Anyone who knows me can tell you that I have a deep seeded passion for vintage headwear! I am immediately attracted to anything with a birdcage veil, feathers, fur, velour, or velvet. When it comes to appreciation and collecting, the sky’s the limit. I enjoy everything from large Victorian sun hats to architectural inspired hats from the 1960s. Milliners were true artists and simply don’t get enough appreciation today, or enough business for that matter!
However, most of these aren’t the sort of thing that can be thrown on as you are walking out the door. Even a simple pillbox style requires some fastening down along with curls or a chignon. Which brings me to my trusty standby: the turban. I feel like I am allowed to look a little frazzled in a turban, à la Edie Beale, yet I still feel glamorous!
There are three kinds of turbans: the original DIY, the traditional Hollywood starlet type, and the last is a turban that has been formed and sewn around a hat base. Today I will talk about the latter since I have come across two or three recently while browsing and absolutely adore them! The only problem is…vintage hats are always too small for my head!
American Turban History: Condensed Condensed Condensed Version
Greta Garbo and Marlene Dietrich sported glamorous turbans in the 1920s. Often spiced up with a brooch or some other flashy adornment, these simple fabric designs were attainable to the masses. Then, when Carmen Miranda showed up on the scene in the 1930s turbans began growing higher and more decorative. Not that the average gal was wearing a gold lamé wrap covered in fruit, but Miranda was a huge inspiration for the fashion industry.
Giving turbans a more stable base was a natural progression at this point. In addition, it was the end of the Great Depression, everything was allowed to be bigger and bolder. The sky was the limit, and the “turban hat” was born. Sadly, this hat led a fairly short production life, regularly manufactured among milliners from the 40s through the 60s. It’s possible that it just wasn’t logical or cost efficient anymore. The designer could have produced a turban and a hat for the cost of one “turban hat.”
Is My Head Too Big or Is This Hat Too Small?
Now, back to that common problem among vintage headwear: sizing! As most of you know, Commerce St. Mercantile sells an array of vintage hats. A true joy for me, as a business owner, is to catch customers playing dress up in the mirror and taking selfies with friends. Alas, most of the hats go back on their hanger after playtime is over. If it doesn’t fit it’s obvious you would never wear it, right? I mean, who wants to intentionally force their head into an incredibly small, uncomfortable space? I do, of course! 😬
If you are still reading, you have one of two thoughts: that I’m joking, or that I’m the kind of lady who will do anything for the sake of fashion. Anyone who is acquainted with me in “real life” can assure you I am not joking. But I am certainly not a die-hard fashionista either. I love fashion and glamour, I always have, but my practicality is slightly more dominant.
Take 2 Ibuprofen and 1 Vintage Turban
I suffer from headaches quite often. Sometimes these progress into migraines, which I can attest is true misery. For years, when a headache would rear its ugly head I felt that if I could just constrict my head somehow, I might feel some relief. If I could just find something to press on my temples it would ease the pain. So, believe it or not, I’ve discovered that if I wear a vintage hat that is slightly (slightly is the key) too tight, it gives me the relief I need to push through the day, along with some ibuprofen of course.
In the above photo I’m wearing a mid-century Vincent de Koven velvet turban hat in a deep crimson. Right now, this is my “headache hat” of choice. I’m not claiming that this will work for anyone else in the world! But it certainly is bizarre enough that I had to share it with everyone. You won’t catch me wearing one of these vintage turbans if I did not wake up in pain, it’s just too uncomfortable!
I do, however, wear reproductions of what I call the “Hollywood starlet” type quite often. These are reserved for rainy and bad-hair days which I have full intention of gabbing about in a later post. I plan to cover the other two turban styles in later blogs because I have an endless amount to say! Stay tuned!