Hat Types: The Peach Basket

Peach Basket | Royal Hats

History: Like many fashion trends, Peach Basket hats came into style almost overnight in 1908, first in the eastern United States. Named for an upturned country basket used to gather fruit, early hats in this style were large in scale and became a sensation thanks to their elaborate trimmings- fruit, birds, flowers, ruched fabric etc. and to an article in 1907 in American Vogue seen by couturiers and milliners in numerous countries who rushed to copy the newest style. The hat shape was so widely known it inspired a comedy film Flossie’s New Peach Basket Hat and song, In a Peach Basket Hat Made for Two.

As widely known as the extreme shape became, mainstream sales were consistently low and 1909, the president of the US National Association of Retail Milliners admitted Peach Basket hats had not gone over well to the extent that “future concerted effort has been made to tone down all attempts to introduce freak creations”. As quickly as the style surged to the forefront of millinery style, it fell into obscurity. A brief resurgence occurred in the 1950s with a softer version, draped in fabric (like the one worn by Princess Margaret in the bottom row, below) but the shape never become truly popular again, except in informal “bucket hat” versions made of canvas (sun hats) or waterproof fabric (rain and sailing hats) like Princess Anne’s red one at the 2012 London Olympics, below.

Characteristics: Think overturned basket!  The crown of a Peach Basket has a flat top and straight sides that extend in an unbroken, straight A-shape line down around the wearer’s face where the hat is at its widest point. Often covered in ruched fabric or straw, the style is worn down, over the wearer’s forehead and eyebrows, leaving them peeking out from under the bottom of the hat. A traditional Peach Basket has no brim and the hat is blocked in one piece from top to bottom.

Royals Associated with this Hat Style: No one in particular – we see the shape very seldom on a royal head.

      

Queen Elizabeth, July 9, 2015; Princess Katherine of Serbia, Dec 6, 2008;
Princess Maria Laura of Belgium, April 12, 2003; Duchess of Kent, June 4, 2003

    

Princess Mabel of the Netherlands, April 30, 2005; Princess Margaret, Sep 24, 1956;
Princess Anne, July 29, 2012; Princess Margriet, May 3, 2010

I find it interesting that this style has been controversial and not widely embraced since its beginning- I think the shape is a difficult one to proportion and wear in a way that’s flattering. I think it works best with a wider bottom framing the face (like the last three) than the first five, narrower versions. What do you think of the Peach Basket shape? Are there other royal Peach Basket hats you can remember?

To see all of the other hat styles in the Royal Hats Glossary, jump to this dedicated page. 

Photos from WPA Pool, Photonews, Tim GrahamJulian Paker, Picture Post,  Alex Livesey, via Getty; Monarchy Press; 

20 thoughts on “Hat Types: The Peach Basket

  1. Princess Margaret wears her particular version of the peach basket brilliantly. She looks Fab!!

  2. Not royal I’m afraid but I think Doris Day was the best proponent of bucket hats … she was always so chic especially in “Pillow ,Talk” I had to have one just like her 😊😊 (those were the days when you wore a hat and gloves to a job interview !!!!!! ) I really don’t think they were “Princess hats” – they weren’t – how shall I put it … classy enough !

  3. I’m not having too much luck in this department. The closest I found may not be today’s category, but similar. If this hat was on the floor, I’d definitely practice shooting “baskets” of paper wads into it!

    November 13, 2016; Remembrance Sunday
    Embed from Getty Images

    JamesB, could this be the Caribbean hat you mentioned earlier? I’m not so sure this is a Peach Basket/bucket hat, what do you think, HQ? It is, however, a “peach” of a hat!

    February 18, 2002; Kingston, Jamaica
    Embed from Getty Images

    • I suspect this has stumped even you, Jimbo, because there are so few royal hats in this shape! If pushed to categorize the black one, I’d name it a Stovepipe because of the straight sides of the crown and the bottom, flare out of the brim. That being said, I included this very hat in this post before removing it at the last minute! Sometimes, it’s a fine line between a Peach Basket and a Stovepipe.

      This is the orange hat that came to mind from JamesB’s description but it was worn in Singapore so I don’t think it’s correct. It’s a more obvious Stovepipe.
      Embed from Getty Images

  4. Princess Anne’s version of this hat reminded me, more than anything else, of the hat worn by the fictitious character Lt. Provenza in the American TV series “Major Crimes”. The popularity of his hat style grew in this country along with the popularity of the character. (I have one in tan.) When I looked for photos online, I did observe that the hat style was universally referred to as a “bucket” hat. A photo of Lt. Provenza in his hat can be found here:
    https://cartermatt.com/266008/major-crimes-what-can-the-show-do-with-lieutenant-provenza/

    (I do also love the mental image of cords being needed to pull up the blinds on Princess Maria Laura’s!)

  5. I think this style of hat could be elegant. Princess Margaret is my favorite in the above photos. She reminds me of Audrey Hepburn. I don’t mind the ones on Elizabeth, Mabel, Margriet and Katherine. I also like Anne’s but she is obviously not trying to be elegant. It reminds me of what we would call a fishing hat style.

    The ones on Princess Maria and the Duchess of Kent I can only say….Lampshade.

  6. I can see why this style hasn’t caught on! Of these, HM’s Aqua is the best-proportioned, but Maria Laura’s is inexplicable. I like the scaled down sporty bucket variation.

    • Every time he sees Maria Laura’s hat, Mr. HQ imagines it to have side cords that one can pull to raise or lower it, like a balloon window shade. It’s certainly a memorable iteration of this hat shape!

  7. In the late 59s-early 60s, I wore one of these hats for my golfing hat — everyone I know who wore them back then (for recreation or dress-up), called it a bucket hat – but this was in So. California. My golfing bucket hat was covered in beige feathers and was straw. I had a bucket hat for church as well back then, but rarely wore it. It was soft lime green with some peachy-pink and white flowers at one side. Size wise it was close to the one above being worn by Princess Mable. The one Princess Anne has on from 2012 Olympics, I would still to this day, call that a bucket hat. Maybe we in So. Calif. never got the word these were referred to as Peach Basket Hats. Well, Basket hat and bucket hat are close!

    • I wonder if, when the style came back in the 50s/60s, it came back universally as a ‘Bucket’ hat instead of a ‘Peach Basket’?

  8. I think you hit the nail on the head (hat?) when you said it’s a tough style to wear in a way that’s flattering. The two examples on the right of the bottom row seem to have a little extra flare of brim, which does make them a bit more flattering. The hat second from right in the top row could be taken for a rather unfortunate homemade lampshade – not at all the desired effect.

    • That’s Princess Katherine of Serbia and yes- her hat is rather à la lampshade.

      Just realized I forgot to caption the photos- now it’s fixed!

      • Is Princess Katherine the second one along or the 3rd? The caption says 2nd but the picture I was (somewhat convolutedly) referring to is the 3rd one along (the sort of orangey one) – captioned as Maria Laura of Belgium. Of course, this would be much less confusing if both hats were not, in their own ways, rather lampshadesque.

        • Ah- apparently I can’t count. The captions are correct – it’s Maria Laura’s hat you commented on and indeed, it’s got a very unfortunate lampshade vibe going on.

  9. Well there are some unsuccessful titfers here! I think Margaret does it best, and I don’t hate HM’s. Anne’s Is a fairly normal sailing hat. And the poor DoK could be saved by looping a bit off so she could see!

    I thought that QEII had worn this style in orange in the Caribbean in 2002, but I’ll let you be the judge… it’s not quite there.

    A tough style for sure. Yet I think it could work, just these aren’t the best examples!

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