Hatpins

Costume

Hatpins

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In the late 19th century women’s bonnets tied with ribbons gave way to the fashion for large decorative hats requiring a metal hatpin to keep them in place.  Hatpins of the wealthy were in precious metals with jewelled heads, while the lower echelons of society such as shopgirls made do with simpler glass beads. Around 1901 hats could be elaborate creations of taffeta, bows, ostrich feathers, flowers and even artificial fruit, requiring a pin over a foot long pushed through the hair to secure them. Long hatpins were popularly regarded as secret weapons against hooligans on the street, providing many a novel’s heroine with a means of defence, but the fiction also had its basis in actual instances. This led several cities in Europe and America to limit the length of hatpins by law and require them to have protective guards of cork or even potato pieces, under the guise of avoiding accidental hatpin-related injuries on crowded tramcars.