Created By: jadmire on August 30, 2011 Last Edited By: jadmire on September 2, 2011

Hats With Veils

Veiled Hats

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A hat with a veil, usually made of netting or lace, worn by a woman; the veil can either partially (usually to nose level) or completely cover the face. Often seen on the Femme Fatale and other women of mystery, also wealthy women/socialites, such as the Rich Bitch, and widows; sometimes worn by royals. Common types of hats incorporating frontal veils include:
  • the "fascinator" (actually more of a head decoration than a hat per se, and often features feathers or flowers in addition to or instead of a veil);
  • the "cocktail" hat (for evening wear; an actual hat, though it might be confused with a fascinator because it often looks so insubstantial - several representative images can be seen at http://collections.tepapa.govt.nz/search.aspx?term=cocktail%20hat);
  • and the "pillbox" hat (for daytime wear, famously associated with Jacqueline Kennedy on the day of her husband's assassination, though in that case it didn't have a veil attached). Interestingly, the women's style appears to have been adopted from a style of men's military hat, designed in the style of a "pillbox" defensive position - which follows the tradition of items of women's fashion being adapted from men's military wear (for example, the [[Opera Glovesmousquetaire glove]] being an adaptation of the gauntlet worn by 17th-century musketeers.

Some wide-brimmed hats also come with a veil.

In the Film Noir context, the veiled hat is often used to signal the "mystery woman" (whether or not said woman is actually the Femme Fatale). The face veil provides an outstanding prop for The Reveal, as the mystery woman lifts her veil (or has it lifted for her) to show her face for the first time.

In other contexts, such as party scenes, the veiled hat signals flirtatiousness or seductiveness, as the wearer is assumed to be inviting attention by men curious to know what's under the netting.

Bridal headdresses also count, as many of them incorporate full-face veils; wedding sequences in movies and TV shows will often include a shot of the groom lifting his bride's veil as he prepares to kiss her after the exchange of vows.

Of course, it often happens that a woman will simply wear a nice hat with a face veil to fulfill Rule of Sexy and/or Rule of Glamorous, without any subtext intended beyond that.

Hat-wearing (by either gender) is rare enough these days that a woman wearing a veiled hat is almost guaranteed to receive attention at a party or other event (hence the name, "fascinator").

This article at http://www.silverscreenmodiste.com/2011/04/veiled-beauty.html gives a good basic overview of the various types of female characters who wear veiled hats in film.

The hats worn by beekeepers are not an example of this trope, although they unquestionably incorporate full-face veils and many beekeepers are women. The purpose of those hats is practical (protection from bee stings), not decorative/erotic/dramatic.
Community Feedback Replies: 11
  • August 30, 2011
    TrustBen
    Lady Luck, a Golden Age heroine created by Will Eisner as a kind of Distaff Counterpart to The Spirit, wore a broad green hat with a matching veil covering the bottom half of her face.
  • August 30, 2011
    jadmire
    In a Hanes pantyhose commercial from the 1970's (which also featured Foot Popping), the featured woman wore a pillbox hat with a net veil covering most of her face. Her beau lifted the veil preparatory to kissing her.
  • August 30, 2011
    jadmire
    Joan Collins often wore veiled hats, whether "pillbox"/"fascinator" or wide-brimmed, during her time on Dynasty.
  • August 30, 2011
    peccantis
    And why is this not Hats With Veils? What's the deeper meaning?
  • August 30, 2011
    jadmire
    As I just pointed out, hat-wearing is rare enough these days that a woman wearing a veiled hat almost automatically gets some extra attention. The garment is also closely associated with several very specific character types (the Femme Fatale, the Grande Dame or Rich Bitch, the bride), and provides a good prop for accentuating The Reveal of a mystery woman's identity.
  • August 30, 2011
    jadmire
  • August 30, 2011
    peccantis
    ^^ Ok, I'll buy the association with specific character types though.
  • August 30, 2011
    Abodos
    You might want to mention the hats that bee-keepers wear, just to distinguish how they're not examples of this.
  • August 30, 2011
    X2X
    So, if a woman is wearing a hat with a veil in the back, it doesn't count?
  • August 31, 2011
    jadmire
    I think that might be a YMMV. As noted, bridal headdresses - I'm thinking of Western ones though I believe this is also true of bridal wear in other regions - commonly feature long veils. I was considering specifically the ones with veils covering the face, but yes, said veils generally hang down the back. However, I believe I've seen very few if any "fascinator" or "pillbox"-style hats - which are the ones that are most applicable here - which have veils only in the back.
  • August 31, 2011
    Arivne
    Film
    • Thunderball. At Colonel Bouvar's funeral, Mrs. Bouvar wears a hat with a veil. James Bond later determines that Mrs. Bouvar is in fact Colonel Bouvar (who was pulling an Attending Your Own Funeral in disguise) and rips off the hat and veil while fighting Bouvar.
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