Options for 1830s Headgear

This coming weekend is the first time I’ll take the red 1830s dress out for a spin (assuming I :::cough::: finish it :::cough:::), and while I had grand plans to create a huge silken bonnet that would complete the look while hiding my 2014 hair, the buckram form I ordered didn’t arrive in time, and so now I’m looking at other options for 1830s daytime headgear.

Here goes…

General, Non-Period Specific Bonnet

I do have a very nice “general bonnet,” that works across many eras, for those not looking too closely. It’s straw, with a large round brim, and will do in a pinch. With the event on Sunday and quite a bit more work to do to make the dress wearable by then, this might be my best option.

A Top Hat

Los Angeles Public Library, via

Jaunty and period-correct, ladies’ top hats were worn with sporty costumes, like this snazzy blouse and skirt combo on the left. My dress isn’t particularly sporty (though I’m seriously having to stop myself from making this brown and white outfit *right now*), so while I have a top hat, I don’t think it’ll quite work with my dress.

A Wide-Brimmed Hat


Here’s another easy option – a wide-brimmed hat with some fun bows and a big feather. It doesn’t completely cover the hair, but it could be positioned in a way to hide all but the front. Curiously, this headgear is shown with an evening gown, so it might not be at all appropriate for daywear…

Fluffy Head Lace Cap Thing


Covering all but the front curlies, a quick cap trimmed with lace and plenty of ribbons and flowers could do the trick. It’s not really my style, and when I say “quick” that still entails hours and hours of sewing fine fabrics, so maybe I’ll skip this one…

A Turban


Perhaps the easiest to make, a quick turban or gathered-crown beret type of head covering would make a big impact and do the job of covering the back of the head beautifully. Are the turbans shown for formal or informal wear, though? Would a turban look out-of-place with a cotton daydress?

This Thing


Maybe not…

I suppose the best option is to get the dress finished, put it all on, then try on different options to see what will look the best (or if none of what I already have will work). That’s me then, off to sewn on hooks and eyes. 🙂


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