Hat From the Past

Royal Hats to this day in 1985 and the arrival of Diana, Princess of Wales at East Midlands airport for a visit to Derby in a camel felt hat with upfolded brim edged in silk velvet with a bow at the back. The hat comes from a period in her millinery which saw her experiment more with larger scale pieces of various shapes.

Embed from Getty Images Embed from Getty Images
Embed from Getty Images Embed from Getty Images

Photos from Getty as indicated

14 thoughts on “Hat From the Past

  1. Diana must have really liked her newly restyled coat with this hat — she wore it a number of times in 1985, including with a different blouse and also with reddish leather boots. Some photos of the various appearances here: https://www.pinterest.com/matthew951/diana-1985/tan-wales-coat/.

    I actually like both the original hat with the feather with the wrap style, and this hat with the sleeker double-breasted style. Each hat seems to go well with the coat it’s matched to. And though this hat is large, I think it looks fine with Diana’s longer hairstyle of that time. It would not have looked as good with the shorter hairstyle she had in later years.

      • Paulina, the photos in the referenced Pinterest board show four different events, as listed below. The coat, blouse, and hat are always the same, but if you click to enlarge them, she is not always wearing the boots, the bags are different, and her hair is slightly different lengths and styles. Also there are umbrellas at one of them. That is literally the only way to tell them apart aside from the backgrounds and surrounding people.

        January 20, 1985 – The Prince and Princess Of Wales walked to church in Sandringham. On that occasion, she wore stockings and tan shoes.

        February 19, 1985 – Diana visited Derby College of Further Education, East Midlands. On that occasion, she wore reddish leather knee-high boots and carried a matching reddish leather purse.

        March 25, 1985 – Diana visited the Roxburghe House Hospice in Milltimber, Aberdeen. On that occasion, she also wore reddish leather knee-high boots and carried a matching reddish leather purse. The photos that show her outside in the rain with people with umbrellas are from Roxburghe, not Derby.

        October 16, 1985 – Diana visited the Remploy factory in Coventry, which employs disabled people. On that occasion, she wore stockings and regular shoes, and her purse appeared to be a light tan.

        Everyone might be interested in this YouTube video https://youtu.be/8IEygUTzlJg of the October visit to Remploy — it’s kind of blurry, but there are some brief views of the back of the hat, showing the bow and the interesting notch in the upturned brim, which are not easily visible in any of the still photos.

        I never came upon any other photos of that hat after 1985, so I guess after 4 appearances, she decided she had worn it enough!

  2. Darla, I agree – not my favorite color on such a beautiful princess.
    Different hat, same coat: Christchurch, New Zealand.
    April 28, 1983
    Embed from Getty Images

      • I agree Deborah, the 1983 hat is too much, with the already intense New Romanticism of the ruffled shirt, and the gathered shoulders and overall Edwardian styling of the coat. ( thanks Jimbo for the handy comparison photo!)
        I really like the bold and simple shape of today’s 1985 hat. Diana wore such big hats so very well. And aside from the coat, the rest of the look is very classic – a simple blouse, knee boots and clutch: https://princessdianabookboutique.files.wordpress.com/2015/02/image434.jpg?w=660.
        I also agree that beige is not Diana’s best colour;, but insofar as it tones in with her hair colour, it’s a good basic working neutral for her, as it is for most blondes.

    • You beat me to posting this photo, Jimbo! Two bits of trivia about this coat and hat: first, the coat — we were a while back talking about some of us not liking wrap coats with belts because they look like bathrobes (might have been in response to Ms. Markle’s coat at Christmas) — this coat was originally worn in Wales (Oct. 28, 1981) and was then a wrap style coat. It was also still a wrap in your Christchurch photo, though you can’t tell due to the flowers. I believe East Midlands was the first time it made an appearance in its new double-breasted styling, though I would have to look into that to be sure.

      Second, the hat — the hat in your photo was also worn in Wales in 1981 but it had a very fine veil, which was later removed. The same blouse was also worn with the same coat, so the presence or absence of the veil is the only way to tell apart photos of those two appearances. (Aside, of course, from recognizing things in the background.) Diana got drenched in the rain on that day in Wales, and the feather on the hat was a soggy mess — I was very surprised that the hat ever appeared again, but it obviously was cleaned up, and perhaps the feather replaced.

      Some photos of the coat and hat in Wales in 1981 can be found here https://www.pinterest.com/matthew951/diana-1981/tan-coat-wales/ including a couple of full length views.

      • Interesting, Matthew! by today’s standards, the wrap styling of the coat looks the more modern of the two versions – there’s a trench coat feel about it — however the sleeves still look like they belong to another style of coat altogether, so it has an awkward hybrid look.

        • mcncln, thank you for a thought-provoking comment! I tend to get so focused on data collection that I fail to think about how something from a past era might translate into today’s styles. Clearly the wrap style coat is coming back or already back, especially since Meghan wore one at Christmas, but Diana’s sleeves look a bit old-fashioned with those slightly puffy shoulders. My mother used to save all her old clothes in case they would come back in style, and always said that whenever anything actually did come back in style, it was just different enough from the previous go-round that you could never actually just wear the old clothes “as is”!

          • Matthew, I think your mother has hit the nail on the head. One reason that style revivals don’t exactly replicate items from an earlier era – apart from the wish not to slavishly duplicate –is that the fabrics used back then are often no longer available today (remember nylon, Crimplene, rayon?). and the fabrics currently available don’t come in the same print patterns or colour palettes. Neither are the same trims (buttons, fastenings, zippers,) available; and if one goes back far enough, to the early sixties and beyond, the foundation garments aren’t available either. So vintage clothing that expresses a trend of its era can indeed stick out like a sore thumb if worn today “as is”; and as your mother implies, it mostly does need restyling if it’s going to be worn in conjunction with more current items.

  3. I don’t remember seeing this hat before and I really like it! It matches the coat so well and I love the ribbon and bow at the back. Would this be classified as a pillbox or a calot?

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