How to Wear Vintage Hats – Part 2


In Part 2 I’ll show some of my inspiration for styling Thirties and Forties hats.

ITV’s Poirot is a delight to watch, not just for the story, but the attention to detail for the era. It’s difficult to find photos of the characters that only show up in one episode, which means you have to watch it to see their headgear! Miss Lemon is a resident character at Poirot’s flat, working as his secretary, so I found photos of her hats! I think she is a good example of a well-dressed lady, without being from the upperclasses, so a good role model everyday or office wear dressing in the Thirties.

One way to wear a hat for a Thirties style outfit is to wear the hat on top of your head, which sounds silly, because isn’t that where it’s meant to be anyway! Look at the photos to see what I mean. Hair is shorter or done up close to the head.

I don’t often wear hats with my Forties outfits as I tend to go for high updo’s, then it’s a shame to cover it up. Look at Death by Deco for a masterclass in hat wearing, especially the Forties styles – and brilliant turban tying lessons!

Forties hats

The series Agent Carter is one of my favourite Forties set TV shows. The red hat! Interestingly, the more masculine, power dressing style and tailoring for the Forties was partly born from wartime ‘make do and mend’ ingenuity. The women at home were encouraged to keep up appearances for the troops morale, and that meant one was allowed to raid the husband’s wardrobe for altering to womenswear! This was not just jackets, but hats too. That’s why some of the hats have a trilby look.

I’ve styled the same hat from the Thirties look for the Forties, by wearing at the back of my head, so the brim frames my hairstyle and face like a halo. If you don’t have a high updo at the front, you can wear perch (or tilt) hats like in the original photos above.

For historical accuracy, Forties films, (I like film noir), will give you some amazing creations to look out for. This turban/ knitted headband from Hitchcock’s Suspicion, worn by Joan Fontaine had me rewinding the final scene. I think this is going on my wish list of knits.

NB. Since writing this post, I can offer to knit a recreation of this knotted headband. Go to my Contact page to enquire or through FB (thegirllovesvintageshop), my Etsy shop (GirlLovesVintageShop) or DM on Instagram @thegirllovesvintage.

Joan Fontaine in Suspicion - knitted turban hat headband

In Part 3 we’ll look at the Fifties and Sixties.


Inspired by Rachael in Blade runner – Forties hairstyle

The stylist and costume department must have had a great time dressing the female characters in Bladerunner. I think I could live in this collective wardrobe, but would perhaps cause undue comment grocery shopping in a few of them. Iridescent scales for one.

The mix of 80’s futuristic sci-fi and Forties film noir is spot on and works so well. Forties and Eighties cross over a lot. Think big hairdos, shoulder pads, empowering tailoring for women and even the transparent coat!

Following are my favourite looks from the film, and what I have used from my wardrobe to emulate the most wearable and stylish outfits – those worn by replicant Rachael.


Rachael Blade runner

Rachael has a classic femme fatale Forties hairstyle and make-up, which echo the film noir style of filming this futuristic sci-fi story. Her make-up seems to change slightly through the film, but the basic features remain – strong eyebrows and cheekbones, smoky eyes, red lips, with red nails.

Blade runner Rachael – hair and make-up
Eye make-up detail

I found good tutorials for Forties hairstyles like Rachael’s in Vintage Hairstyles.

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The colour palette for Rachael’s wardrobe are muted shades of grey and blues and greens (just about visible on her blouse), that work well with the film noir lighting and photography.

The grey suit with horizontal stripes of tonal fabric is straight out of the Forties, even Marilyn Monroe owned one similar to this, before she was famous. The crossover detail on the neck is also a detail used on clothes in the Forties, as is the matching thin belt. The straight cut and just below the knee length skirts are Forties too.

Under this suit, Rachael has a long sleeved V-neck blouse with pintucks of various colours. This is seen when in Dekkard’s flat, sitting at the piano.

The black suit, in futuristic fabric with a sheen, has a high neck again. The collar looks like a shirt collar, with a diamond shape Art Deco style brooch centrally placed, instead of a bow or tie. At one point she has a clutch with an Art Deco pattern too.

And every femme fatale needs a fur coat.

Notice the heeled court shoes too, if you can. The pair with the grey suit have an interesting two-tone design.

On Pinterest I’ve saved more photo’s of Rachael’s outfits.

The grey suit above is from Vintage Guru. It is an Eighties does Forties skirt suit, with a high waisted pencil skirt and a collarless box jacket. The buttons at the back are a lovely detail and are actually used as the fastening. The buttons around the waist and hips needed moving slightly to give me room to move, and the skirt was shortened from ankle grazing up to below the knee.

These navy separates go well as a suit, with the skirt I made and the vintage heels echo the Art Deco detailing featured in Rachael’s outfits.

Here are some other outfits from my wardrobe, inspired by Rachael.

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The spray paint futuristic make-up is one I want to use for a party. Chokers are back in vogue,and something I wear anyway, but my stocking’s stay under my clothes. It looks like Pris is wearing a playsuit.


Zhora’s clear raincoat

This clear PVC swing coat is something I’m still looking for. I was surprised when researching this to find that clear plastic raincoats were fashionable as early as the Forties. The swing shape makes this unusual, as most available now are trench coats or hooded poncho’s.

I love the stand up mandarin style collar and the large oval top stitched pockets. The piping around the yoke and the small pockets on the chest are fairly traditional, but I like that the edges of the sleeves and hem are not outlined, but you can only see them when the light catches them.

Anyone out there able to make this? Get in touch, please!

Over-the-knee boots are finally back in fashion. Not that if they weren’t it would stop me wearing them, but to be fashionable means one is able to buy a pair easily. The spikes are less practical, and I like the thigh cuff, which reminds me of Princess Leah’s slave outfit, with the intricate metalwork.

See my posts about The Avengers and Mrs Peel for more on over-the-knee and thigh high boots.

Zhora’s showgirl outfit

The show ‘outfit’  (I use the term very loosely) of iridescent scales or body gems looks amazing, and could be nodded to with a sequined flesh tone top or body, worn with more conventional skinnies or would even look good with a fluid silk skirt.

The gems would be great party make-up.


1940’s inspired Winter outfit

I noticed the Miu Miu 15/16 Winter campaign was a mix of Fortie’s and Sixtie’s. The victory rolls, big shoulders and lapels and the costume jewellery were from the Forties’s, while the mini skirts and shifts, and the make-up were Sixtie’s. It’s been too cold for short hemlines with nude tights, so I used the Fortie’s inspiration for a cold winters day.

The more I look the more I find how many different styles of shoe were around in the past, so although I normally wear these shoes with 20’s style dresses, I think they go well with the pale colours. The jewellery is from H&M and everything else from La Redoute.

The fashion of the early Forties while generally simpler in shapes because of the war, focused on the details of the collar and shoulders, and interesting notions like pockets and buttons and contrasting fabric patterns.

This navy dress with a pink petal pattern is a find of my Mum’s, and fits the Forties with its drapes and gathers, natural waistline and below the knee length. I love the bow tie shoes. Mum’s sunglasses are form Glasses Direct.

This coat was passed on to us by a friend who knows we love vintage. I don’t know how old it is, but it fits well with looks from the Thirties to the Fifties. Clothes can often be dated by the hemline and waist. A camel coat is a basic essential too. The fax fur hat is my ‘Doctor Zhivago’ Lara hat. I usually go for a Russian look, but fur accessories were popular in the Forties and it was cold outside!



Gilda dress


Rita Hayworth wears this simply stunning black floor length evening dress in the film noir Gilda. Gilda wears this dress to the nightclub to make her old flame jealous and provoke a reaction, since they keep falling out. During the scene she sings ‘Put the Blame on Mame’ and removes one glove, burlesque style.

As seen in the photo, the dress is accessorised with long black satin gloves and peep toe shoes. In the film Gilda also wears a diamond necklace close to the collar bone.Some shots show her with a fur stole or coat.

I envy the amazing fit of clothes on film, especially from the 30’s to the 50’s.While the original appears to have been black, I think she would have looked amazing in emerald green, especially with her famous red hair.


This is my dress rehearsal for a dance I was going to, and below, the photos with my hair and make-up done.

I am wearing a vintage diamanté necklace from my Nanna, sheer gloves from What Katie Did, peep toe heels with a slight platform. The girls in the Forties did platforms first! 

I found this dress on I can recommend their ASOS collection, as this dress proves. They offer made to measure and ready to wear sizes as well as a choice of colours.

Her hair has had the curls brushed out to give more volume, and lots of pomade or hairspray must have been used to keep the smoothness. While Gila sings, you can see her hair get more curls.

The Forties glamorous make-up focused on a bold lip and more natural looking eyes. This was Hollywood, so false eyelashes were used to lengthen the lashes, but not to thicken them.

Gilda dress

Now for the party!