Hats & Headwear have… “the power to instantly impart a message of authority, individuality, propriety and, not least, style.”

Oriole Cullen – Head of Fashion, V&A Museum

A tiny glimpse of our “Hats and Headwear” exhibition – opening 17th July, (Market Day).

What we choose to wear on our heads can tell the world a lot about who we are and/or what we do. They can express our individuality, or identify us as a member of a particular group, say the Army or the Postal Service. Hats can also indicate our role or rank within that group, like a Station Master or Fire Chief.

They may be particular to a ceremony – a wedding veil or a graduation bonnet, or perhaps serve very practical purposes like protecting us from the weather – a sunhat or a woollen beanie; Or protecting our heads from harm – a helmet or hard-hat.

In different cultures and eras, certain headwear is worn to conform to prevailing fashions or socially acceptable dress codes – like wearing a hat to church, or a Sikh wearing a turban.

Whatever their purpose, hats are an “exclamation mark” to whatever we wear. Their practicality and style will always ensure their ongoing and ever changing presence as part of our personal and professional wardrobes.