As of 2015, the Ashro, Hats in the Belfry and EspeciallyYours websites have a wide selection of church hats for women. Although some designers have created expensive couture hats that cost several hundred dollars or more, the majority of church hats are priced between $20 and $150.Continue Reading
Elaborate church hats are a staple of many Christian African-American communities in which formal, decorative attire is considered a sign of respect during worship. Hat styles range from abstract shapes to updates of classic styles, such as cloches, fascinators and top hats. Wide-brim hats are among the popular styles, and designers frequently include large, flamboyant trimmings, including bows, flowers, lace, sequins and plumage. Abstract styles often include loose flourishes of draped fabric and multiple brims at contrasting or unusual angles.
Church hats were popularized among African-American slave communities who had few opportunities to express individualism and shed their uniforms. Slaves organized their own church meetings and took pride in reserving their best or cleanest garments for worship. While they were often limited to simple straw hats, women used ribbons, flowers and other easily obtainable decorations to add distinction and embellishment to their prized accessories. In the post-slavery era, church hats became a symbol of income and status, with the most bold and intricate designs marking a woman of importance.Learn more about Hats