Sunday, January 20, 2013


In my explorations around the tumblr-verse, I have been looking at various styles, including lolita for inspiration. One item that is generally not worn anymore (except by babies and religious groups like the Amish), but I see worn by some lolitas is the bonnet.

Bonnets have been worn in some variety since the Middle Ages, but what we tend to think of as bonnets really came into fashion in the 18th century. They started first as a brimless head covering, that was secured with ribbons under the chin. It was worn to keep the hair tidy, and keep dust and dirt out.
In the latter half of the 18th century, more loosely styled wraps like those below, became popular.

In the beginning of the 19th century, what is sometimes called the Poke Bonnet became fashionable. These were head coverings, with a stiff brim, that framed the face. Some brims were so long and narrow that when worn you could only see what was in front of you. This apparently allowed the wearer more privacy, but also hampered their vision.

A caricature of the Poke Bonnet.

Summer bonnets were made of lighter material like silk, and winter one from wool. They were stiffened with straw to keep their shape. This is where the phrase "Easter Bonnet" came from. As women would switch from their winter to their summer one at this time.

Various bonnet styles.

After the 1840s bonnets became smaller and sometimes accompanied by decorations. Some had to be pinned to the head and were more akin to fascinators then the earlier ones.

In the latter decades of the 19th century the bonnet began to fall out of fashion. Parasols and hats were the favoured way to protect one's delicate features from the sun. Bonnets became to be worn primarily by widows, and by very modest women, giving it a matronly, old fashioned reputation.

A widow's bonnet

While these items have been out of fashion for over a century. The loli set seems to be bringing them back, with their own twist on them.

Classic lolita style bonnet.

A sweet lolita style bonnet.

Gothic lolita.

What are your thoughts on the bonnet? Can this be incorporated into a wardrobe? Or should we leave it to the under 1 set?

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone


  1. Laura Morrigan has left a new comment on your post "Bonnets?":

    I only like it with a really recognisably Victorian outfit, and I like the ones with smaller brims, which I think look more historical. I think the ones with too big a brim can come off a bit baby bonnet-like, especially with very cutesy clothes. Personally, I prefer top hats and the like. I would probably wear a black poke bonnet style bonnet with a black Victorian mourning dress.

  2. Hmmm... bonnets are interesteing, and can look very nice if worn with a complete outfit... But for me, they are much to cute and feminine!

  3. I have always thought that the poke bonnets looks silly and so unpractical to wear. The later styles of bonnets are much prettier and frame the wearers face in a nice way.

  4. I like pretty, decorated bonnets more than plain, modest ones. Bigger bonnets are harder to pull off, but I still like them. And I like to look super cutesy anyway, so I don't mind looking like a 4 year old sometimes, lol.

  5. It's surely doesn't fit everyone... For me it is to childish and I would feel silly wearing it :( But I've seen some really nice outfits with bonnets. I prefer smaller ones, decorated with flowers but not OTT. And in a black color of course :D

  6. Thank you for mentioning Lolita! I would love a bonnet, it would go great with my Sweet Lolita dresses.

    - A lifestyle Lolita girl