Boys' Hats: Chronology


Figure 1.--This American brother and sister were photographed on June 2, 1917. It looks like they are on a Sunday outing. Girls would have nirmally wore hats--but like this girl, their hair bows were too big. I'm not sure what kind of hat her brother is wearing, but it looks like a sailor hat with the brimmed turned up.

We have not yet developed detailed chronolgical information on hat styles. There are quite a few images archived on HBC and these when linked here will help develop the topic. We have little information on the medieval eras, but do not know of any hat type that was worn specifically by boys. Tri-cornered hats were popular in the 18th century, but were worn by men and boys. Headwear especially for boys became very common in the 19th century, although caps were more common than hats for boys. The first specifically boy's style was the sailor hat which became popular in the mid-19th century. The brims of sailor hats became wide in the late 19th century. There were many different styles with both flat and rounded crowns. In the early 20th century wide-brimmed caps were still common, but by the 1910s, the brims were often turned up or down. The boy here is wearing a wide-brimmed sailor hat with the brim turned down (figure 1). Note the chin strap. After World War I hats became increasingly less common for boys who mostly wore various types of caps. There were some fun hats like cowboy hats. We also notice some boys wearing adult hat styles. Some boys wore boaters as parts of school uniforms. After World War II in became increasingly less common for boys to wear hats when dressing up. Caps were worn cassually but hats became very uncommon.

Medievel Era

We have little information on the medieval eras, but do not know of any hat type that was worn specifically by boys.

The 18th Centuty

Tri-cornered hats were popular in the 18th century, but were worn by men and boys.

The 19th Century

Headwear especially for boys became very common in the 19th century, although caps were also worn by boys. Unlike the 20th century when caps became standard for boys, hats were still very common in the 19th century. The first specifically boy's style was the sailor hat which became popular in the mid-19th century. A very popular style at mid-century was a rounded crown hat with a relatively narrow brim. A good exanple is a German boy, Franz Mayer, in 1861. We see many American boys wearing these rounded-crown hats. Younger boys like Franz might have their hats decorated somewhat like ladies' hats. The brims of sailor hats became wide in the late 19th century. There were many different styles with both flat and rounded crowns as well as varying brim widths. A good example is an American boy, Dan Brown, we think in the 1870s. Baters were also worn. And we see a range of hats styled in between boaters and roundedcrown hats. A good example is the hat an American boy, Clifton Harrison was wearing in 1866. We are not sure what it was called.

The 20th Century

We notice boys in the 20th century wearing a wide range of caps and hats. Younger boys at the turn of the century still commonly wore wide-brimmed hats. These hats were also worn in the 1910s, but brims were often turned up or down. The boy here is wearing a wide-brimmed sailor hat with the brim turned down (figure 1). Note the chin strap. Boys after World War I (1914-18) were increasingly less likely to wear hats. Rather boys commomnly wore caps of various styles. The flat cap was the most common. Hats did not, however, disappear. While caps were often to scgool, boys might have hats for more formal occassions. Destintively juvelile hat stypes basically disappeared. Boys if they wore hats by the 1930s, wore adult styles. There were some fun hats like cowboy hats. We also notice some boys wearing adult hat styles. Some boys wore boaters as parts of school uniforms. Boys after World War II were increasinglybless likely to wear hats when dressing up. We still see boys wearing hats in the 1950s, but not very commonly by the 1960s. Caps were worn cassually but hats became very uncommon.

21st Century

We rarely see boys wearing hats in the 21st century. A rare exceotion is in Japan where some schools have hats as part of a school uniform.






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Created: 11:30 PM 6/28/2004
Last updated: 4:01 AM 3/27/2009