One of the first pictorial depictions of a hat appears in a Thebes
tomb painting which shows a man wearing a conical straw hat. Other early hats were the Pileus
, a simple skull cap; the Phrygian cap
, worn by freed slaves in Greece and Rome; and the Greek petasos
, the first known hat with a brim. Women wore veils, kerchiefs, hoods, caps and wimples. St. Clement
, the patron saint of felt
hatmakers, is said to have discovered wool felt when he filled his sandals with flax
fibers to protect his feet.
Structured hats for women similar to those of male courtiers began to be worn in the late 16th century.
The term ‘milliner’ comes from the Italian city of Milan, where the
best quality hats were made in the 18th century. Millinery was
traditionally a woman’s occupation, with the milliner not only creating
hats and bonnets but also choosing lace, trimmings and accessories to
complete an outfit.