Pile of cloche hats

What is a cloche hat?

What Is a Cloche Hat?

Confused about the word "cloche"? It's French for "bell." A cloche hat is a type of women's hat that features a distinctive bell shape and a close-fitting, short-brimmed style - hence the name. These happening hats have been around for more than a century and first became popular all the way back in the 1920s and '30s, when they were primarily made of felt. They were also made of beads or lace for evening wear and in later years, they were made of straw and sisal as well.  

History of the Cloche

Renowned French hat-designer Caroline Reboux designed the first cloche hat in 1908. When she first released the innovative design, Reboux handcrafted each hat for individual customers, including royalty and celebrities of the time. But by the end of World War I, the cloche had become so popular it was being produced en masse for women all across the country.

The most iconic style of cloche is the flapper hat, which became popular with party girls of the 1920s. It paired perfectly with the bob haircut, another big trend of the time, and became a wardrobe staple for flapper showgirls and silent movie stars. Influenced by the contemporaneous Art Deco style, cloches became more and more embellished as the decade progressed and started featuring embroidery, jeweled brooches, appliques and other decorative elements.

By 1934, the cloche was out of fashion. But it enjoyed a style resurgence in the 1960s and again in the 1980s. Today, cloches are frequently paired with vintage-style outfits and are also a popular winter accessory. They're available in almost any type of fabric - including wool, wool blends, cotton knits and straw - and can be worn in any season. Some modern cloche designs even ditch the brim to make them ideal for all-day wear, both indoors and outside.

Modern Cloches

Thinking about giving this classic hat trend a try? Hats in the Belfry carries some of the most chic and exquisitely made cloches in the world. We offer a wide variety of styles, materials and shades to complement a range of looks, from boho-chic to elegant winter wear.

Classic Cloche

Made of soft, 100% fur felt, this elegantly tailored asymmetrical cloche has a classic vintage look. It features a grey grosgrain ribbon hat band and two small rosette accents, plus a fully lined interior with a ribbon inner band for comfort.

Embellished Cloche

This stunning toffee-colored cloche has a unique flower trim adorned with feathers and hand-placed gems. Perfect for winter, it's made of 100% wool and fitted with an adjustable sweatband in its interior.

Colorful Cloche

Add a touch of color to your cloche hat game with this slightly asymmetrical Toyo Glazed Straw Cloche, which features a bright plaid fabric hat band with two hand-knotted rosettes. It also has a stylish, a multi-folded tail, along with a grosgrain ribbon inner band to ensure the perfect fit.