As you know I love hairstyles, but I’m also a hat person. No, I don’t wear one, but I wish I did. Given this fascination with brimmed accessories, is it any wonder I couldn’t pass up Bro. Joseph F. Martin’s challenge?
This photo depicts his great-grandparents Nicholas and Marcyanna Kaptur in front of their home in Detroit. Standing next to them are their daughters Emily and Constance.
It’s a wonderful snapshot. Bro. Martin would like to know when the picture was taken but can’t identify the hats.
I’ve spent the morning studying their hats. From left to right, there’s a wonderful array of chapeaus. Dating and identifying a hat relies on a few things such as size and shape of the crown, size and shape of the brim, decorations (if any) and then the other details in the picture. The final bit is important because very often, historic hat styles return to current fashion. If you don’t look at the context of the hat you could have the wrong decade or even century.
Great-grandmother Maryanna has a fascinating hat with a narrow brim and puffy mushroom looking crown. Her warm-weather straw hat is accented by a wide ribbon. Her husband wears a soft felt hat with a boxy crown and a wide brim. Next to him is one of their daughters, looking quite fashionable in a soft brimmed cloche hat. Her sister wears a smaller hat with what looks like a folded-back brim.
Maryanna’s dress with its drop waist and sailor-style collar is much older than the photo; I think from circa 1920. Older folks in photos tend to wear older styles rather than the current trends, but there are exceptions. The daughter standing second from left wears a lovely summer dress with narrow sleeves topped with full caps, and belted at the natural waist. It’s the most fashionable outfit in the photo, stylish around 1925-1929. Her sister wears a drop-waist dress from about 1925.
In this case, the dress styles and dates vary, but it appears that everyone’s hat is contemporary to the late 1920s. The family is in the 1930 federal census as Nicholas, 68; Mary, 67; Constance, 26; Joseph, 26; and Emily, 23. So where’s Joseph in this snapshot? I don’t have proof, but he’s probably the one behind the camera.