Oktoberfest – a traditional autumn beer festival held in Munich, Germany – has been known to feature many hats over the years. With Oktoberfest right around the corner, we decided to take a glimpse of some of the unique costumes and headwear from past festivals.
Tyrolean Hats & Alpine Hats
The Tyrolean hat, also called an Alpine hat, is a type of headwear that originally came from the Tyrol in the Alps, in what is now part of Austria and Italy. There are various forms of Tyrolean hats. Frequently, the hats are decorated with a colored, corded hatband and a spray of flowers, feathers or “brush” at the side of the crown. The traditional “brush” is made of the tail of the chamois goat. It takes a variety of forms and may often be combined with feathers.
The Gamsbart is a tuft of hair traditionally worn as a decoration on trachten hats in the alpine regions of Austria and Bavaria. Originally worn as a hunting trophy and made exclusively from hair from the chamois’ lower neck, Gamsbart are today manufactured on a large scale from various animal hairs. A Gamsbart is made by enclosing the lower end of the tuft of hair in a setting of metal or horn that allows the upper end to spread in a brush-like fashion. Traditionally, hairs are selected for a dark color at the lower end with a very light tip. The size and diameter of the Gamsbart are important signs of the wear’s pride and manliness. The Gamsbart are exclusively placed on hats worn by men; however, recent developments in dirndl fashion have seen Gambart added to various places on female dresses.
Top Hats & Bonnets
Top hats were predominantly worn from the late 18th to the middle of the 20th century. Gentlemen began to replace the tricorne with the top hat at the end of the 18th century. The top hat is sometimes associated with the upper class, becoming a target for satirists and social critics. By the end of World War II, the top hat had become a rarity, though it continued to be worn daily for formal wear.
In the mid 17th and 18th century, “house bonnets” worn by women and girls were generally brimless head coverings, secured by tying under the chin and not covering any part of the forehead. They were worn indoors, to keep the hair tidy, and outdoors, to keep dust out of the hair. With hairstyles becoming increasingly elaborate after 1770, the “calash” bonnet was worn outdoors to protect the hair from wind and weather. Bonnets remained one of the most common types of headwear worn by women throughout most of the 19th century. Silk bonnets, elaborately pleated and ruched, were worn outdoors, or in public places like shops, galleries, churches and during visits to acquaintances.