By TERRI BRYCE REEVES
As a kid in Toledo, Ohio I used to always look forward to my new Easter
outfit, which on a good year included a color-coordinated dress, jacket and
hat with plenty of frills upon it.
But it seems that the glamour has gone out of this holiday tradition and who
knows when and if it will return.
The bonnet craze began centuries ago when women would don crowns of
flowers in their hair to celebrate spring’s arrival and its symbolic links to fertility,
life and rebirth. After the Civil War, Easter parades and the tradition of wearing
one’s “Easter best” began to emerge.
The 20th century Easter bonnet continued its ascent into the fashion world
thanks to Irving Berlin’s 1933 song Easter Parade, which was also featured in
the 1948 film by the same name. Who can forget those illustrious words about
the sea of Easter chapeaus flooding New York City’s Fifth Avenue:
In your Easter bonnet with all the frills upon it,
You’ll be the grandest lady in the Easter parade.
I wonder now if this celebratory relic of the past could make a comeback?
After all, it’s a great way to protect oneself from the Florida sun and heat. And
with a little bit of creativity, it could become the ultimate form of ostentatious
personal expression. Even those who don’t celebrate Easter can enjoy making
and wearing a jovial and festive spring topper.
Perhaps these vintage photos will provide some inspiration.
Elizabeth Taylor is the ultimate master of “hat” couture.
Audrey Hepburn is bloomin’ beautiful in this spring 1964,
garden-themed photo by Cecil Beaton.
This unknown woman hatches an original idea.
Don’t look now, Ann Miller, but there’s a live bunny
coming out of your hat. 1947.