21 comments on “Frightening fashion. 1912

  1. Nowadays it can cost £500.00 to buy one if you find them in silk. Supposedly the last was made during the 50’s when the fashion for silk top hats went out. Back then he’d have had to have been a very wealthy mercer to have afforded a fine like that.

    • I suspect that if this story has any ring of truth the fine would have been closer to £50 than 500. £500 would probably been a rich persons entire fortune in 1797!

  2. Imagine, a top hat causes that big a ruckus and later goes on to be a very popular style. Why Abraham Lincoln just wouldn’t have been Abe Lincoln if he hadn’t had a top hat. 😉

    I don’t know why the people of 1797 would be so frightened by it though. I mean after all, look at the wigs of that period and the century before. Gaudy!

    • You’re right, I know very little about Abe Lincoln but if it weren’t for the hat I probably wouldn’t recognize him at all!

      I get the feeling this story is more of a beat up than anything else, don’t you! 🙂

      • Yeah, it’s good for laughs. And the world would need a few laughs around this time. Four days after this article was published the Titanic sank.

        • I wonder if that was why the story had such legs? When the news of the Titanic reverberated around the world a story like this would have been a pleasing alternative.

  3. To modern day me, this sounds like media spin… and did such a thing exist in 1797? A great way to beat up a craze for glossy dazzling silk hats… I wonder if it really was such a big deal…

    • I think it sounds like media spin too. A quick bit of research told me that while some believe it to be true, other references seem to think this story didn’t surface until many decades later than 1797. The fine sounds a little extreme too doesn’t it!

    • It is quite funny, isn’t it? The first thing that I though of when I read this article was the well-known Melbourne milliner Richard Nylon. Whenever I see him on the telly he is either surrounded by, or wearing, interesting hats. Plus, he has the appropriate facial hair to carry off a top hat 😉

      I looked for a clip of him and found this one of him having his ‘mo threaded through an unusual face/hairpiece that I think illustrates my point pretty well 😉

  4. A tall, shiny hat and that’s all… umm…. You have to be naked to get more than a glance in New York in the 21st century. Might be fun to live at a time when a hat would cause that much of a fuss.

    • I think that there are very few places in the world these days when extreme fashion choices get much more than a passing snigger. Just imagine the societal restrictions they would be living under if that hat caused such a fuss? We are assuming that there is some tiny grain of truth to this story of course aren’t we. 😉 I do want it to be true though!

      (As a fashion lover you might like the clip about Richard Nylon I used in my reply to The World is my Cuttlefish above.)

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