The Fashion for Hats in 1931

I find I have suddenly become quite obsessed by hats as I look through some photographs of my grandmother and her sisters. I only knew Nannie (Annie Cleeve) in her later years, so ‘fashion’ wasn’t a word I associated with her. Sorry Nannie!

But as I look back, it seems the Cleeve girls were very fashion conscious and kept up with the latest trends. There were two older sisters, Edith and Rose, but it is the youngest three sisters I have been focussing on. These are the photographs that I have been looking at.

27 Sept 1931 Brighton Annie and Olive Cleeve

27 Sept 1931
Brighton
Annie and Olive Cleeve

27 Sept 1931 Brighton Olive and Grace Cleeve

27 Sept 1931
Brighton
Olive and Grace Cleeve

5 August 1931 Brighton Grace Cleeve

5 August 1931
Brighton
Grace Cleeve

I then zoomed in on the hats!

5 Aug 1931 Brighton, Grace Cleeve - Copy

27 Sept 1931 Brighton Annie and Olive - CopyOlive, Grace, 27 Sept 1931, Brighton - CopyI looked online, consulted experts (thanks to   Genealogylady.net) and was directed towards Sears catalogues for 1931. I had a great time searching the catalogues trying to find the hats. I found they were actually called ‘The French Beret’ and the Cleeve sisters were bang on trend with them in that year. On retrochick.co.uk it explains that “from the early 1920s the beret became popular as sportswear and were worn pulled down over the ears – echoing the cloche hat style. From the 1930s it became more popular to wear them perched on the side of the head.”

Here is the page I found from the Spring 1931 Sears catalogue.

32101_B017979-00077 - CopyThe other thing that puzzles me and I guess I’ll never know, is what colour were the berets they are wearing? In the catalogue, the choice of colours is from; French Beige, Admiralty (navy) Blue, Copenhagen Blue, Pistachio (light green), Sea Sand, Rose Romantique (pink) or Maize (yellow).

The only other reference to the beret in the Cleeve family comes from Dora (Edith Dora Doswell) Edith’s daughter. This is another thing that hadn’t really occurred to me before – Dora was born in 1908, when Grace would have been 8 years old, Olive 10 and Annie 16. So Dora would have been closer to her aunts age, and I have some photos of her.

August 1930 Brighton Dora Doswell

August 1930
Brighton
Dora Doswell

Dora

Dora

Dora is more fashionable, wearing her beret perched on the side of her head (slightly) pulled down over one ear.

 

 

 

 

 

 

I also have another photograph of Olive Cleeve taken in a studio. Still wearing the fashionable French beret. Still not wearing it perched on one side!

29 August 1933 Olive Cleeve

29 August 1933
Olive Cleeve

Olive - Copy

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I then found a photograph from 1935, which shows Nancy (Annie’s daughter) who would have been about fifteen years of age wearing one of the fashionable French berets. And what do you know? She has it perched on one side of her head, pulled down over her ear!

9 June 1935 Jack, annie, ron, Joseph, Gordon, Nancy (2)

This is the photo, I have zoomed in and you can see Nancy with her brother Gordon (my father) and their father, Joseph Taylor Dinnis.

Anyone familiar with Brighton and Hove will know where this photo was taken, and I will reveal more in my next post.

About Jackie Dinnis

Welcome to my blog where I am enjoying meeting my family - past and present - one at a time. Join me as I learn who my ancestors were, where they lived, what their occupations were and what everyday life was like for them.
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One Response to The Fashion for Hats in 1931

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