|Floppy hats were quite the thing in the 18th century|
Wide-brimmed, floppy hats were worn with great aplomb in the 18th century, paired with flowing and elaborate ground length skirts, as featured in many a Gainsborough painting and thus often called Gainsborough hats.
These were often decorated with large plumes and/or flowers and ribbons. It was a very feminine, showy style - fashionistas of this era weren't into understatement. In the 19th century Gainsborough hats were superceded by less expansive styles, however, remnants of the wide-brimmed floppy hat survived into the 20th century.
|Greta Garbo, peeping out from a floppy hat|
New Ways to Wear Old Stuff
|60s icon Faye Dunaway in an equally iconic floppy hat|
Reflecting the penchant of the era, the hit 60s film, Bonnie and Clyde, starring Faye Dunaway and Warren Beatty did much to popularise pre-war fashion and headwear and hats became vogueish. While in the 50s and early 60s small, pert hats and pillbox style had been popular, as the decade wore on, hat styles expanded.
|Classic bohemian 60s floppy hat|
In the late 60s and early 70s, the floppy hat in particular, became something of a symbol of bohemian hippy culture. These were often made of felt and worn with locks of long flowing hair cascading beneath the hat. The 60s was famous for commandeering iconic fashion items of the past and wearing them in new, irreverential ways.
|Brigitte Bardot outdoes the Gainsborough beauties in her gigantic 60s floppy hat|
Floppy hats are still popular on the beaches, as the wide brims offer protection from the elements, while making a distinctive style statement on behalf of the wearer. Not only that, but a large floppy hat and a pair of dark glasses can be an effective facade to hide behind, if need be. Just ask Greta Garbo...