Boater Hats of the 1890s – Fashionable Research Behind How to Marry a Werewolf (Claw & Courtship Special Extra)

I love a boater hat (also called spinners), Fashionable Reader.

One of the joys of writing in the 1890s (my Custard Protocol and Claw & Courtship series) is the fact that I can finally start to include this fashion item!

Obviously this started as a gentleman’s hat.


With the advent of women on bicycles, among other things, this hat grew in popularity for the ladies.

1890s women’s boater, taken by Gail Carriger at the Degas Exhibit, 2017, do not remove attribution

Because it started out as an item ubiquitous to younger men river boating (pole boats) it became particularly associated with sporting activities from beach side strolls to hiking and biking.

Taken by Gail Carriger at the Degas Exhibit, 2017, do not remove attribution

This in turn gave it the aura of vacation and countryside, which means also casual and daytime.

Taken by Gail Carriger at the Degas Exhibit, 2017, do not remove attribution

Linen walking suit, 1895, Jacques Doucet, French. 

“This suit might well have been worn for a tour abroad. Linen was favored for hot-weather travel because it was washable & comparatively lightweight. At this time, women’s tailored suits were very popular, borrowing such details from men’s dress as wide lapels & exterior pockets. This practicality suited the more emancipated lifestyles women were beginning to lead.” From OMG That Dress

Eventually, rather like pantalettes, the boater became the provenance of school children.

Check out the importance of Faith’s boater for her, Biffy and all of Victorian his society, in How to Marry a Werewolf.

Self matching the cover of How to Marry

This post first appeared in Retro Rack.

Yours in a boater,

Miss Gail

Sporting a boater hat

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Sci-fi queer romance meets cozy mystery in which a hot space station cop meets the most adorable purple alien ever (lavender, pulease!) from a race with 5 genders.



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