The Color of My Hat

Hello, again History Lovers,

Today’s post is a contribution submitted by Mary E. Robinson, a Clothing Specialist from the University of Missouri in May of 1922. She offers tips on choosing the appropriate color and style of hat. She advises women that if a hat has to be worn frequently it must be simple in design and inconspicuous in color. She also states that one must consider complexion, eye and hair color, personality, hairstyle, and facial features when choosing a new hat, and never should a hat be worn too far down over the eyes, too far back on the head, nor tilted too far to the side.


Illustration from The Farmer’s Wife–A Magazine For Farm Women, May 1922, Page 860

What color shall I select for my hat this season? This is indeed a serious question when there are so many new and lovely colors being shown in the shops this year. It is a temptation to try them all and have oneself look like Joseph’s “coat of many colors.”

Color is one of the most important points in selecting a becoming hat. We are told always to select a color that is “good” for our particular style of personality and not because it is merely fashionable. In doing this, we must study the coloring of complexion, eyes, and hair, and select the colors which bring out the best features and subordinate the less attractive ones. There is no such rule as we used to hear, “red for brunettes, blue for blondes.” There are many shades and tints of every color and where one may be becoming a brunette, the next should be worn by a blonde or vice versa.

When planning to combine colors on a hat, we must be sure these colors harmonize. The following are three methods of combining colors that may be used in choosing the hat.

I. The one-mode color scheme:

  • Dark blue and gray-blue
  • Brown and orange
  • Purple and lavender

II. Balanced or complementary color scheme:

  • Blue and orange
  • Red-orange and blue-green
  • Violet and yellow

In combining these colors do not choose both colors in bright shades. One should be grayed a bit.

III. Related or analogous color scheme:

  • Blue and Blue-green
  • Green and yellow-green
  • Red and red-orange

These are especially attractive combinations in hats.

It is a good plan for every woman to experiment with colors until the most becoming ones are found. Often by the addition of becoming facings (the underside of the hat brim), it may be possible to wear a hat that would otherwise be unbecoming. Bright colors such as red, yellow, orange, and the new shades of bonfire, periwinkle blue, and so forth, demand a healthy complexion and clear skin. Neutral colors are suitable for persons who are sallow or have rough skin.

Illustration of a hat with a contrasting “facing” (underside of the brim)

Grayed blues, which are less blue than the eyes, are becoming to blue-eyed people, as they emphasize the blue of the eyes. Dark blue is becoming to most people and is a good color for streetwear. Dark brown is also a color that may be generally worn. Green is a restful color and in the light tints so attractive for summer, and is particularly becoming to blondes. Black is very trying to most older women when worn next to the face. One must have plenty of color in order to wear it well. However, a white or colored facing may be used on a black and the wearer will apparently be given more color. White is almost universally becoming. Sometimes cream or oyster white is better than white.

A hat that must be worn on most occasions, should be simple in design and inconspicuous in color. As a general rule, most colors are appropriate at all times. Still, exceptional occasions rule out certain colors.

It is always safe to have a hat and dress or suit of the same color. To give variety, the hat may be a little darker or lighter, and of a different material. If bright bits of color have been used on the costume, some of these colors may be, with discrimination, repeated on the hat.

The hair must not be forgotten when selecting a hat. Have any of us ever done our hair especially to “try on” hats, and then rushed to dress for the street after the hat was purchased, failed to do our hair in the same approved fashion? After such an all-too-common experience, we are agreed that it is best to select the hat with the hair dressed in the fashion in which we are accustomed to wearing it.

When not satisfied with the present hairstyle, the profile should be studied with the aid of a hand mirror to answer the question. Does the manner in which the hair is done conform to the shape of the head and face?

The average woman should not try to keep pace with the latest style in hairstyling but select carefully the mode which best suits her individuality. A plain face is made attractive by keeping the hair soft and fluffy around the face.

Plain or “homely” features can be accentuated by the hairstyle. A receding chin may be improved with a high hairstyle since this seems to make the chin appear longer. For a pointed nose and chin, a low style is becoming. A round face may be made to appear much rounder with puffs over the ears. A woman with this type of face should choose a style that is close to the ears. The woman with the long face will find the low hair dress, which is fuller at the side, becoming.

When we visit a place of amusement, particularly an open-air affair in the summertime, we find all sorts of styles for wearing the hat. Evidently “wearing” the hat is one of the least important things to the average woman, since the hat is found at every possible angle on the head.

A hat should be worn so that both the wearer and the hat look their very best. It should not be worn so far over the face that the eyes cannot be seen. Not only is this uncomfortable to the wearer but it covers the most interesting part of the face. Neither should the hat be worn at other extremes—far back on the head or at one side.

There should be no dividing line between the hat and hair. A hat that is perched on top of the head in this manner seems insecure and truly resembles a “lid.” On the whole, it is safe to wear the hat in a straight line just above the brows. This is well illustrated in the case of the little lady at the top of this page who, seated before a mirror, is getting just the right line and angle for her new hat. We wonder if she will always place it so carefully.


The above article was originally published in The Farmer’s Wife–A Magazine For Farm Women, May 1922, Page 860; Webb Publishing Company, St. Paul, Minnesota. Articles may be edited for length and clarity.

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