Picture of Queen Elizabeth I

Elizabethan Hats for Women

  • Interesting Facts and information about Clothing & Fashion - Elizabethan Hats for Women
  • Fashion - Elizabethan Hats for Women
  • Coifs and Cauls, Atifet, Pillbox Hat, French Hood
  • Extract from pamphlet by Philip Stubbes regarding Elizabethan Hats for Women dated 1583

Picture of Queen Elizabeth I

Elizabethan Hats for Women

Clothing and Fashion - Elizabethan Hats for Women
Elizabethan Hats were an essential part of clothing for women and played an important part in the fashion of the day.

Hats for Women
The Elizabethan fashion dictated that the head was adorned with a hat, veil, coif or caul. This fashion therefore ensured that much of the hair was hidden by some form of head covering or hat.


The style of the head covering dictated the hairstyle. Many of the hats were adorned with feathers, pearls, glass jewels, spangles, gold thread, embroidery and lace.

  • The Coif - The coif ( commonly referred to as the 'biggin' ) worn by all children. Material was plain white linen, a close fitting cap tied under the chin. Coifs were often worn as caps to keep hair in place under more elaborate hats
  • The French hood - Introduced from the French court by Anne Boleyn, the mother of Queen Elizabeth I. A half moon, or crescent, style band or brim sloping away from the face. The edges were often adorned with pearls or glass jewels, called bilaments, and a veil covered the back of the hair
  • The Atifet - Similar to the French hood style but with a heart shaped crescent - favoured in white by Mary Queen of Scots. Lace trimmnigs were added
  • The Caul - Cauls were the Elizabethan hair net. A Caul covered the hair at the back of the head and was made of fabric, or fabric covered by netted cord which was sometimes adorned with spangles.
  • The Pillbox style of hat - often had a veil attached to the back

Other styles of hats were as follows:

  • The Crispine - A cap made of net, similar to a caul
  • The Frontlet - Also called a cross-cloth or a binding-cloth. Sometimes worn with a coif. Worn when women were ill in bed after being soaked in herbs

Elizabethan Hats for Women - a comment dating back to 1583.
During the Elizabethan era pamphlets were printed and distributed commenting on life in Elizabethan England. A writer of one such pamphlet was a well travelled Londoner called Philip Stubbes. He was believed to have been born c1555 and died c1610. He was well educated and attended both Oxford and Cambridge University. He was also a strict Elizabethan Puritan and held firm views on any social practices which, in his view were, unfitting  true Christians. He named his work " The Anatomie of Abuses " in which he strongly criticised many of the fashions and clothing worn during the Elizabethan era. It was entered in the Stationers' Register on 1 March 1583. This pamphlet includes his view and some valuable information about Elizabethan Hats for Women

"Than, on toppes of these stately turrets ( I meane their goodly heads wherin is more vanitie than true Philosophie now and than) stand their other capitall ornaments, as french hood, hat, cappe, kercher, and such like; wherof some be of velvet, some of taffetie, some (but few) of woll, some of this fashion, some of that, and some of this color, some of that, according to the variable fantasies of their serpentine minds. And to such excesse it is grown, as every artificers wyfe (almost) wil not stick to go in her hat of Velvet everye day, every marchants wyfe and meane Gentlewomen in her french-hood, and everye poore Cottagers Daughter in her taffatie hat, or else of woll at least, wel lined with silk, velvet or taffatie. They have also other ornaments besydes these to furnish foorth their ingenious heads, which they call cawles, made Netwyse, to th' ende, as I thinke, that the clothe of gold, cloth of silver, or else tinsell (for that is the worst) wherwith their heads are covered and attyred withall underneath their cawles maye appeare, and shewe it selfe in the bravest maner. So that a man that seethe them would thinke them to have golden heads. And some weare Lattice cappes with three hornes, three corners I should saie, like the forked cappes of the Popishe Priestes, with their perriwincles, chitterlynges, and the like apishe toyes of infinite varietie."

Interesting Facts and Information about Elizabethan Hats for Women
Some interesting facts and confirmation of information about Elizabethan Hats for Women can be obtained from the words of Philip Stubbes. A first hand impression of the fashions of the Elizabethan era are invaluable - but the Elizabethan style of writing can be hard going. The following information has therefore been taken from the points he made on Hats for women:

  • The style of hats are referred to as a French hood, cappe, cawl and kercher
    • A kercher was a common term for a kerchief (from the French couvre-chef, "cover the head") and was a triangular or square piece of cloth tied around the head or around the neck for protective or decorative purposes
  • Lattice cappes - another term for a cawl or hairnet
  • The materials that hats were made of were velvet, taffeta and wool - Cloth of gold, cloth of silver or tinsell was also used for hats
    • Tinsell was a fabric was had a metallic sheen but was less expensive than gold or silver

  • His description of the hats with three horns / corners sound like the hats which were highly fashionable during an earlier Medieval period

English Laws
Sumptuary Laws dictated the styles of hats for Elizabethan English women. Between the years 1568 and 1574 ďall Citizens wives in generall were constrayned to weare white knit Caps of woolen yarne, unlesse their husbands were good value in the Queenes booke, or could prove themselves Gentlemen by descent.


Elizabethan Elizabethan Hats for Women
Additional details, facts and information about Elizabethan Clothing and Fashion can be accessed via the Elizabethan Era Sitemap.

Fashion and Clothing - Elizabethan Hats for Women

  • Interesting Facts and information about Clothing & Fashion - Elizabethan Hats for Women
  • Fashion - Elizabethan Hats for Women
  • Coif
  • Caul
  • Atifet
  • Pillbox
  • French Hood
  • Extract from pamphlet by Philip Stubbes regarding Elizabethan Hats for Women dated 1583

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