In Elizabethan England, a woman was supposed to cover her head at all times. From girls to women to older women, society deemed that their hair be covered. This was considered as concealing of one’s charms, that is, the hair. Therefore, it was an important part of an Elizabethan woman’s ensemble.
Women’s Fashion in the Elizabethan Era
To step out of the house without a hat was unthinkable and unimaginable for an Elizabethan woman. A veil, hat, cauls or a coif was to be worn by the women. After some time, hats stopped being a custom and merely became a thing of fashion.
Milliners all over London used to be crowded by ladies picking and choosing hats and bonnets, materials and style. Velvet, taffeta, wool, tinsel, gold and silver was used for making hats.
Elizabethan Era Hairstyles
The design and shape of hats would determine the hairstyle of women. Most ladies of higher classes would use wigs or their servants would arrange their hair in curls or some style or the other. The hats, veils, coifs or cauls were decorated with gold threading, lace, spangles, pearls, glass gems, feather and stones. There were numerous styles of head dresses.
The coif or biggin as it is otherwise known was a head dress for all the children. It was a normal white coloured cloth made of linen usually. It was a tight and hugged the head and went under the chin where it was tied. These were also used below the more fancy hats to control unruly hair.
French hood was, as the name suggests, a contribution by the French. This type of hat was first worn in England by Anne Boleyn. It was a crescent shaped hat angled away from the face. The edge was usually decorated with lace, pearls, precious stones and gems. The hair behind was hidden by a veil.
Something akin to the French hood was the atifet, albeit the crescent in a heart shape. Lace was often used to line it. The hair net used in Elizabethan times was called the caul. It was draped over the hair at the nape and the material was cloth or netted cord which was spangled at times. The pillbox hat was a normal hat with a veil joined at the back.
Elizabethan Era Hats for Women
There were a few other types of Elizabethan hate for women, like, the crispine which was a lot like the caul, but made of net. A frontlet, also known as cross cloth or binding cloth was used by women under a coif, who were not well. It was submerged in herbs.
A type of bandana known as kercher, short for kerchief was worn on the head or neck. Hairnets were also called Lattice cappe. Hats were also governed by the Sumptuary laws. All women were to wear white hats made from wool, yarn, etc unless their husbands were of good social standing and in the Queen’s favour.