Whether you take a religious or a secular view of Easter, from a fashion perspective, Easter takes the form of a hat—the Easter Bonnet.
The tradition of wearing new clothes—or refurbishing old ones—at Easter is a very old custom that was widespread for centuries and ill luck was thought to befall those who didn’t follow it.
Spring was a celebration of renewal and rebirth and also the pretext for a bit of new finery.
Even Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, has mention of it as Mercutio chides Benvolio: Did’ st thou not fall out with a Tailor for wearing his new Doublet before Easter?
But it was a song written by Irving Berlin in the 1930s that ingrained the notion of wearing a new hat for the Easter Parade into the popular culture psyche.
In the Christian calendar, Easter signals the end of Lent and so women indulged in a little millinery extravagance.
Easter bonnets were once big business.
An Easter bonnet was typically wide-brimmed with a pastel satin ribbon and springtime motifs such as flowers.
To underscore the popularity, desirability, and stylishness of such Spring hats, every season fashion magazines such as Vogue featured them prominently on their covers and in fashion editorials.
The elaborate hats (which often matched a special dress) were worn to church and then to the Easter Parade which began in New York in 1870.
An Easter bonnet can be dramatic
What will your Easter Bonnet be?
POST PHOTO: Christy Turlington, “My Fair Lady”, British Vogue,1991, Photo: Patrick Demarchelier.