotland. I always visualize helmets with brims, but I’m not positive that’s right.
    Kathy/Kaitlyn

    Reply
  7. Hi, Jo,
    Back in the sixteenth century men’s hats were called bonnets. George Macdonald Fraser used that in the title The Steel Bonnets, a history of the border wars between England and Scotland. I always visualize helmets with brims, but I’m not positive that’s right.
    Kathy/Kaitlyn

    Reply
  8. Hi, Jo,
    Back in the sixteenth century men’s hats were called bonnets. George Macdonald Fraser used that in the title The Steel Bonnets, a history of the border wars between England and Scotland. I always visualize helmets with brims, but I’m not positive that’s right.
    Kathy/Kaitlyn

    Reply
  9. Hi, Jo,
    Back in the sixteenth century men’s hats were called bonnets. George Macdonald Fraser used that in the title The Steel Bonnets, a history of the border wars between England and Scotland. I always visualize helmets with brims, but I’m not positive that’s right.
    Kathy/Kaitlyn

    Reply
  10. Hi, Jo,
    Back in the sixteenth century men’s hats were called bonnets. George Macdonald Fraser used that in the title The Steel Bonnets, a history of the border wars between England and Scotland. I always visualize helmets with brims, but I’m not positive that’s right.
    Kathy/Kaitlyn

    Reply
  11. I actually recently found a paperback copy of Gaelen Foley’s The Duke that has a truly historically accurate cover – bonnets and all! Even though I already had a couple of copies of it, I bought that one in an instant.
    Endeavour Press in the UK is rereleasing older books with more accurate covers at the moment (though the people are in silhouette). I find myself getting their books for review just because of the pictures.

    Reply
  12. I actually recently found a paperback copy of Gaelen Foley’s The Duke that has a truly historically accurate cover – bonnets and all! Even though I already had a couple of copies of it, I bought that one in an instant.
    Endeavour Press in the UK is rereleasing older books with more accurate covers at the moment (though the people are in silhouette). I find myself getting their books for review just because of the pictures.

    Reply
  13. I actually recently found a paperback copy of Gaelen Foley’s The Duke that has a truly historically accurate cover – bonnets and all! Even though I already had a couple of copies of it, I bought that one in an instant.
    Endeavour Press in the UK is rereleasing older books with more accurate covers at the moment (though the people are in silhouette). I find myself getting their books for review just because of the pictures.

    Reply
  14. I actually recently found a paperback copy of Gaelen Foley’s The Duke that has a truly historically accurate cover – bonnets and all! Even though I already had a couple of copies of it, I bought that one in an instant.
    Endeavour Press in the UK is rereleasing older books with more accurate covers at the moment (though the people are in silhouette). I find myself getting their books for review just because of the pictures.

    Reply
  15. I actually recently found a paperback copy of Gaelen Foley’s The Duke that has a truly historically accurate cover – bonnets and all! Even though I already had a couple of copies of it, I bought that one in an instant.
    Endeavour Press in the UK is rereleasing older books with more accurate covers at the moment (though the people are in silhouette). I find myself getting their books for review just because of the pictures.

    Reply
  16. The last bonnet I ever wore was an absolutely enormous thing for a Gilbert and Sullivan ballet (Gilbert and Sullivan: Victorian comedy, so not all that true to any decade! https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gilbert_and_Sullivan). I still can’t figure out when that costume was supposed to be from. Try and do pas de deux when wearing the world’s biggest bonnet (and gloves, cravat, naval hat etc.)! It’s insane!
    I actually have a lot of questions I wish I could ask the milliner who did a number of my headdresses, but I don’t even remember her name, let alone keep in touch with her.
    “It’s not helped by the fact that most ladies had portraits set indoors, so there aren’t many head-coverings on view there other than frilly lace caps.”
    I was just having a discussion about the anachronistic attitudes to hair and hats in period movies and shows, and this might be a big reason for it. I try and explain to people that a woman going out with her hair down, hatless and gloveless is a bit like going out in just your underwear today, but most people have this odd image of the past. It is very true that most portraits do not include all the accessories.

    Reply
  17. The last bonnet I ever wore was an absolutely enormous thing for a Gilbert and Sullivan ballet (Gilbert and Sullivan: Victorian comedy, so not all that true to any decade! https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gilbert_and_Sullivan). I still can’t figure out when that costume was supposed to be from. Try and do pas de deux when wearing the world’s biggest bonnet (and gloves, cravat, naval hat etc.)! It’s insane!
    I actually have a lot of questions I wish I could ask the milliner who did a number of my headdresses, but I don’t even remember her name, let alone keep in touch with her.
    “It’s not helped by the fact that most ladies had portraits set indoors, so there aren’t many head-coverings on view there other than frilly lace caps.”
    I was just having a discussion about the anachronistic attitudes to hair and hats in period movies and shows, and this might be a big reason for it. I try and explain to people that a woman going out with her hair down, hatless and gloveless is a bit like going out in just your underwear today, but most people have this odd image of the past. It is very true that most portraits do not include all the accessories.

    Reply
  18. The last bonnet I ever wore was an absolutely enormous thing for a Gilbert and Sullivan ballet (Gilbert and Sullivan: Victorian comedy, so not all that true to any decade! https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gilbert_and_Sullivan). I still can’t figure out when that costume was supposed to be from. Try and do pas de deux when wearing the world’s biggest bonnet (and gloves, cravat, naval hat etc.)! It’s insane!
    I actually have a lot of questions I wish I could ask the milliner who did a number of my headdresses, but I don’t even remember her name, let alone keep in touch with her.
    “It’s not helped by the fact that most ladies had portraits set indoors, so there aren’t many head-coverings on view there other than frilly lace caps.”
    I was just having a discussion about the anachronistic attitudes to hair and hats in period movies and shows, and this might be a big reason for it. I try and explain to people that a woman going out with her hair down, hatless and gloveless is a bit like going out in just your underwear today, but most people have this odd image of the past. It is very true that most portraits do not include all the accessories.

    Reply
  19. The last bonnet I ever wore was an absolutely enormous thing for a Gilbert and Sullivan ballet (Gilbert and Sullivan: Victorian comedy, so not all that true to any decade! https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gilbert_and_Sullivan). I still can’t figure out when that costume was supposed to be from. Try and do pas de deux when wearing the world’s biggest bonnet (and gloves, cravat, naval hat etc.)! It’s insane!
    I actually have a lot of questions I wish I could ask the milliner who did a number of my headdresses, but I don’t even remember her name, let alone keep in touch with her.
    “It’s not helped by the fact that most ladies had portraits set indoors, so there aren’t many head-coverings on view there other than frilly lace caps.”
    I was just having a discussion about the anachronistic attitudes to hair and hats in period movies and shows, and this might be a big reason for it. I try and explain to people that a woman going out with her hair down, hatless and gloveless is a bit like going out in just your underwear today, but most people have this odd image of the past. It is very true that most portraits do not include all the accessories.

    Reply
  20. The last bonnet I ever wore was an absolutely enormous thing for a Gilbert and Sullivan ballet (Gilbert and Sullivan: Victorian comedy, so not all that true to any decade! https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gilbert_and_Sullivan). I still can’t figure out when that costume was supposed to be from. Try and do pas de deux when wearing the world’s biggest bonnet (and gloves, cravat, naval hat etc.)! It’s insane!
    I actually have a lot of questions I wish I could ask the milliner who did a number of my headdresses, but I don’t even remember her name, let alone keep in touch with her.
    “It’s not helped by the fact that most ladies had portraits set indoors, so there aren’t many head-coverings on view there other than frilly lace caps.”
    I was just having a discussion about the anachronistic attitudes to hair and hats in period movies and shows, and this might be a big reason for it. I try and explain to people that a woman going out with her hair down, hatless and gloveless is a bit like going out in just your underwear today, but most people have this odd image of the past. It is very true that most portraits do not include all the accessories.

    Reply
  21. Sorry for the seven-hundred-gazillion posts (we can’t edit on this site, can we…?), but I just remembered there is a site run by amazingly knowledgeable reenactors, called Frock Flicks.
    They know everything about Georgian(ish) era fashions, down to the correct stitching for different things, and even have Hollywood people contacting them for advice:
    http://www.frockflicks.com/

    Reply
  22. Sorry for the seven-hundred-gazillion posts (we can’t edit on this site, can we…?), but I just remembered there is a site run by amazingly knowledgeable reenactors, called Frock Flicks.
    They know everything about Georgian(ish) era fashions, down to the correct stitching for different things, and even have Hollywood people contacting them for advice:
    http://www.frockflicks.com/

    Reply
  23. Sorry for the seven-hundred-gazillion posts (we can’t edit on this site, can we…?), but I just remembered there is a site run by amazingly knowledgeable reenactors, called Frock Flicks.
    They know everything about Georgian(ish) era fashions, down to the correct stitching for different things, and even have Hollywood people contacting them for advice:
    http://www.frockflicks.com/

    Reply
  24. Sorry for the seven-hundred-gazillion posts (we can’t edit on this site, can we…?), but I just remembered there is a site run by amazingly knowledgeable reenactors, called Frock Flicks.
    They know everything about Georgian(ish) era fashions, down to the correct stitching for different things, and even have Hollywood people contacting them for advice:
    http://www.frockflicks.com/

    Reply
  25. Sorry for the seven-hundred-gazillion posts (we can’t edit on this site, can we…?), but I just remembered there is a site run by amazingly knowledgeable reenactors, called Frock Flicks.
    They know everything about Georgian(ish) era fashions, down to the correct stitching for different things, and even have Hollywood people contacting them for advice:
    http://www.frockflicks.com/

    Reply
  26. I really don’t have any idea of the difference, but I seem to remember my grandmother talking about a bonnet. I thought it was a very conservative type of head covering, possibly darkish in colour, with little or no ornamentation. Brims and ribbons to tie it under the chin were optional. for example the Salvation Army ladies wear bonnets as part of their uniform. Hats, on the other hand could be very flamboyant. Large or small brims, but colourful. In the Regency they had lots of trimmings – feathers, flowers, fruits, and bows. Straw or at least stiffened material. A bonnet did not attract attention whereas a hat was designed to do just that.

    Reply
  27. I really don’t have any idea of the difference, but I seem to remember my grandmother talking about a bonnet. I thought it was a very conservative type of head covering, possibly darkish in colour, with little or no ornamentation. Brims and ribbons to tie it under the chin were optional. for example the Salvation Army ladies wear bonnets as part of their uniform. Hats, on the other hand could be very flamboyant. Large or small brims, but colourful. In the Regency they had lots of trimmings – feathers, flowers, fruits, and bows. Straw or at least stiffened material. A bonnet did not attract attention whereas a hat was designed to do just that.

    Reply
  28. I really don’t have any idea of the difference, but I seem to remember my grandmother talking about a bonnet. I thought it was a very conservative type of head covering, possibly darkish in colour, with little or no ornamentation. Brims and ribbons to tie it under the chin were optional. for example the Salvation Army ladies wear bonnets as part of their uniform. Hats, on the other hand could be very flamboyant. Large or small brims, but colourful. In the Regency they had lots of trimmings – feathers, flowers, fruits, and bows. Straw or at least stiffened material. A bonnet did not attract attention whereas a hat was designed to do just that.

    Reply
  29. I really don’t have any idea of the difference, but I seem to remember my grandmother talking about a bonnet. I thought it was a very conservative type of head covering, possibly darkish in colour, with little or no ornamentation. Brims and ribbons to tie it under the chin were optional. for example the Salvation Army ladies wear bonnets as part of their uniform. Hats, on the other hand could be very flamboyant. Large or small brims, but colourful. In the Regency they had lots of trimmings – feathers, flowers, fruits, and bows. Straw or at least stiffened material. A bonnet did not attract attention whereas a hat was designed to do just that.

    Reply
  30. I really don’t have any idea of the difference, but I seem to remember my grandmother talking about a bonnet. I thought it was a very conservative type of head covering, possibly darkish in colour, with little or no ornamentation. Brims and ribbons to tie it under the chin were optional. for example the Salvation Army ladies wear bonnets as part of their uniform. Hats, on the other hand could be very flamboyant. Large or small brims, but colourful. In the Regency they had lots of trimmings – feathers, flowers, fruits, and bows. Straw or at least stiffened material. A bonnet did not attract attention whereas a hat was designed to do just that.

    Reply
  31. Wonderful Irving Berlin. Yes bonnet was much easier to rhyme with. I’ve always thought of bonnets as like the the poke bonnet style tied on and hats as sitting on your hair and in need of a lethal pin to hold it on. But then they had the huge decorated hats with the filmy scarves tieing them on…very confusing. But maybe the words simply became interchangeable over time and that led to the confusion. Like a synonym. I haven’t much worried about it. 😀

    Reply
  32. Wonderful Irving Berlin. Yes bonnet was much easier to rhyme with. I’ve always thought of bonnets as like the the poke bonnet style tied on and hats as sitting on your hair and in need of a lethal pin to hold it on. But then they had the huge decorated hats with the filmy scarves tieing them on…very confusing. But maybe the words simply became interchangeable over time and that led to the confusion. Like a synonym. I haven’t much worried about it. 😀

    Reply
  33. Wonderful Irving Berlin. Yes bonnet was much easier to rhyme with. I’ve always thought of bonnets as like the the poke bonnet style tied on and hats as sitting on your hair and in need of a lethal pin to hold it on. But then they had the huge decorated hats with the filmy scarves tieing them on…very confusing. But maybe the words simply became interchangeable over time and that led to the confusion. Like a synonym. I haven’t much worried about it. 😀

    Reply
  34. Wonderful Irving Berlin. Yes bonnet was much easier to rhyme with. I’ve always thought of bonnets as like the the poke bonnet style tied on and hats as sitting on your hair and in need of a lethal pin to hold it on. But then they had the huge decorated hats with the filmy scarves tieing them on…very confusing. But maybe the words simply became interchangeable over time and that led to the confusion. Like a synonym. I haven’t much worried about it. 😀

    Reply
  35. Wonderful Irving Berlin. Yes bonnet was much easier to rhyme with. I’ve always thought of bonnets as like the the poke bonnet style tied on and hats as sitting on your hair and in need of a lethal pin to hold it on. But then they had the huge decorated hats with the filmy scarves tieing them on…very confusing. But maybe the words simply became interchangeable over time and that led to the confusion. Like a synonym. I haven’t much worried about it. 😀

    Reply
  36. I agree that it’s confusing — and it’s so rare to see one pictured that I tend to forget that Regency women wore them. We’re so casual today, that it seems unimaginable to have something so awkward covering the head!

    Reply
  37. I agree that it’s confusing — and it’s so rare to see one pictured that I tend to forget that Regency women wore them. We’re so casual today, that it seems unimaginable to have something so awkward covering the head!

    Reply
  38. I agree that it’s confusing — and it’s so rare to see one pictured that I tend to forget that Regency women wore them. We’re so casual today, that it seems unimaginable to have something so awkward covering the head!

    Reply
  39. I agree that it’s confusing — and it’s so rare to see one pictured that I tend to forget that Regency women wore them. We’re so casual today, that it seems unimaginable to have something so awkward covering the head!

    Reply
  40. I agree that it’s confusing — and it’s so rare to see one pictured that I tend to forget that Regency women wore them. We’re so casual today, that it seems unimaginable to have something so awkward covering the head!

    Reply
  41. If there were no strings how was the hat held on? Hat pins? wearing a big “hat” outdoors, and being shielded from the sun, had to have something to anchor it.

    Reply
  42. If there were no strings how was the hat held on? Hat pins? wearing a big “hat” outdoors, and being shielded from the sun, had to have something to anchor it.

    Reply
  43. If there were no strings how was the hat held on? Hat pins? wearing a big “hat” outdoors, and being shielded from the sun, had to have something to anchor it.

    Reply
  44. If there were no strings how was the hat held on? Hat pins? wearing a big “hat” outdoors, and being shielded from the sun, had to have something to anchor it.

    Reply
  45. If there were no strings how was the hat held on? Hat pins? wearing a big “hat” outdoors, and being shielded from the sun, had to have something to anchor it.

    Reply
  46. I have always thought of bonnets as being tied on the head with ribbons. I also seem to picture them with front brims but no brims in back.
    Although I knew many people who were born before the Civil War (U. S.) their use of bonnet and their knowledge of bonnets would be too modern for Georgian (including Regency) styles. Still — my grandmother and other ladies who used the word clearly intended soft cloth head coverings tied under the chin with ribbons.

    Reply
  47. I have always thought of bonnets as being tied on the head with ribbons. I also seem to picture them with front brims but no brims in back.
    Although I knew many people who were born before the Civil War (U. S.) their use of bonnet and their knowledge of bonnets would be too modern for Georgian (including Regency) styles. Still — my grandmother and other ladies who used the word clearly intended soft cloth head coverings tied under the chin with ribbons.

    Reply
  48. I have always thought of bonnets as being tied on the head with ribbons. I also seem to picture them with front brims but no brims in back.
    Although I knew many people who were born before the Civil War (U. S.) their use of bonnet and their knowledge of bonnets would be too modern for Georgian (including Regency) styles. Still — my grandmother and other ladies who used the word clearly intended soft cloth head coverings tied under the chin with ribbons.

    Reply
  49. I have always thought of bonnets as being tied on the head with ribbons. I also seem to picture them with front brims but no brims in back.
    Although I knew many people who were born before the Civil War (U. S.) their use of bonnet and their knowledge of bonnets would be too modern for Georgian (including Regency) styles. Still — my grandmother and other ladies who used the word clearly intended soft cloth head coverings tied under the chin with ribbons.

    Reply
  50. I have always thought of bonnets as being tied on the head with ribbons. I also seem to picture them with front brims but no brims in back.
    Although I knew many people who were born before the Civil War (U. S.) their use of bonnet and their knowledge of bonnets would be too modern for Georgian (including Regency) styles. Still — my grandmother and other ladies who used the word clearly intended soft cloth head coverings tied under the chin with ribbons.

    Reply
  51. I always thought of bonnets as a type of hat that was tied on. Hat pins were used for hats. And some of those pins could have been used as lethal weapons.

    Reply
  52. I always thought of bonnets as a type of hat that was tied on. Hat pins were used for hats. And some of those pins could have been used as lethal weapons.

    Reply
  53. I always thought of bonnets as a type of hat that was tied on. Hat pins were used for hats. And some of those pins could have been used as lethal weapons.

    Reply
  54. I always thought of bonnets as a type of hat that was tied on. Hat pins were used for hats. And some of those pins could have been used as lethal weapons.

    Reply
  55. I always thought of bonnets as a type of hat that was tied on. Hat pins were used for hats. And some of those pins could have been used as lethal weapons.

    Reply
  56. Well, there’s that saying about a pig in a poke, which I think was a type of basket. It might have had something to do with that.
    There have been many attempts to define a brimmed bonnet, but I’m not sure anyone has nailed it.Fun, isn’t it?

    Reply
  57. Well, there’s that saying about a pig in a poke, which I think was a type of basket. It might have had something to do with that.
    There have been many attempts to define a brimmed bonnet, but I’m not sure anyone has nailed it.Fun, isn’t it?

    Reply
  58. Well, there’s that saying about a pig in a poke, which I think was a type of basket. It might have had something to do with that.
    There have been many attempts to define a brimmed bonnet, but I’m not sure anyone has nailed it.Fun, isn’t it?

    Reply
  59. Well, there’s that saying about a pig in a poke, which I think was a type of basket. It might have had something to do with that.
    There have been many attempts to define a brimmed bonnet, but I’m not sure anyone has nailed it.Fun, isn’t it?

    Reply
  60. Well, there’s that saying about a pig in a poke, which I think was a type of basket. It might have had something to do with that.
    There have been many attempts to define a brimmed bonnet, but I’m not sure anyone has nailed it.Fun, isn’t it?

    Reply
  61. Also, bonnets back then was sometimes used to mean a helmet, so completely steel. And cloth bonnets were like berets.
    If only people would stick to one meaning!

    Reply
  62. Also, bonnets back then was sometimes used to mean a helmet, so completely steel. And cloth bonnets were like berets.
    If only people would stick to one meaning!

    Reply
  63. Also, bonnets back then was sometimes used to mean a helmet, so completely steel. And cloth bonnets were like berets.
    If only people would stick to one meaning!

    Reply
  64. Also, bonnets back then was sometimes used to mean a helmet, so completely steel. And cloth bonnets were like berets.
    If only people would stick to one meaning!

    Reply
  65. Also, bonnets back then was sometimes used to mean a helmet, so completely steel. And cloth bonnets were like berets.
    If only people would stick to one meaning!

    Reply
  66. ” I try and explain to people that a woman going out with her hair down, hatless and gloveless is a bit like going out in just your underwear today”
    So true, and would have been true less than a century ago. Often for men as well as women.
    That pas de deux sounds hilarious! Good for you for managing it.

    Reply
  67. ” I try and explain to people that a woman going out with her hair down, hatless and gloveless is a bit like going out in just your underwear today”
    So true, and would have been true less than a century ago. Often for men as well as women.
    That pas de deux sounds hilarious! Good for you for managing it.

    Reply
  68. ” I try and explain to people that a woman going out with her hair down, hatless and gloveless is a bit like going out in just your underwear today”
    So true, and would have been true less than a century ago. Often for men as well as women.
    That pas de deux sounds hilarious! Good for you for managing it.

    Reply
  69. ” I try and explain to people that a woman going out with her hair down, hatless and gloveless is a bit like going out in just your underwear today”
    So true, and would have been true less than a century ago. Often for men as well as women.
    That pas de deux sounds hilarious! Good for you for managing it.

    Reply
  70. ” I try and explain to people that a woman going out with her hair down, hatless and gloveless is a bit like going out in just your underwear today”
    So true, and would have been true less than a century ago. Often for men as well as women.
    That pas de deux sounds hilarious! Good for you for managing it.

    Reply
  71. I am unable to recall the last time I saw any kind of hat or bonnet on the cover of a romance. I feel sorry that women seldom wear hats of any type any more. Is it possible that bonnets were in more frequent and earlier use here in the US than in Britain. It seems that women here were wearing bonnets to protect themselves from the sun and wind at very early dates. Does anyone know?

    Reply
  72. I am unable to recall the last time I saw any kind of hat or bonnet on the cover of a romance. I feel sorry that women seldom wear hats of any type any more. Is it possible that bonnets were in more frequent and earlier use here in the US than in Britain. It seems that women here were wearing bonnets to protect themselves from the sun and wind at very early dates. Does anyone know?

    Reply
  73. I am unable to recall the last time I saw any kind of hat or bonnet on the cover of a romance. I feel sorry that women seldom wear hats of any type any more. Is it possible that bonnets were in more frequent and earlier use here in the US than in Britain. It seems that women here were wearing bonnets to protect themselves from the sun and wind at very early dates. Does anyone know?

    Reply
  74. I am unable to recall the last time I saw any kind of hat or bonnet on the cover of a romance. I feel sorry that women seldom wear hats of any type any more. Is it possible that bonnets were in more frequent and earlier use here in the US than in Britain. It seems that women here were wearing bonnets to protect themselves from the sun and wind at very early dates. Does anyone know?

    Reply
  75. I am unable to recall the last time I saw any kind of hat or bonnet on the cover of a romance. I feel sorry that women seldom wear hats of any type any more. Is it possible that bonnets were in more frequent and earlier use here in the US than in Britain. It seems that women here were wearing bonnets to protect themselves from the sun and wind at very early dates. Does anyone know?

    Reply
  76. It may be there is no real answer to this as the words may be somewhat interchangeable as we sometimes use a generic term for items. In Australia we generally talk about bathers which can be a bikini or a one piece.
    I think the confusion may lie in the medieval craft guilds. There certainly was a guild of bonnet makers and a hatter denotes quite different and dangerous processes. If we think of hats which were more rigid and the shaping achieved professionally from processed animal skins, they did not lend themselves easily to alteration beyond a band, ribbons or feathers. A bonnet on the other hand, whether purchased from a milliner or made domestically could be shaped or altered by normal sewing processes as the materials were less rigid and able to be sewn.
    If we think of men’s headgear hats are rigid and the cap is made of softer cloth moreover these caps are still called bonnets in some military units and bun nets in parts of Scotland.

    Reply
  77. It may be there is no real answer to this as the words may be somewhat interchangeable as we sometimes use a generic term for items. In Australia we generally talk about bathers which can be a bikini or a one piece.
    I think the confusion may lie in the medieval craft guilds. There certainly was a guild of bonnet makers and a hatter denotes quite different and dangerous processes. If we think of hats which were more rigid and the shaping achieved professionally from processed animal skins, they did not lend themselves easily to alteration beyond a band, ribbons or feathers. A bonnet on the other hand, whether purchased from a milliner or made domestically could be shaped or altered by normal sewing processes as the materials were less rigid and able to be sewn.
    If we think of men’s headgear hats are rigid and the cap is made of softer cloth moreover these caps are still called bonnets in some military units and bun nets in parts of Scotland.

    Reply
  78. It may be there is no real answer to this as the words may be somewhat interchangeable as we sometimes use a generic term for items. In Australia we generally talk about bathers which can be a bikini or a one piece.
    I think the confusion may lie in the medieval craft guilds. There certainly was a guild of bonnet makers and a hatter denotes quite different and dangerous processes. If we think of hats which were more rigid and the shaping achieved professionally from processed animal skins, they did not lend themselves easily to alteration beyond a band, ribbons or feathers. A bonnet on the other hand, whether purchased from a milliner or made domestically could be shaped or altered by normal sewing processes as the materials were less rigid and able to be sewn.
    If we think of men’s headgear hats are rigid and the cap is made of softer cloth moreover these caps are still called bonnets in some military units and bun nets in parts of Scotland.

    Reply
  79. It may be there is no real answer to this as the words may be somewhat interchangeable as we sometimes use a generic term for items. In Australia we generally talk about bathers which can be a bikini or a one piece.
    I think the confusion may lie in the medieval craft guilds. There certainly was a guild of bonnet makers and a hatter denotes quite different and dangerous processes. If we think of hats which were more rigid and the shaping achieved professionally from processed animal skins, they did not lend themselves easily to alteration beyond a band, ribbons or feathers. A bonnet on the other hand, whether purchased from a milliner or made domestically could be shaped or altered by normal sewing processes as the materials were less rigid and able to be sewn.
    If we think of men’s headgear hats are rigid and the cap is made of softer cloth moreover these caps are still called bonnets in some military units and bun nets in parts of Scotland.

    Reply
  80. It may be there is no real answer to this as the words may be somewhat interchangeable as we sometimes use a generic term for items. In Australia we generally talk about bathers which can be a bikini or a one piece.
    I think the confusion may lie in the medieval craft guilds. There certainly was a guild of bonnet makers and a hatter denotes quite different and dangerous processes. If we think of hats which were more rigid and the shaping achieved professionally from processed animal skins, they did not lend themselves easily to alteration beyond a band, ribbons or feathers. A bonnet on the other hand, whether purchased from a milliner or made domestically could be shaped or altered by normal sewing processes as the materials were less rigid and able to be sewn.
    If we think of men’s headgear hats are rigid and the cap is made of softer cloth moreover these caps are still called bonnets in some military units and bun nets in parts of Scotland.

    Reply
  81. I’ve always wondered how hats stayed on. How do you use a hat pin without pricking your head? They must be sharp if ladies used them as lock picks and weapons to defend their virtue, right?

    Reply
  82. I’ve always wondered how hats stayed on. How do you use a hat pin without pricking your head? They must be sharp if ladies used them as lock picks and weapons to defend their virtue, right?

    Reply
  83. I’ve always wondered how hats stayed on. How do you use a hat pin without pricking your head? They must be sharp if ladies used them as lock picks and weapons to defend their virtue, right?

    Reply
  84. I’ve always wondered how hats stayed on. How do you use a hat pin without pricking your head? They must be sharp if ladies used them as lock picks and weapons to defend their virtue, right?

    Reply
  85. I’ve always wondered how hats stayed on. How do you use a hat pin without pricking your head? They must be sharp if ladies used them as lock picks and weapons to defend their virtue, right?

    Reply
  86. In my research on 18th century fashions, the French fashion magazines (like Galerie des Modes) use “bonnet” to refer to gauzy caps, while “hats” are more substantial straw, felt, etc. This is definitely true of the 1780s; I haven’t done as thorough research for earlier decades.

    Reply
  87. In my research on 18th century fashions, the French fashion magazines (like Galerie des Modes) use “bonnet” to refer to gauzy caps, while “hats” are more substantial straw, felt, etc. This is definitely true of the 1780s; I haven’t done as thorough research for earlier decades.

    Reply
  88. In my research on 18th century fashions, the French fashion magazines (like Galerie des Modes) use “bonnet” to refer to gauzy caps, while “hats” are more substantial straw, felt, etc. This is definitely true of the 1780s; I haven’t done as thorough research for earlier decades.

    Reply
  89. In my research on 18th century fashions, the French fashion magazines (like Galerie des Modes) use “bonnet” to refer to gauzy caps, while “hats” are more substantial straw, felt, etc. This is definitely true of the 1780s; I haven’t done as thorough research for earlier decades.

    Reply
  90. In my research on 18th century fashions, the French fashion magazines (like Galerie des Modes) use “bonnet” to refer to gauzy caps, while “hats” are more substantial straw, felt, etc. This is definitely true of the 1780s; I haven’t done as thorough research for earlier decades.

    Reply
  91. I think it depends when we’re talking about, Annette. I suspect that back in the early 19th century, most women wore hats of some sort when outdoors. Sometimes it would be for weather, but mostly because it was decent.
    A quick look over various Ackermann prints of the time only shows women without hats in Bedlam!

    Reply
  92. I think it depends when we’re talking about, Annette. I suspect that back in the early 19th century, most women wore hats of some sort when outdoors. Sometimes it would be for weather, but mostly because it was decent.
    A quick look over various Ackermann prints of the time only shows women without hats in Bedlam!

    Reply
  93. I think it depends when we’re talking about, Annette. I suspect that back in the early 19th century, most women wore hats of some sort when outdoors. Sometimes it would be for weather, but mostly because it was decent.
    A quick look over various Ackermann prints of the time only shows women without hats in Bedlam!

    Reply
  94. I think it depends when we’re talking about, Annette. I suspect that back in the early 19th century, most women wore hats of some sort when outdoors. Sometimes it would be for weather, but mostly because it was decent.
    A quick look over various Ackermann prints of the time only shows women without hats in Bedlam!

    Reply
  95. I think it depends when we’re talking about, Annette. I suspect that back in the early 19th century, most women wore hats of some sort when outdoors. Sometimes it would be for weather, but mostly because it was decent.
    A quick look over various Ackermann prints of the time only shows women without hats in Bedlam!

    Reply
  96. Good points, Sheila, about the difference between hard form and soft.
    However, in the 18th century hats could be shaped — as in the three cornered hat — but also quite flat and made of straw or some such. So, yes, it changed over time.

    Reply
  97. Good points, Sheila, about the difference between hard form and soft.
    However, in the 18th century hats could be shaped — as in the three cornered hat — but also quite flat and made of straw or some such. So, yes, it changed over time.

    Reply
  98. Good points, Sheila, about the difference between hard form and soft.
    However, in the 18th century hats could be shaped — as in the three cornered hat — but also quite flat and made of straw or some such. So, yes, it changed over time.

    Reply
  99. Good points, Sheila, about the difference between hard form and soft.
    However, in the 18th century hats could be shaped — as in the three cornered hat — but also quite flat and made of straw or some such. So, yes, it changed over time.

    Reply
  100. Good points, Sheila, about the difference between hard form and soft.
    However, in the 18th century hats could be shaped — as in the three cornered hat — but also quite flat and made of straw or some such. So, yes, it changed over time.

    Reply
  101. I think hat pins work if there’s a solid structure of hair underneath, Mary, but I agree, not comfortable without! Perhaps that’s why the short hair of the 1920s led to cloche hats that could be pulled down tight!

    Reply
  102. I think hat pins work if there’s a solid structure of hair underneath, Mary, but I agree, not comfortable without! Perhaps that’s why the short hair of the 1920s led to cloche hats that could be pulled down tight!

    Reply
  103. I think hat pins work if there’s a solid structure of hair underneath, Mary, but I agree, not comfortable without! Perhaps that’s why the short hair of the 1920s led to cloche hats that could be pulled down tight!

    Reply
  104. I think hat pins work if there’s a solid structure of hair underneath, Mary, but I agree, not comfortable without! Perhaps that’s why the short hair of the 1920s led to cloche hats that could be pulled down tight!

    Reply
  105. I think hat pins work if there’s a solid structure of hair underneath, Mary, but I agree, not comfortable without! Perhaps that’s why the short hair of the 1920s led to cloche hats that could be pulled down tight!

    Reply
  106. I have what I would call an American Pioneer bonnet that I got in Pennsylvania when I was a kid – I think it may be called a sun bonnet or a poke bonnet – it doesn’t have anything to tie under the chin tho

    Reply
  107. I have what I would call an American Pioneer bonnet that I got in Pennsylvania when I was a kid – I think it may be called a sun bonnet or a poke bonnet – it doesn’t have anything to tie under the chin tho

    Reply
  108. I have what I would call an American Pioneer bonnet that I got in Pennsylvania when I was a kid – I think it may be called a sun bonnet or a poke bonnet – it doesn’t have anything to tie under the chin tho

    Reply
  109. I have what I would call an American Pioneer bonnet that I got in Pennsylvania when I was a kid – I think it may be called a sun bonnet or a poke bonnet – it doesn’t have anything to tie under the chin tho

    Reply
  110. I have what I would call an American Pioneer bonnet that I got in Pennsylvania when I was a kid – I think it may be called a sun bonnet or a poke bonnet – it doesn’t have anything to tie under the chin tho

    Reply
  111. Kendra, you’re the randomly picked winner of a copy of Too Dangerous For a Lady. If you see this, please e-mail me at jo @ jobev. com
    Your comment isn’t linked to an e-mail address, but I’ll try to track you down in some other way.

    Reply
  112. Kendra, you’re the randomly picked winner of a copy of Too Dangerous For a Lady. If you see this, please e-mail me at jo @ jobev. com
    Your comment isn’t linked to an e-mail address, but I’ll try to track you down in some other way.

    Reply
  113. Kendra, you’re the randomly picked winner of a copy of Too Dangerous For a Lady. If you see this, please e-mail me at jo @ jobev. com
    Your comment isn’t linked to an e-mail address, but I’ll try to track you down in some other way.

    Reply
  114. Kendra, you’re the randomly picked winner of a copy of Too Dangerous For a Lady. If you see this, please e-mail me at jo @ jobev. com
    Your comment isn’t linked to an e-mail address, but I’ll try to track you down in some other way.

    Reply
  115. Kendra, you’re the randomly picked winner of a copy of Too Dangerous For a Lady. If you see this, please e-mail me at jo @ jobev. com
    Your comment isn’t linked to an e-mail address, but I’ll try to track you down in some other way.

    Reply

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