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. 🙂


  • The Laced Angel

    July 18, 2014 at 2:47 AM

    Oh man, that last one. Such ridiculousness. Maybe that will be my go-to answer if I don't get time to work on hairpieces to go with my 1830s ballgown before CoCo.

  • Unknown

    July 18, 2014 at 3:56 AM

    I've always been obsessed with bonnets…but any kind of fabulous hat really floats my boat. 🙂 Good luck choosing! Can't wait to see the final project!

  • Martha

    July 19, 2014 at 2:51 AM

    Something like This Thing but a little less. I made one out of organdy and lace, vandyked around the face and the cap back with a wire support, for our daughter and she gets lots of comments. We do 1836, Texas Revolution, and I love the 1830's! So feminine, so easy to travel in a car while dressed. Be sure you think corded petticoat if you do more 1830's, the "crinoline" of the time. Also a great Dover book " French Fashions of the Romantic Era" edited by Judy M. Johnson is worth getting. Got mine years ago so I do not know if it is still in print.

    • Lauren Stowell

      July 19, 2014 at 10:11 PM

      I don't have a corded petticoat yet, but it's on my list of must-do items. I love the silhouette it creates.

  • Mistress of Disguise

    July 19, 2014 at 7:18 AM

    OMG, that last Thing is completely fantastic. For convenience sake, though, I would go for the multi-period straw bonnet. It's very lovely, and I think the yellow flowers would actually accent the red fabric quite nicely.


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