25 Jul 2013

Miss Lemon wardrobe files: 9. Hat parade!

During the past few weeks I tried to post a picture of all of the items of Miss Lemon's wardrobe. If I'm counting right, the full wardrobe of Miss Lemon consists of:
- 26 dresses
- 9 blouses
- 4 separate skirts*
- 6 sweaters/cardigans
- 6 suits
- 7 coats and jackets
Impressive, isn't it? In this installment of the Miss Lemon style files we are going to talk about her hats, the ultimate accessories of the 1930's, along gloves, collars and cuffs of course. Even dresses were worn with hats and gloves throughout the 1930's. I thought it would be fun to search the Australian Women's Weekly for similar designs as Miss Lemon's. As a finishing touch, I added pictures of her other accessories, like bags, hairpins and gloves too.
Prepare for a picture-heavy post!!!

First, a few facts about the 1930's hat-history:
Somehow it makes me sad that nowadays we rarely wear hats and certainly not in the variation they used to do during the past centuries. The Australian Women's Weeky's Special representative in Europe writes (by air mail of course!) in 1934 that "You may wear what suits you choose these days, because almost every shaped hat may be found in the present range of the fashions." The 1930's successor to the cloche hat was an off-the-face, flat-brimmed hat, tilted to one side concealing one eye and one ear. As far as diversity in embellishments, I guess the 1930's were the greatest decade in history! In 1934 the Australian Women's Weekly speaks of a 'greater variety than ever' in hat designs:
"Crowns are never plain. They are folded, pleated, trimmed with ridges, tucks, and stitching. The toques are draped snug with the head, a corner standing in a point, or doubled back into a triangle or a square. The hat actually fits closely to the head, but folds. Ridges and extra pieces of the fabric give height and interest. Trimmings are discretely used but they are rarely absent. Feathers of every kind and color, especially motifs or brightly colored flat feathers, clips of metal and glass, little brooches of glass initials, paste brooches and rings of all kinds are popular trimming motifs."
There were a lot of styles we don't know anymore, like the 'Henry IV' style, the 'Homburger slouch', the 'Connor' model, the 'Dutch bonnet' and the 'Hepburn' to name a few. Hats were mostly unique pieces in those days, there was no mass production of them yet, though you could order the cheaper versions by mail. The famous Paris milliner Madame Suzy wrote about the process in 1935 to the Australian Women's Weekly. She started to learn millinery techniques at the age of 15 and after a few years gained enough experience in salons to open her own one in Paris:

Now back to our Miss Lemon. She wears every outfit with a matching hat when outside. Those days it was a 'necessity' to match the color of the accessories to the shade of the frock and the coat. Have you noticed that every one of Miss Lemon's coats has a hat in the same color and often matching gloves too? She prefers two hat styles, one with a soft, flat crown (like most of her summer hats) and the classic, narrow brimmed men's style hats like fedora's and porkpie's (more about these styles later). Occasionally a turban or beret model appears. She loves all kinds of embellishments, mostly bows, flowers but also simple buttons appear as a geometric decoration like on her green hat. We see pintucks and folded crown designs too. 
Interestingly, we often see Miss Lemon wearing short, decorative hatpins, which were very popular in the earlier years of the 20th century. Where they used really large ones in the 1910's, large hatpins disappeared in the 1920's, when the shorter hairstyles and flapper cloches came into fashion.
Fun fact about hatpins:
In one of Agatha Christie's Miss Marple novels 'Murder on the Gallop' one victim is stabbed in the back with a hatpin. In another 1929 short story, the 'Sunningdale Mistery' one of the victims was stabbed through the heart with a hatpin! The private detective 
duo Tommy & Tuppence concluded that a woman could not have murdered the victim "as very few women nowadays use hatpins and that suggests that a man, not conversant with present fashions, committed the crime and tried to frame a woman".
Here are the hats Miss Lemon wears in the Poirot series:
Black velvet cap with bow decoration
How about this beauty? This one is a turban or 'toque' style hat and the only one of this style in Miss Lemon's collection. It wasn't easy to catch a good picture of this one because of the dark color. The back of the crown is folded in pleats. There is a smaller ribbon bow at the front and a larger one on top.
Fun fact: nowadays the headgear of professional cooks is called a toque!


Black hat with flowers
A folded crown (straw?) hat decorated with a softly folded pink and black ribbon and flowers. The inside of the brim is lined with a contrasting pale pink color.


Red and brown felt 'porkpie' hat
This hat has a slightly domed 'telescopic' crown with a crease running around the inside top edge which is called 'porkpie' hat. The dished crown of such hats became known among milliners as 'telescopic crowns' because when worn the top could be made to pop up slightly. This one is an asymmetrical design, higher on the right side. The hat has an orange-red hatband with a brown and orange bow, secured by a metallic ring.


A similar design 'sports felt hat' with folded, domed crown, like the porkpie's  above worn here by actress Wynne Gibson in 1933:

Green 'bow' porkpie hat
This one is quite similar to the previous one, isn't it? But they are not the same. This hat has a slightly conical sideband which is also asymmetrical in the front view. The green 'bow' embellishment is actually a wide hatband with one green and one brown side, folded in an angle. (it was quite difficult to catch a good picture of it) The back of the brim is occasionally worn folded upwards:


Black porkpie hat
And yet another variation of the porkpie model! At the first glance it appears to be a black cloche. This comes because of the bad light, black color and the angle in which the brim is attached. Still, there are a few shots where light comes from the side and we can see the porkpie-shaped top. The hat has a black grosgrain hatband with a metal embellishment on the left and a bow on the right.


Another porkpie with a soft brim from 1933:

Royal blue felt hat with folded crown
I really like this nonchalant, 'wrinkled' style hat. The crown has an asymmetric folded design with tucks and leans backwards. A two-colored grosgrain ribbon is added for even more interest. Miss Lemon wears this hat with a hatpin on both sides!


White summer hat
The crown has a cross-folding, asymmetrical design. Worn with a pearl headed hatpin.

An 1933 advertisement and picture with similar folded crowns like the blue and white hats above:

Navy blue hat 
With blue and white crossing hatbands with bows in grosgrain ribbon

Black hat with pink flowers
Another one-timer. this hat appears in just one scene. The hatband is embellished with pink flowers. On the right an illustration of a similar hat from 1935.

'Favourite' camel brown hat
This soft brimmed felt hat appears quite often in the series. It has a felt hatband and a leaf-like applique in the same camel-brown color. The crown is made from 4 pieces with softly rounded seams which repeat the same leaf-shape.

Brown velours hat
Another soft brimmed hat with a soft, folded crown in a dark brown color with a light brown (probably mustard?) color hatband

Brown beret
This is a 'Tyrolean' type beret with a small feather in a contrasting color:

A similar beret from 1934, worn for sports wear, golf or as a spectator:

Green buttoned 'porkpie' hat
This looks like a 'fedora' type hat from the front. (A fedora is a medium brimmed hat with an indentation at the top of the crown. Traditionally made out of felt.) Looking from the back, it is another porkpie! This one has a wide, U-shaped hatband which is open at the back, embellished with a large button. Miss Lemon wears it with a hatpin which has a quite large, pale green glass head:


1936 (left) and 1937 (right) sports felt hats:

Summer straw hat 
This hat appears just in one episode and it is a summer hat with a light weighted 'cartwheel' straw brim. The hatband doesn't go around (see picture on the left) and has a bow design in brown shades at the front.
Fun fact:
This is actually a 'blooper' in the series: Miss Lemon steps out of the car in the orange 
dress on the left and walks inside the building in our favorite pale blue dress! The outfits switch once more in the next scene.


Straw brimmed' cartwheel' hat with flower decoration 
My guess is that this is the same hat as the previous, just with a different embellishment! Striped bows and orange colored silk flowers are added to match the orange dress.


Off-white summer hat
A fashionable shallow crowned summer hat:


Another flat crown hat from 1935:

White 'sailor' hat with grey grosgrain ribbon

On the left a square sailor hat from 1934, on the right a sports hat with folded crown similar to above:

White 'panama' hat 
This hat has a soft, wide brim and a soft 'mushroom'-shaped crown. A grey-white striped ribbon is tied in a bow at the front. Miss Lemon secures it again with a small headed hatpin:

Front bows were very fashionable in 1936:

A quick note on Miss Lemon's other accessories

Another accessory Miss Lemon seems to have a lot of: her gloves. Below a few interesting ones. Beige gloves with a colored flower edging, brown leather gloves with stitching details:

Below two 'gauntlet' style gloves, which has the typical extended cuffs. Very fashionable in the late 1930's and early 1940's.
Did you know that...
...throughout the centuries gauntlets were used by soldiers and knights? It was considered an important piece of armour, since the hands and arms were particularly vulnerable in hand-to-hand combat.

Purses & bags:
Below just a selection:



The brown leather purse above appears most often, with different outfits. Let's take a look at the back! Here comes the smart thing: if you have ever lost a glove (and who didn't?) you certainly will appreciate the strap, hidden at the back where the gloves can be tucked under!

Tortoise reading glasses:
Below Miss Lemon's most often worn accessory when in her office: her 'tortoise' reading glasses.

Did you know that...
...by the 1930s, tortoiseshell frames for eyeglasses were primarily made of celluloid and not the actual turtle shell?
Celluloid is generally regarded to be the first thermoplastic, it is easily molded and shaped. It was first widely used as an ivory replacement and in later years celluloid was used as the base for photographic film.
Celluloid was useful for creating cheaper jewellery, jewellery boxes, hair accessories and many items that would earlier have been manufactured from ivory, horn or other expensive animal products. It was often referred to as "Ivorine" or "French Ivory".
Celluloid is highly flammable and also easily decomposes, therefore is no longer widely used.

On the left an 1938 report from the AWW.


Ring with green stone:
She always wears this one piece of jewelry, her golden ring with a green stone (though different pairs of earrings appear throughout the episodes):

The hairpins are brown, always matching her hair color and probably made out of celluloid. There are a few returning pieces:




I hope you enjoyed my 'Miss Lemon style files' series! I certainly did enjoy preparing these posts. I will continue sharing more of my screenshots from the Poirot series with pretty 1930's outfits and probably patterns as well.

Next up: An extra 1930's post after the Wardrobe files:
I crocheted a collar and cuff set from an original 1934 pattern. Want to make it for yourself? Stay tuned!

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