Elaborate Ottoman Hats From the 19th Century Were the Height of Fashion

Shaunacy Ferro

The elite fashionistas of the Ottoman Empire really knew their hats. In an album of watercolors depicting Ottoman ceremonial costumes and fashions given to future Russian Tsar Alexander Alexandrovich Romanov in 1867, headgear is the stand-out feature. Spherical, pointy, and often befeathered, these headdresses run the gamut of styles and colors. Presumably, the future Alexander III might have wanted to see what high fashion looked like in the Eastern world, perhaps to order his own clothes for a ball. 

These costumes were not just a way to feel fancy. As an article from Public Domain Review notes, “The combination of different textiles and manner of layering was a way of distinguishing not only gender but class, religion, and clans, and the aim was to combine the clothes so that each individual layer could still be seen." How's that for a hat trick?

See more of the illustrations here

[h/t: Public Domain Review]

All images via The New York Public Library