Cuckoo for Cloche: The History of Your Favorite Hat

All images via We Heart Vintage

French milliner Caroline Reboux invented the bell-shaped cloche hat in 1908. Traditionally made of felt, cloche hats can be plain or decorated with sequins, embroidery, or feathers, to complement any outfit, from a simple sundress to a starlet’s cocktail gown.

In the 20s, the cloche reached the height of its popularity — the hat was so haute that it even influenced popular hairstyles: The Eton crop — the short, slicked-down style most popular in the 20s — was often requested because it worked so well under a cloche. Variations in the shape of the brim and seam styles were impacted by Art Deco designs, and some beaded and lace variations were even worn as wedding styles.


Are you longing for some millinery inspiration of your own? Check out these selections, or browse our curated chapeaus!


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  1. Avatar
    Rubina 02/18/2014 at 5:03 pm #

    Love this! It’s so fascinating to find out where our style staples come from.

  2. Avatar
    Vicky 02/20/2014 at 7:10 am #

    I like the idea of bringing back the hat as part of the outfit so you don’t have to take it off to reveal your hat-head which is a real problem for those of us who have very straight limp hair..

  3. Avatar
    Elvira 02/21/2014 at 10:48 am #

    I love cloches so much. Please more 20s style hats in Modcloth

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