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[Alternative] headgear: beyond hats and headbows 
27th-Mar-2014 08:46 pm
Lolitas are known to put all sorts of things in their hair. Ribbons, flowers, brooches, antlers, carousel music boxes- you name it, someone has probably done it.

This post is intended as a friendly discussion of such headgear- it doesn't have to be particularly lolita. Images are taken from various sources around the net- as much as possible I will try to credit the source, but my folders are a mess and the filenames don't always indicate where an image comes from. If you own/recognize some of these, please tell me so I can credit properly, thanks!

EDIT: corrected a couple terms and a rogue block of copy-paste
I made this post partly out of curiosity, and partly because I am always on the hunt for alternatives to the full-sized hats and head-eating bows. Reason one being that I have a large head and very thick hair. A wig does not help matters, and most of the time I can't even force hats down over the top of my head.

Reason two is that I primarily wear Classic lolita very heavily influenced by Dolly Kei (or vice-versa, if you want to get technical- since it's mostly vintage offbrand). Headbows tend to look out of place in more antique styled coordinates.

Source: Grimoire Almadel/Tokyo Fashion


Source: Aerynsys -'the Pirate King' coord

One of the classic 'pirate hat' shapes. Though I'm not sure how to coord these outside of nautical-inspired lolita (pirate sweet = ???) these are without question, THE pirate crowning glory. I think only AATP makes these- I can never find hats on Taobao.


Common part of navy and military-inspired coords!


mimielle: Very versatile in wearing styles and trim options but perhaps better restricted to certain clothing styles.


Source: Shiroyuri

Source: SANAKANIN (personal blog)

Bonnets are not really 'alternative' anymore- with the rising popularity of OTT Classic they've become more common.I think bonnets are great because they can fit a large range of head sizes (very important! xD) and their relative plain-ness leaves plenty of room for customization simply by pinning stuff on.


  • customizable, comfy, and fits a variety of head sizes


  • can be floppy (soft bonnets, whatcha gonna do...)

  • is it just me, or... they make your face look a bit.... weird o_o I think it has to do with the added height causing visual distortion

Crowns/ Coronets

Source: SANAKANIN (personal blog) / Michelline Syjuco

For the truly OTT (and rich) princess. Mind, I don't own this coronet. It was part of Michelline Syjuco's new release and she graciously allowed us to try the pieces on. I was justly terrified of tangling and/or destroying such an expensive piece in my wig- but gladly there were no problems.

  • prettyyyyy


  • As crowns and the like are very intricate pieces- good luck, if it gets tangled in your hair.

  • There is always the fact that these are jewelry- on the other hand it is unlikely for someone to attempt to snatch your bonnet off your head.

Fez wiki

Source: Grimoire/Valerie Fujita (feat. Heri)

P.S. Heri dear, ilu.

This is, afaik, little used anymore. I have no hats like this, so I can't say for sure, but most likely it would be tight on my head- nevertheless Heri is wearing it at an angle here, so that may be a non-issue.


Source: SANAKANIN (ToxicKitty)

Ah, flowers. Pin them anywhere, and they work. Lately these two-piece rose clips have become my fallback accessory when I can't seem to match anything to my outfit.

Gainsborough hat

Image: Keira Knightley


I haven't the faintest idea where I could find a hat like this within budget constraints, not to mention I'd be scraping it across the roof taking all sorts of public transportation- still. MOTHER OF ALL HATS.


Source: SANAKANIN (here and here)

I have no idea about the proper term for this. *sad* But I have three, and though they are on metal headbands (hateful stuff) I am trying to adjust the band by wrapping them around plastic containers.

These are made of fabric, and take very well to pinning all sorts of junk on to match outfits. Flowers, brooches, and chains (found a use for them! yaay) are all game.

Hennin wiki

Source: Kats-Hats, among others

Hello, pic spam. Clearly someone wanted to go off on a tangent about hennin. I'm sorry.

This is not a complete listing of the styles of hennin(s?), omitting the long cone-shaped hennin because of the possibility of taking someone's eye out- but I think simpler variations of these could actually work with opulent lolita (JetJ comes to mind). The downside is that no one produces these except bespoke commission artists like Kats-Hats. I don't imagine they'll be affordable, exactly. But it might be an interesting challenge for crafty lolis.


Image: Kiyohari (can't find a link, sorry)

For simplicity's sake, I am filing them in the same category as antlers. Neither is locally available here; and so, short of picking up branches and painting them to look like antlers, I can only appreciate them via pictures online.

While most of the headgear on this list are unusual, searching for 'horns' will probably get you the oddest looks from shopkeepers- that or they'll point you towards the plastic light-up devil horns.


Image: Grimoire (feat Heri)

Admittedly this is more of a Dolly-Kei thing. While I am not fond of turbans that cover the whole head (I see you just stepped out of the shower!) worn as a hat I find it kind of nice. Does anyone know of any tutorials that teach you how to wrap ordinary scarves around your head to achieve the look? :D

Top hats (mini)

Image: SANAKANIN (my first attempt at ouji)

Obligatory top hat. Buttcape has written a long and detailed article on what makes mini hats acceptable (and unacceptable); go check it out!

because I don't know what they're called and this post is pushing the limit

Source: Surface Spell (Lady in Black hat)

Source: Cloudberry Lady

27th-Mar-2014 01:44 pm (UTC)
I think the headband/hats could fall under the fascinator category~
27th-Mar-2014 05:26 pm (UTC)
Ah, yes! I forgot the term for that. Thank you!
27th-Mar-2014 02:02 pm (UTC)
Flowers aren't really "alternative", they have been a standard option for classic for ages now.
27th-Mar-2014 05:28 pm (UTC)
This post isn't restricted to just odd headgear >w< it's why I put [alternative] in brackets- I personally am looking forward to seeing something outside the norm, but I am not against normal headgear, exactly.

I just figured no one needs another explanation about mini hats and headbows~
27th-Mar-2014 02:19 pm (UTC)
I'd like to see different types of bonnets used in lolita.
27th-Mar-2014 05:31 pm (UTC)

>xD kidding aside, I'd like that too.
27th-Mar-2014 07:20 pm (UTC)
Have you read the article that went with this image? The imagery that went with it was pretty snarky and funny. >u>
27th-Mar-2014 03:05 pm (UTC)
That bicorn, and the coord with it, are things of beauty. <3

I don't think I realized anyone outside the SCA was interested in hennins. The first one is very interesting!
27th-Mar-2014 05:37 pm (UTC)
I draw a lot of medieval-inspired artwork- I find the fashions of the time fascinating to draw, if not comfortable to wear. Being too tall (hennin) or wide (farthingale) to fit in doorways is no joke- but it looks so pretty! Practicality, what practicality?

It makes me wonder if there was some way of modernizing these. Our organdy petticoats are a huge step up from farthingales, what about the rest of of the fashion?
27th-Mar-2014 10:36 pm (UTC)
Mini escoffins, to match all those mini crowns and top hats out there? They could even have little (or big) veils, and what else is that but a canvas for lace or eyelet?
I'm mostly thinking of the horned type, as I really love the look of them (and, actually, the horned headdresses people occasionally end up wearing anyway) but there's no reason other types wouldn't work if they had their proportions tweaked.

I'm getting into steampunk, and modernizing Victorian fashion is a blast so far - no, it's not reproduction of historical fashion, but it also doesn't take me hours upon hours of painful handstitching. Since there's a pretty big crossover between the Victorian fashions I like and the lolita fashions I like (mostly aristocrat, actually) it's been quite fun trying to adapt things for modern wear (sitting down, driving...). I still don't have an entire coord, but I'll get there.
27th-Mar-2014 03:11 pm (UTC)
Headbows are actually more of an interloper than bonnets are. If you look at some of what the early brands were offering around 2000-2002, the primary headpieces were the rectangle headpieces and the bonnet. Headbows are in a minority compared to those (especially the headband type; early headbows often are on combs or sets of two smaller ones that are made to go on pigtails)
27th-Mar-2014 05:43 pm (UTC)
Oh, that's interesting. I knew that rectangle headpieces were popular years ago, but I didn't know that bonnets were also typical headgear. o: Thank you very much for the links!

I would like to get a rectangle headdress sometime, but due to the popularity of cosplay here (augh, why) there are lots and lots of 'maid' headbands made of rows of scratchy lace- and honestly, most people cannot tell the difference. So I am looking for rectangle headdresses that are as far from the 'maid' look as possible =.='
27th-Mar-2014 11:34 pm (UTC)
Have you tried checking Claire's? I got a lovely one covered with flowers in there last summer, just wish I could find a way to wear it without looking silly.

Or maybe sew one? They are really straight forward and that way it would perfectly match your outfits/personal taste.
27th-Mar-2014 04:28 pm (UTC)
Wow, that fez looks great! I can't imagine pulling it off
I like the "headband-hats" as well. I had a lacy black one, but decided to move my gothic style to more old-school instead of romantic so I sold it. I would give a cute knit one a try, pinning stuff to it is a good idea.
Veils can be pretty interesting. I'd like to see modern/updated versions of some of these, as they are they are too costumey imo
27th-Mar-2014 05:52 pm (UTC)
Regarding the veils, yes they are a bit costumey- sadly it's hard to find pictures of real people, as most of the available pictures are paintings. Even Alexander McQueen just punched a hole in a piece of lace o_o I like his work, but- that was not A+ craftsmanship! D<

Heri makes everything look good- there are quite a few pictures in which she's wearing a fez.

Also according to sarahmarie1224 above, the proper term for these would probably be 'fascinator' :p I only have a few of these so pinning stuff on is the only way I can add more of a color that I need in my coord. Also, I think it's great that you are so clear in what you want in your wardrobe, to be able to sell things! My wardrobe is a huge mish-mash of styles. It makes coordinating pretty tricky...

27th-Mar-2014 04:48 pm (UTC)
That last woman looks like she could take off into the sky at any second.
27th-Mar-2014 05:54 pm (UTC)
To infinity and beyond!

While the materials could be a lot better, and it is literally bigger than her head- I am still irrationally fond of it. It seems like a lot of fun to wear.
27th-Mar-2014 05:24 pm (UTC)
I love Gainsborough hats! Didn't know what they were called before now though haha. I've spent the past ten minutes looking at them XD
27th-Mar-2014 05:56 pm (UTC)
I came across the name by chance! Though I imagine it's a little-known term anyway outside of the millinery industry- for sure most people just know them as 'those hats ~this~ big'

So much room for deco *_*
27th-Mar-2014 06:03 pm (UTC)
Great topic!

Thank you for sharing. I like how horns look like, but not antlers, and not-so much in Lolita. Maybe in other styles, more fantastic ones.

I'm just so tired of antlers.

OMG that sanakanin hat.
27th-Mar-2014 06:58 pm (UTC)
You mean the gainsborough hats? o: Or the picture near the bottom of the huge fascinator?

Edited at 2014-03-27 06:59 pm (UTC)
31st-Mar-2014 09:27 am (UTC)
In the "Miscellaneous", the 6th photo, the left. The feathers that go to the left.
I have to say I do not like how it is worn there, but I see the potential
27th-Mar-2014 08:26 pm (UTC)
I adore tri/bicorn hats- I think they're so fabulous, and I can't wait until I can make myself a coord using them :D And the gainsborough hats, too- anything pre-1900s are always so interesting to me, and fun to coordinate!
30th-Mar-2014 03:04 pm (UTC)
I haven't seen bicorns/tricorns in colors other than black; fortunately it's a fairly easy to coord color. As for the Gainsborough hats, I wish they weren't so hard to find nowadays...
30th-Mar-2014 11:32 pm (UTC)
I know a couple non-lolita indie markets that make custom tricorns, especially little ones, in all sorts of colors. I would love to have one in a light pink, or ivory even!
27th-Mar-2014 09:17 pm (UTC)
I love the horns, but obviously they wouldn't work for every single outfit xD
I agree with you though, headbows do tend to look out of place in more antique styled coordinates.

I think most of the above examples are very nice, although I do like the 'inspired' ones more than the 'authentic' (such as hennin)

Edited at 2014-03-27 09:18 pm (UTC)
30th-Mar-2014 03:05 pm (UTC)
I don't think they're really 'authentic' either. The actual examples have a bit of a costume quality, but it was difficult to find other pictures.
30th-Mar-2014 03:06 pm (UTC)
Thank you! That's perfect, just what I was looking for!
28th-Mar-2014 09:28 am (UTC)
I'm surprised that berets weren't mentioned since Angelic Pretty releases them pretty frequently. XD I also prefer to wear them over headbows. Straw hats as well. I had no idea about the names of some of the hats you posted likr the gainsboro hats, but I really like them!
30th-Mar-2014 03:15 pm (UTC)
Oops, oversight on my part. I haven't worn berets in coords before however, so any coord advice regarding them would be great!
28th-Mar-2014 06:36 pm (UTC)
Berets! Can't get enough of them! <3
30th-Mar-2014 03:16 pm (UTC)
Added to the list! If you have any coord advice for them, it would be really welcome :D
30th-Mar-2014 08:38 pm (UTC)
Oh man, I am the last person you would want coord advice from xD

But I love how well Berets look with the whole causal/classic, casual/sweet look
28th-Mar-2014 07:16 pm (UTC)
Bergère. Very versatile in wearing styles and trim options but perhaps better restricted to certain clothing styles.
30th-Mar-2014 03:20 pm (UTC)
Thanks! I'm adding this to the list, I hope you don't mind me using the same image!
31st-Mar-2014 04:26 am (UTC)
Sure, here are the source details:

Artist: Henry Pickering (fl.1740-1771)
Title: Portrait of Eleanor Frances Dixie, daughter of Wolstan Dixie, 4th Baronet
Description: Eleanor wear a bergere hat and a brocaded silk dress with a sack back
Date: circa 1753
Medium: oil on canvas
28th-Mar-2014 08:16 pm (UTC)
One of my favorite statement pieces that I feel has come into the lolita vogue recently is halos. Maroonsparrow sold off a batch of them last year based off a design she did years ago, but since then, I feel like a lot of different variations on halos have popped up from various other lolitas as well.

17th-Apr-2014 05:36 pm (UTC)
I'm sorry for the late reply! These halos are absolutely gorgeous- but I'd be terrified of taking someone's eye out xD ditto for antlers. I adore them in coords though! Did you get to buy one, or see them in person?
18th-Apr-2014 05:21 am (UTC)
The seller is actually a friend of mine, so not only did I get to see them, but she gave me one for my birthday! But yeah, they can be pretty dangerous!
31st-Mar-2014 05:46 pm (UTC)
A lot of the dresses I own didn't come with specific matching headwear, or I didn't buy the complete set so I like to craft my own to match the specific dress. The pastel crown I bought from the Dollar Tree to match my lavender Milky Planet, and I made the headbow with the flowers and tassel to match Le Cadre du Chat. The headband with all the plastic fruit was made to match Vin des Nobles dress. (unfortunately all I could find was the instagram pic of that one)

Edited at 2014-03-31 05:48 pm (UTC)
17th-Apr-2014 05:35 pm (UTC)
Oops, late reply. These headpieces are wonderful! I especially love the fruits on the last one- I keep giggling at the idea of having fruit in my hair. Not that it's a bad thing! :D I actually think they would go very nicely with Dolly Kei stylings.
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