A selection of ads and copy from 1931 newspapers describing the latest styles from Parisian milliners.
“Not in years has there been such a variation in hat styles. Most important and unusual is the complete showing of faces which fashion decrees for this year. Whether turban, beret, or cloche, modistes insist upon revealing the profile. To achieve this, hats are set back on the head, exposing the forehead, the hair softly arranged at the front and sides to form a decorative frame. Perfect grooming of the head was never more necessary than it will be this season. Trimmings are more varied than last season, also, small feather fancies, ribbon treatments in a wide assortment of materials, weaves, and color combinations, and flowers are only a few of the accessories which will adorn the latest dictates in millinery.”
My great aunt on the occasion of her marriage in 1931
The ad from the Spring of 1931 continues: “Hats this spring have become distinctly impertinent. They choose once more to assert themselves as individuals—so distinct are they in shape, so different in type, so recherché, as far as trimming, material, color, or the combination of all three are concerned.”
“The spirited, sharp-witted tricorn, so provocative with its contradictory over-the-right-eye, behind-the-left-ear movements, has no doubt at all about its noble origins and coming success in newest incarnations, feeling equal to any situation in the afternoon.
The wide-brimmed capeline, smoothly balanced on its round, shallow crown, feels itself an aristocrat, knowing that, worn on the right woman, it is prepared for the most formal tea-parties or for the races.
The rustic straw, with its romantic undulating brim and tiny bunch of flowers, is devoted to youth and beauty and can be worn in town or out of town, on sunny afternoon, and the straw-and-ostrich combination is highly conscious of its dashing smartness as glimpsed through a motor on the way to a formal luncheon or tea.
My great aunt wearing a hat circa 1931
The ingenuously upward-lifted cloche and the more subtly feminine toque take their cues—so far as sophistication and formality are concerned—from the way in which they are trimmed.
“Our time has come,” whisper the stiff straws and the felts, feeling themselves real hats, again. “Our time remains,” answer the draped jersey turbans and caps of pliable straws. The runabout evening toque and the feather-encircled evening coiffure are rivals for favor.”
“Flowers are as good as feathers—not so new nor so piquant, perhaps, but so becoming. Agnes, who brought them back into our lives, still keeps faithful to them and now makes a toque of white chiffon violets. Patou cleverly finds an excuse to soften the asperity of his “Cocktail Party” Panama tricorn with three pink organdie camellias. Mado introduces what one might call an amusing cache nuque, of white velvet violets, under a broad black picot brim. Nowadays, flowers seem to have a “behind the ear” destination. Reboux says spring in the refreshing language of field flowers and finds such combinations as yellow, grey, and brown; golden-yellow and blue; red, white, and green; navy-blue, yellows and other blues. These flower-trimmed rustic straws evoke visions of summer fields, haystacks, soft lawns, and carry you away on the wings of the dreamed-of summer holidays, in the midst of busy Paris.”
These next two hats may be pliable straw.