attack_laurel (attack_laurel) wrote,

Finally... and some stuff about Dutch straw hats (picture heavy post)

Being sick sucks, and it's a lousy excuse for not posting, but there it is, and I can't get away from it.  Pennsic was physically rather challenging, though I had a great time, but at the end of War week, it had become rather obvious that I was on a downward turn again.  I see my doctor on Monday.

It was a really great Pennsic; in no particular order, I:

- Took Larissa as an apprentice (on a time-share with Mistress Ceridwen, who is her Pelican).  We'll be exploring the more esoteric delights of drawn-work and cut-work embroidery together.
- Got to see my good friend Maeb ingen Brain become a Pelican.
- Had a lovely bardic/singing night on the middle Saturday, with Bob on guitar, and Lisette, one of my apprenteges, with us.
- Got to see my other apprentege, Brian de Moray, get his White Scarf, right after winning back the Iron Spike (literally, as he won it back, their Majesties were walking up behind him - it was great).  We managed to get all his family and friends up to the rapier field without him realizing what we were doing.  And, in Atlantian Court on Thursday, an emissary from Aethelmearc presented a letter of congratulations to Brian, signed by all the WS in Aethelmearc, and all four Royals.  I'm so proud of him.

Despite my physical and "being in a big, dense crowd" issues, I made it down to the new barn to see the Knowne World A&S display, which was full of awesome stuff.  While I was there, two very nice Laurels introduced themselves, and one of them also mentioned that they had been involved in a bit of a kerfluffle on a costume list, because their hat was deemed "too 18th Century", and they had modeled it after mine.  It seems that the turn-up of the brim in the back was the main issue, so they were hoping I had some info on hats. As it happens, I do.


These are my straw hats.  I wear them this way for two reasons:  1. It makes it possible to wear a straw hat when I have my hair up, and b) It looks seriously cute.

me in round dutch hat me in round dutch hat frontme in flat straw hat

(I realized I don't actually have many pictures on me in my flat crown straw hat, but you can see more examples here and here from pinkleader's Flickr stream.)  Note how the front brims of both hats droop down; this is very typical of Dutch straw hats.  The very flat-crowned hat was bought at Williamsburg (because I can't make my own hats), but it is dressed in early 17th century style, and flat crowns existed.  There's a great Breugel painting, July (Haymaking), which shows three women with straw hats, and the one in front is carrying a very flat-crowned (and battered) example.  The low crown with a wide brim hat is a Dutch staple, most often worn with the brim down on all sides, but the nature of Dutch style seems very flexible when it comes to how hats were worn.
Breugel Haymaking 1565

A lot of people get a specific picture in their heads when they think of an era, and certainly, there are some very distinct items of clothing that can help an observer pin-point the likely date of a picture.  However, the Dutch have had straw hats for a very, very long time.  When I wear my jacket and my straw hat, I am wearing them in the Dutch style.  These hats show up in pictures by Pieter Aertsen in 1567, to Jan Steen in 1677, and on.  A straw hat is a middle to lower classes item; they are designed to keep the sun off your face while you are outside working, something the rich didn't do.  The way that the Dutch wear their hats seems, from studying paintings, to have been highly idiosyncratic - the brims are worn down, turned up on one side, turned up on both sides, turned up in the front, and turned up in the back.  The height and shape of the crown is also variable, and often does not follow fashion particularly closely.  Being fashion-forward is for people with money; we're talking about shop keepers, women who sell at market stalls, and such.

Just so you can see what I'm talking about, here is a bunch of pictures of Dutch hats, dating from 1565 to 1700.  Note the heights of the crowns, the trimming on the hats, and the way they're worn.
Pieter_Aertsen_ 1567
We all know the first image, don't we?  A detail from a painting by Pieter Aertsen, 1567.  The hat brim is turned up in the back.  Compare it to the front view of me in my round-crown hat, and you can clearly see the shape.

Pieter Aertsen 1559
Another Aertsen painting from 1559, showing a low-crown, somewhat battered straw hat on the woman in the left lower corner.

Anon Antwerp 1600
Here's a lovely detail from an anonymous painting of an Antwerp market, 1600.  Many of the women are wearing jackets and hats with the brims turned up in the back.

Jan Van Goyen 1623 Copy
Here's a tiny detail from a painting by Jan Van Goyen, 1623.  The woman on the right has a tall-crowned hat turned up in the back.

Albert Cuyp 1640
Albert Cuyp, 1640.  I admit, this is my favourite.  :)

Jan Steen 1677
A detail of a Jan Steen painting, 1677.  A hat from the back.

And finally, here's what the 18th century hat looked like:
racinet18thdutch2 sew 18th century dot com bergere-hat-workshop_pic
Racinet's interpretation of Dutch folk costume (left) shows that for the lower classes, style only changed a little between 1650 and 1750.  New fabrics made some changes, but basically, they're not too different from their 16th century counterparts.  The two on the left, though (middle image from, show that the rich had hats that were highly stylized, richly decorated (these two are fairly tame, search on "18th century hats" to see what I mean), and designed to accommodate the elaborate hairstyles of the 18th century.

Some things, like straw hats, are time travelers; that is, they are found in a lot of eras, mostly because they really are useful at keeping the sun off your face.  The high fashion styles may change, and become distinctive, but the humble straw hat survives.  When you put the 16th century and the 18th century side by side, you can really see that the two don't look that much alike, even though many of the elements of fashion survive:

under the willow at Pennsic 2 costumes dot org(from
Tags: costume, good times, hats, pennsic, state of the me

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