Hatpins, must-have accessories in the Gilded Age, are prized today by collectors and occasionally by women who like to wear big hats. If you’ve never used one to secure a hat, milliners have a few tricks that will help, whether your hair is short or long.
Hatpin How-Tos: A Few Pointers
The goal is to position the hat at its most flattering angle, and then keep it there. Try it on; take it off, and grasp a little hair where you want the hat to go. Make a tiny ponytail and secure it with rubber bands or bobby pins. Put the hat back on, and then run the hatpin through the hat’s brim, through the hair and out through the other side of the hat. If your hair is too short for a ponytail, use a small foam roller, suggests Recollections, a vintage fashion site. If your hair is long, fashioning it into a bun to start with makes it even easier.
Hatpin History: A Style Necessity — and Self-Defense Weapon
Hatpins became a fashion necessity in late Victorian and Edwardian times when women started wearing hats rather than bonnets with ties. The hats — and hatpins — grew ever bigger, until intentional and unintentional injuries with the pins caused court cases limiting their size as lethal weapons. Jazz Age flappers bobbed their hair and started wearing cloches, so hatpins were set aside — with occasional fashion exceptions involving big hats likely to otherwise blow away.
References and ResourcesThe American Hatpin Society: Brief History of Hatpins
Collectors Weekly: Antique Hatpins and Hatpin Holders
Collectors Weekly: What All Those Hatpins Were For, and Why We Stopped Using Them
Smithsonian: "The Hatpin Peril" Terrorized Men Who Couldn't Handle the 20th-Century Woman
Vintage Fashion Hats by Marcia Lacher Millinery: How to Keep a Cocktail Hat on Your Head
Recollections: Accessorizing Your Victorian or Edwardian Outfit