Copies of Store-Bought Hats, 1917

After encouraging readers to make their own hats in July and September of 1917, in November The Ladies’ Home Journal sent a staff member to buy nine fashionable hats and then make her own copies — and compare the costs.

Article "What I Paid for Some Hats and What I Made Them for at Home." Ladies' Home Journal, Nov. 1917, p. 134.

Article “What I Paid for Some Hats and What I Made Them for at Home.” Ladies’ Home Journal, Nov. 1917, top of page 134.

I have included larger images of all the individual hats, later in this post.

The article does not have a by-line, but readers could address inquiries to the Millinery Editor.

“NOTE — If you would like to learn how to make your own hats, the millinery lessons will help you:  “Hat-Frame Making,” “Covering a Velvet Hat,” and “Trimming a Hat.” They cost ten cents each. Descriptions of the hats pictured on this page and a list of the various articles used and their cost will be mailed upon receipt of four cents in stamps to cover the service. Inclose [sic] a stamped, addressed envelope to the Millinery Editor, The Ladies’ Home Journal, Independence Square, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, with your request.”

Presumably, the photos show the originals, not the copies….

Hats bought and copied, Ladies Home Journal, Nov. 1917. Center of page 134.

Hats bought and copied, Ladies Home Journal, Nov. 1917. Center of page 134.

Hats Bought and Made, Ladies Home Journal, Nov. 1917. bottom of page 134.

Hats Bought and Made, Ladies Home Journal, Nov. 1917. bottom of page 134.

The purchased hats cost between $30 and $15.  Making them was cheaper, of course, but the Ladies’ Home Journal made it clear that these store-bought hats were not overpriced:

“You may think, upon comparison of these prices, that the profits of the milliner are overwhelming; but in all fairness to the milliner, the figures which signify the cost at which these hats were copied at home do not include the salaries paid to the high-priced designer and the assistants, nor the wages of the dainty model who so alluringly pictures to you how you will look in the hat [!], or those of the saleswoman who serves you. It does not include the rent for the salon in which you comfortably relax while trying hats on, nor the many other expenses incident to the final delivery of the hat.”

Dover’s Women’s and Children’s Fashions of 1917: The Complete Perry, Dame & Co. Catalog shows eight pages of ready-to-wear hats with loads of trimming; the most expensive is $6.49, and most can be purchased for between two and four dollars.  The Ladies’ Home Journal Millinery Editor must have thought her readers would be impressed by the idea of copying a $25 dollar hat for $5.

Here are larger images of the individual hats.

Toque, $25 in a store, and "a very new shape ... trimmed with gray vulture." $30 in store. LHJ, Nov. 1917.

Toque, $25 in a store, and “a very new shape … trimmed with gray vulture.” $30 in store. LHJ, Nov. 1917.

If you can read the words “trimmed with gray vulture” and not think of Neville Longbottom’s grandmother — or Professor Snape dressed in her clothes — where have you been? The position of the feathers reminds me of a skunk on alert….

Two "tam" style hats for women, Nov. 1917. Ladies' Home Journal.

Two “tam” style hats for women, Nov. 1917. Ladies’ Home Journal.

This hat style, with the brim rolled up on one side, was recommended for “matrons” in July.

Hats with rolled brims, Nov. 1917. Ladies' Home Journal.

The hat on the left is trimmed with a “smart hackle fancy.” Clusters of feathers, sometimes known as hackle pads, can be found online. Here is a large selection of hackles from the Zucker Feather company (a wholesaler.)

The wings on this hat are made of moleskin (a brushed cotton) and velvet — and it cost $12.25 to duplicate at home, more than any of the others.

A hat covered with moleskin and velvet. LHj, Nov. 1917, LHJ.

A hat covered with moleskin and velvet. LHJ, Nov. 1917.

Hats that required special navigational skills — hats which were extremely tall, or extremely wide — were often illustrated. I showed more 1917 hats in a previous post:  click here.

Delineator hat illustrations, May 1917.

Delineator hat illustrations, May 1917.

Delineator hat illustrations, September, 1917.

Delineator hat illustrations, September, 1917.

Hats in Delineator illustrations, May 1917.

Hats in Delineator illustrations, May 1917. Usually a sheer hat would have visible “spokes” supporting the brim.

The hat on the left, below, is quite wide, and has a very high crown, too.

Velvet covered hats, Ladies' Home Journal, Nov. 1917.

Velvet-covered hats, Ladies’ Home Journal, Nov. 1917.

The “rolled quills” are probably long feathers that have been trimmed to have short barbs. This was not a good time to be a bird (or a woman with an aversion to wearing parts of dead animals), although by 1913 the Audubon Society had succeeded in passing legislation to protect native and migrating birds. (Read a good account here. (“Mama, there’s a woman with a dead body on her hat who wants to see you.”)

Ladies Home Journal, Oct. 1917, 137. Hats for tailored clothes.

Ladies Home Journal, Oct. 1917, 137. Hats for tailored clothes.

May, 1917. Hats from Ladies' Home Journal.

May, 1917. Hats from Ladies’ Home Journal.

Hats which use old velvet and fur scraps. LHJ, Nov. 1917.

Hats which use old velvet and fur scraps (and bird parts). LHJ, Nov. 1917.

However, there are plenty of delightful 1917 hats to copy without looking like a taxidermist’s shop.

Hat in ADM ad, Oct. 1917 LHJ.

Hat in ADM ad, Oct. 1917 LHJ.

Cloth covered hats, Delineator illustration, May 1917.

Cloth-covered hats, Delineator illustration, May 1917.

Delineator, hats illustrated in May 1917. The one on the right uses wide striped ribbon for a band and cockade.

Delineator, hats illustrated in May 1917. The one on the right uses wide striped ribbon for a band and cockade.

Picture hat with a tassel on a long cord. LHJ, Oct. 1917.

Picture hat with a tassel on a long cord. LHJ, Oct. 1917.

If you were persuaded to make your own hats, and you wanted to learn the milliner’s craft, the Woman’s Institute was ready to help with a correspondence course:

Ad for hat making course from Woman's Institute, Ladies Home Journal, September, 1917.

Ad for hat making course from Woman’s Institute, Ladies Home Journal, September, 1917.

 

 

5 Comments

Filed under 1900s to 1920s, Hats, Old Advertisements & Popular Culture, Vintage Accessories, Woman's Institute, World War I

5 responses to “Copies of Store-Bought Hats, 1917

  1. Micki Allen

    Hat-tastic!

  2. My grandmother trimmed her own hats–I’ll bet lots of who sewed did the same in order to have them match their outfits.

  3. Michele

    Wow! I love that the editor wrote the little blurb on hat costing – very true and something I can’t imagine being included in a magazine today. I really wish they had also printed the pictures of the hat copies, but I guess the article was really for the inspiration and the suggestion that such a thing was achieveable.
    Which hat do I want to copy? The one from The Associated Dress Manufacturers of New York. *sigh* It’s fantastic.

  4. Duy Khang Nguyen

    Hello again
    i dont know how the veil of thisgreen hat will look like cause i tried to draw this design
    https://witness2fashion.files.wordpress.com/2018/02/500-1917-sep-p-52-color-hats.jpg?w=500&h=441
    could you tell me

    • If you have tried to draw it, that is a very good way to study. You have had to ask yourself questions, like “Does the veil go all the way around the hat, or does it just hang down in the front? I can’t be sure, but I would guess just the front, because women used to lift their veil out of the way and put it on top of the hat brim for eating. It’s hard to put on a hat with the veil going all the way around and often the veil was separate from the hat. The hat in the picture definitely has black trim — probably soft circles or dots of black chenille glued to the net. Here is a good page of vintage net for sale: https://www.hatsupply.com/chenilleDotVeiling.htm You can see some advertisements for hat veils here: https://witness2fashion.wordpress.com/2014/06/08/van-raalte-hat-veils-make-a-plain-face-pretty-1917/ Also, a search for “vintage hat veil” will lead you to Pinterest pages. Hats with fancy veils were also popular in the 1940s and 1950s.

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