When Were Bonnets in Fashion?

A quick history of when bonnets were Fashion and some tips on how to wear them today.

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The bonnet is a woman’s headwear that is typically worn in colder weather. It is usually made of wool or another warm fabric, and it may be lined with fur or another soft material. Bonnets were once a common sight in the United States and Europe, but they fell out of fashion in the early twentieth century. In recent years, however, there has been a resurgence of interest in bonnets, particularly among younger women.

The History of Bonnets

Bonnets were originally designed to keep a woman’s head and face warm in cold weather, but they soon became a popular fashion accessory. Worn by both young and old, they could be simple or elaborate, depending on the wearer’s taste and budget.

The style of bonnets changed over time, becoming larger or smaller, decorated with flowers or ribbons, and made from different fabrics. By the end of the 19th century, bonnets were no longer an essential item of clothing and were worn only for special occasions.

Today, bonnets are mainly worn by infants and young children. They are also used in some traditional ceremonies, such as graduation ceremonies and Quinceañeras (a celebration of a girl’s 15th birthday).

The Evolution of Bonnets

Throughout history, clothing has been used as a form of self-expression. For women, this has been especially true when it comes to headwear. In addition to serving a functional purpose, hats and bonnets have been used to communicate a woman’s social status, marital status, and religious beliefs.

The bonnet is a type of headwear that evolved from the hood in the late Middle Ages. Unlike the hood, which was attached to a cloak or cape, the bonnet was generally worn on its own. Bonnets were popular among European women of all social classes from the 15th to the 19th century.

During the Renaissance, bonnets were often decorated with feathers, beads, and other materials. By the 18th century, they had become more streamlined and were made from materials like silk and satin. In the 19th century, bonnets were again becoming more elaborate, with features like ribbon trimmings and flowers.

The evolution of the bonnet mirrors the changing role of women in society. In earlier centuries, women were largely confined to the home and their clothing was designed to protect them from the elements. As women increasingly ventured outside the home in the 18th and 19th centuries, their hats and bonnets became more decorative and less functional.

Today, bonnets are no longer commonly worn but they continue to be popular among certain groups, such as Amish women. They are also worn by women as part of a costume or for fashion purposes.

Bonnets in Today’s Fashion

Although bonnets are not as popular as they once were, they are still worn by some people today, mostly Amish women and girls. They are also sometimes worn by little girls as a dress-up item or for performing in plays. While the style of bonnets has changed over time, they are still essentially the same type of headwear that was worn in the past.

How to Wear a Bonnet

Headwear has always been a subject of fashion. In the 1800s, bonnets were all the rage for women. But how did one wear a bonnet? Let’s take a look.

First, it is important to understand that there different types of bonnets available, each with its own purpose. For example, there were indoor and outdoor bonnets. Outdoor bonnets protected a woman’s head and face from the sun and wind. They were usually made of straw or fabric, and sometimes had a brim that could be pulled down over the eyes. Indoor bonnets, on the other hand, were usually made of lace or another delicate material. They did not usually have a brim, as they were not meant to be worn outdoors.

There were also special occasion bonnets, which were worn for church or other formal events. These bonnets were usually made of silk or another expensive material, and often had feathers or other decorations.

To wear a bonnet, first determine what type of event you will be wearing it for. If you will be outdoors, choose an outdoor bonnet. If you will be indoors, choose an indoor bonnet. If you will be attending a special event, choose a special occasion bonnet.

Once you have selected the appropriate type of bonnet, put it on your head so that it sits comfortably. If you are outdoors, tie the strings under your chin so that the wind does not blow your bonnet off. If you are indoors, there is no need to tie the strings; simply let them hang down your back. If you are attending a special event, adjust your bonnet so that it looks stylish and elegant.

Bonnet Styles

There is no one answer to this question, as the style of bonnet varied depending on the time period and region. Generally speaking, bonnets were most popular in the 18th and 19th centuries, although they did make a brief reappearance in the early 20th century.

The style of bonnet also depended on the purpose it served. Bonnets worn for everyday use were typically more simple and functional, while those worn for special occasions or as part of a woman’s Sunday best were often more elaborate and decorated.

Some common styles of bonnet from different periods include:

18th century:
– Mob cap: A close-fitting cap with a frilled or ruffled edge, often made of linen or cotton.
– Calash: A collapsible bonnet with a frame of whalebone or steel hoops, covered in fabric. The calash could be drawn up or down to provide varying degrees of coverage and protection from the elements.
– Caul: A close-fitting cap made of lace or netting, worn to cover the hair and keep it in place.

19th century:
– poke bonnet: A wide-brimmed bonnet that sat close to the head, often made of straw or fabric with a gathered crown.
– sunbonnet: A wide-brimmed bonnet with a extended peak in front, typically made of cotton or linen. The sunbonnet was designed to protect the wearer’s face from the sun.
– mantilla: A Spanish-style veil worn over the head and shoulders, often made of lace or silk.

Early 20th century:
– cloche: A close-fitting hat that covered the ears and forehead, typically made of wool felt or velvet.

Bonnet Materials

There are many different materials used in the construction of 19th century style bonnets. Silk, straw, velvet, cloth, and lace were all commonly used. The type of fabric often dictated the style of the bonnet. For example, a lady would not wear a cloth bonnet to church, but might wear one during everyday activities such as working in the garden or taking a walk. A straw bonnet would be more likely to be seen at a summer picnic than at a formal dinner party.

Bonnet Accessories

From the early 16th century onward, bonnets were generally considered women’s headwear and were DONned by all classes of European and American women, from peasants to nobility. In the 17th century, bonnets were generally decorated with fabric flowers and ribbons, as well as feathers, beads, and other adornments. As the 18th century progressed, more elaborate designs developed, such as the fontange, named after its creator Louise de la Vallière, mistress of Louis XIV of France.

Bonnet Care

While bonnets were once a staple in a woman’s wardrobe, their popularity has decreased in recent years. If you happen to have a bonnet or two (or more!) in your closet, you may be wondering how to care for them properly.

Bonnets are usually made from delicate materials such as silk, satin, or lace. They should be stored in a cool, dry place out of direct sunlight. Be sure to stuff the bonnet with acid-free tissue paper to help keep its shape. When cleaning a bonnet, it is best to use a specialist cleaner who has experience with delicate fabrics.


In conclusion, we can see that bonnets were most popular in the late 18th and early 19th centuries. However, they continued to be worn throughout the Victorian era, although they fell out of fashion towards the end of the century. Today, bonnets are mostly worn by young children or as a part of a historical reenactment.

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