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Vintage Easter Parade - Whatever Happened to Easter Bonnets?

Posted on 16 April 2014

Harper's Bazaar magazine Covers

 

I miss Easter hats. I want to start a campaign to bring them back! For years, fashion magazine covers in April featured hats to inspire Spring bonnets.  There were articles in news magazines too - both LIFE magazine and the POST did articles on Easter bonnets! Easter bonnets were big business.

Easter hats 

  

The history of the "Easter bonnet" actually has it's roots in music! Though people have been buying new Spring Easter clothing for centuries, the tradition to wear a new hat at Easter was introduced to popular culture in the 1930's by the songwriter Irving Berlin, who wrote a song about the annual Easter parade in New York City. 

 

Easter Hats at the New York City Easter Parade

Irving Berlin Easter Bonnet

 

The song was made even more popular by Bing Crosby in the 1942 film, Holiday Inn. And by Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers in the 1948 movie with the same name.

 

 

Women, throughout the years, have bought new hats to wear to church services on Easter and to wear in local parades. They have been elegant, dramatic, whimsical, functional, and down right ridiculous. But Easter bonnets are a fun part of our fashion history! Here is just a small sampling of Easter hats from years past - send me photos of you wearing yours, if you have one!

 Loretta Young Easter Egg Crate Easter hat Vintage Easter Bonney Contest Winner Easter Bunny Hat Ann Miller Vintage Easter Hat Doris Hill and Jean Arthur 1920's Angie Dickinson Easter Vintage Photograph Joan Crawford and her daughter Christina

 

Maybe I don't just miss Easter hats, but hats in general! But still, there was something special about wearing a new hat in the beginning of a new Spring. There is something freeing about wearing a chicken or a bunny or carton of eggs on your head! Even if you don't celebrate Easter as a religious holiday, Spring is something we all celebrate, and what better way to help usher it in, than with a new hat!

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