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Monday, June 13, 2016

MidCentury Marvels-Coolie Hats

As I've mentioned before on this blog I was first drawn to vintage style dressing because of my passion for hats.  Since hats are a rarity today, but where worn nearly daily by women, and men, up until the early 1960s, hats are a natural segue way to vintage style.  Over the years I've accumulated hats from 1920s-through the 50s and I wear one nearly every day, particularly during the summer months.  I love both the look, and the practical sun protection, a wide brim hat provides.  One mid century summer style I particularly like is the coolie  hat.  It first appeared in casual European and American women's fashions in the 1930s.

The hats are based on a conical Asian style worn on rice paddy fields.  

 Mid century designers must have seen the hats and appropriated them as a stylish, and practical, sun hat.  The hats often had a very wide brim, making them an excellent  choice for beach wear

and many had the useful feature of neckties, preventing the hat from blowing of the wearers head.  This made them perfect for sporty summer activities.

I was particularly drawn to the neck time versions since my vintage hats are for ever blowing off my head (also I am in awe of the style of the girl in the bicycle photo above.)

I started searching for a vintage coolie hat, but my efforts where in vain.  I simply couldn't find any hats in the simple neck tie style I wanted.  So I decided to go the custom route and ask vintage style milliner and blogger, Tanith Rowan, to make me a hat.   I told her I wanted something similar to the photo of the girl on the bicycle with a slightly wider brim and in neutral colors so I could  wear it with a wide  range of summer outfits.   I couldn't be more pleased with the result:

The hat design is simple enough that it works with looks from a range of eras, it could be 30s, 40s, or 50s.  It's just what I wanted and Im sure it will be making may appearances on my head this summer.

You can purchase Tanith's charming hats in her Etsy shop and she is very willing to make custom creations and has excellent customer service and communication.  She is definitely one of the nicest Etsy sellers Ive dealt with.


  1. You look beautiful in your new hat! It's so cute. I had a hat this style as a child, it was red straw with embroidered flowers x

  2. You look super cool in that hat. stella rose

  3. I love hats too and don't get why they have gone out of style. They keep me warm in the winter and protect from sun in the summer.

    This is just another reason why i never worry about being in style.

  4. You are beautiful wearing the hat! I certainly connected the hat to rice paddy field, but it's so cool that it can be really stylish, too!

  5. What a cute hat, it really suits you well. I love hats hats, especially vintage ones, but don't have many of them. Yet! xxx

  6. What a fabulous hat! Tanith has done an amazing job. You're the second blogger this week to mention her and I will definitely be checking her out as her work looks so good. xx

  7. We have one of the full-on Asian style ones hanging in our garage. I don't even remember where it came from :-)

  8. Tanith's work is so incredible. She really has to be one of the most gifted milliner's in the whole world these days. What a fabulous job she did on this custom coolie. It's cute, fun and looks awesome on you!

    xoxo ♥ Jessica

  9. Wow! Fabulous hat! Tanith has done such a great job. I really love her work.

  10. Exactly as pictured with the exception of the custom wider brim! I am in awe of milliners! What an awesome skill to have! I love the neck tie too! So practical and cute!


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