C.1885-1889. This style of bonnet was popular
with married, middle aged ladies, who would have been used to wearing bonnets as young women in the 1860's. They were meant to be worn on top of the head, just ever so slightly placed toward the back. This photo
of an elegant dressed lady shows how to wear this style of bonnet. Note her elegant dolman coat.
This bonnet is made out of black straw with a silk/cotton blend lining
on the inside. The maker's name used to be stamped inside in gold but now is illegible. The outside
of the bonnet is covered in black Chantilly lace, with satin and taffeta runches. Black (now it's faded to brown) cotton velvet ribbon decorated the front
, along with a little string of looped shiny jet beads and curled looped of
black straw. The ties are made out of the same cotton velvet.
The somber nature of the bonnet, along with the shiny jet beads, leads me to believe it may
have been a bonnet for the later stages of mourning. This is difficult to say, as many women bought black bonnets and hats as an economic means of having headgear that matched with everything!
(Formerly L. Hidic)