Friday, September 30, 2011

Pork Pie Hats Plus a DIY Hat Reconditioning with Gail Carriger

 At Literary Orange in 2011 with the Brothers K

I bought this wonderful pork pie hat from my usual source for lovely cheap hats: The Bon Marche thrift store in Sonoma, CA. This tiny tucked-away hole-in-the-wall thrift store seems to have one or two people who donate a great deal of vintage, often only in need of a good cleaning and a little TLC. I got this black pork pie hat for $7!

Pork pies are so called because of their close resemblance to the self-same delicious food item.

Halston hat ca. 1957 via The Costume Institute of the Metropolitan Museum of Art

 They made their big splash in the 1940s and carried on through the 50s and even the 60s. They came smaller ~ perching on top of the head to the front tuna-can size (pill box), and bigger ~ sitting around and to the back of the head, and slightly squished and off to one side like a beret.

When I first purchased my little baby, she needed some help. Here's what I did.

The original.

Decorations removed and cleaned thoroughly with a lint brush.

Added black velvet ribbon band. Pinned ot hold properly in place.

Adhered using the trusty glue gun.

Existing, ribbon folded down and fixed with pins, before also being glued (back or side) depending on how I wear the hat.

Inside reenforced with a rolled tissue paper, to help it hold it's shape.

Pok pies then . . .

Cristobal Balenciaga hat ca. 1964 via The Costume Institute of the Metropolitan Museum of Art


  1. Hey,

    How do you keep the tiny versions on your head? Do you have any hair no no's with wearing pork pie hats?


  2. The tiny versions usually have a little comb or an alligator clip in them. Otherwise, I wear my hair pinned or tied up in such a ways as suited to a hat pin. I don't think any of these hats are really suitable to wearing long hair straight down.

  3. Ah! I had forgotten about hat pins and the little combs. Thanks for the info/advice!


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