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Memorial Day / Hat of the Week Sketch – 1940s turbans

May 29, 2010

In honor of Memorial Day weekend here in the United States, I decided to choose a military theme for this week’s Hat of the Week.  An extensive keyword search for “military inspired hats” (and several variations of that wording) turned up nothing in modern millinery (I know they’re out there, I just didn’t have hours to spend researching – sorry).  Instead of browsing through the websites of the many modern milliners I’ve bookmarked trying to find a hat reminiscent of WWII, I opted for a drawing featuring two turbans from the 1940s.  Believe me, there was no shortage of funky turbans produced back then!!

Turbans became popular staples of the American woman’s wardrobe during World War II, a fine example of necessity becoming the mother of invention.  The war effort caused many raw materials to be rationed, including bobby pins.  Women could not wash their hair as often so they opted to cover them with do-rags such as those worn by Rosie the Riveter*, snoods, and turbans.  Out of adversity came a fashion trend that helped preserve vital resources yet enabled women to feel good about their appearances.  I’m sure it was a bonus to have one’s hair completely out of the face (I personally hate having my hair in my face).

* Hey, I just found out Rosie the Riveter has a National Park in California!

So, for those of you in America – or those of you elsewhere who commemorate those who have perished in your country’s wars – have a blessed Memorial Day.  No matter what your political affiliation, please pause for a moment to thank the men and women in our armed forces who have given their lives, and those who currently serve, for their dedication to our safety and our liberty.

As always, please feel free to comment on this post below.  If you like what you see here, subscribe to this blog for more great millinery stuff!

1940s turbans - Helen & Rene 1945 (left); Albouy 1943 (right)

3 Comments leave one →
  1. Christie permalink
    May 29, 2010 10:28 am

    Thank you for that research and bit of history!

  2. May 29, 2010 11:29 pm

    This is great information – I’m so happy to find you! I always felt uncomfortable in hats, until I had no choice but to wear something on my head. I started making turbans/wraps when I lost my hair to chemo, and long after my hair has grown back, they are a staple in my wardrobe and I’m always looking for new ideas. You are an inspiration!

    • June 7, 2010 12:22 am


      I’m sorry to hear you’ve been through chemo but so glad to hear you’re okay and that you’ve turned your experience into a positive outreach to others going through chemo! My sister went through chemo six years ago so we know what that’s like. The whole experience helped her to live more fully and not to take life for granted, a lesson we should all learn.

      I’ve been wearing scarves and hats for at least 20 years and love the versatility of headwear. As much as I love to wear hats, I still sometimes opt for a scarf instead because it pulls my hair completely out of my face (great for driving with the windows down!), plus I love the way they look. Many cultures globally use scarves/turbans in daily wear and I love to play with the styles to achieve diverse ethnic looks. Very stylish no matter what country you hail from!

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