History: Invented by milliner Caroline Reboux in 1908, cloche hats became a popular fashion accessory during the 1920s and early 1930s. The name is derived from cloche, the French word for “bell”. The cloche enjoyed a resurgence in the spotlight during the the 1960s and has recently come back in vogue, thanks to popular British TV show ‘Downton Abbey’.
Characteristics: A fitted, bell-shaped hat that conforms to the head. Cloche hats are worn low on the forehead, with the wearer’s eyes only slightly below the brim
Royals Associated with this Hat Style: During the late 1920s and 30s, the Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother wore many hats in this style.
Queen Elizabeth also embraced this hat shape in the late 1970s. Today, we see cloche hats most on Queen Silvia and Queen Sonja, although they pop up occasionally on other royal heads.
Queen Maxima, April 2003; Queen Sonja, October 2010; Queen Elizabeth,1976; Tatiana Santo Domingo, July 2011;
Queen Silvia in April 2017, August 2012, January 2018 and May 2007
Viscountess Linley, June 1998; Zara Phillips March 2003; Princess Caroline, Nov. 2007; Zara Phillips, March 2010
Queen Elizabeth,1976; Grand Duchess Maria Teresa Mar 2012;
Queen Sonja June 2010; Princess Alexandra, Dec 2012
While the cloche is a relatively simple shape of hat, I think it is one of the most difficult hats to wear. Not everyone looks good in a hat worn so closely to the head and the low brim of a cloche does not lend itself well to royal life (a life that is all about being seen). That is probably why we don’t see it worn very much. What do you think of the cloche?
Photos from: Michel Porro and isifa via Getty; Rex Features; Bauer Griffin; Michael Campanella via Getty; Mikael Fritzon via ANP; Johan Jeppsson/IBL; Hans E.Ericson/IBL; Anwar Hussein via Getty; Corbis; Corbis;Jean-Claude Ernst