Golden Age of Travel Birthday prequel — vintage hiking headwear

In our last blog post, we discussed what vintage and vintage-look footwear for walking 85 miles in the unpredictable UK climate in October. But no outfit is complete without the proper headwear (especially if it may rain a lot).










A style of hat shown in many photographs of hikers in the 1920s and 30s is the same hat favoured by women wearing informal riding dress:  the knockabout hat.  This round-crowned hat had a curled brim that could be useful as both a sunshade and a cover in case of sudden inclement weather.  Some versions were soft (unblocked) or made from canvas so their brims could be worn down or turned up at will.  In the 1920s through the early 1930s, they were worn well down on the browline like all hats of the time.

In the 1930s, although style of soft casual hat came into use in this context. Wool berets began to be worn with outdoor gear. Unlike their fashionable cousins that were perched on top of the head, the casual beret was worn pulled well down on the head, nearly covering all the hair and definitely keeping the ears warm. Berets are shown both in 1930s catalogs as well as photos of women hiking and camping. They seem a very practical hat.

In my pursuit of period dress for this trip, I will seek out a knockabout hat since one would be so useful during untimely downpours. I will keep you apprised of my success in locating something suitable. My sources where I live (on an island in the Caribbean) are limited for cold weather gear in particular. So I will be looking for one online. However it is certain I will get a few wool berets in any case. They will keep my head warm and I know where to find them.





Next time… What about the boys?!

While you’re waiting, have a shop through our collection of reproduced Vintage patterns.

Photos courtesy of The Vintage Traveler. Please visit her wonderful vintage travel and clothing blog!

© 2014 Kass McGann. All Rights Reserved. The Author of this work retains full copyright for this material.

4 Responses to Golden Age of Travel Birthday prequel — vintage hiking headwear

  1. I have a medium-soft, felted, brushed wool cloche that I wear daily during our rainy springs. It was offered by Banana Republic several years ago. The hairy texture on the surface of the thick wool directs water droplets down and off before they can sink in, like those medieval wool cloaks. The brim shields my face from the downpour so I can see. I can pin it to my hair or a headband in case of wind, and it looks very smart, garnering compliments wherever I go. I prefer it to an umbrella, since there’s no fumbling at doorways, and my hands stay free. In concert with my trench, the cloche works really well in all kinds of wet.

    • Oh my, yes, Sarah! I love cloches. They are the perfect shape. And in sunny weather, they shade your eyes and the back of your neck without a huge brim getting in your way. I’m definitely getting a couple wool cloches for my trip. has some fur felt and wool felt cloches that are even Made in the USA. Isn’t that awesome?