The Hats (and Hair Ribbons) of Poldark

What’s more fun that snarking on Poldark? The outfits! Much like PBS’ major hit, Downton Abbey, Poldark is to be enjoyed not just for the historical melodrama, but for the rich attention to detail, especially when it comes to what’s being served on the top of the head. This being the time period sometimes called the Federalist Era (or the mid Georgian period), hats were not always de rigueur. Hair ribbons are just as important a fashion statement.

The more recognizable hat of the era is the tricorne. We’ll have plenty of those tomorrow in the Men’s Group. Here we only have one lady who is so fashion forward as to go around wearing one.

1 Elizabeth hat
Elizabeth in her tricorne hat

“It’s because I’m Fashion Forward.”

Screen Shot episode one of the new BBC drama Poldark. mos web grab 20 02 2015 Captain Poldark together with Ellizabeth.
Elizabeth, in her wedding pearls

“I’m sorry Ross.”

2 Elizabeth hat 2
Elizabeth, in the only time we see her in this hat

“I had to break your heart and marry Francis. I need a man who can afford me lots of hats.”

3 Ragamuffin-Demelza
Demelza in her ragamuffin state

“Wait, so if I marry a nice Poldark, I can have nice hats too?”

4 Elizabeth-at-a-Ball
Elizabeth in pink hair ribbons, when this dress was new.

“Um, doubtful.”

29 ruth arrival
Ruth in her “I’m going to score me a Poldark” hat

“We hear you like succulent syllabubs!”

5 christening hats
Mrs. Chynoweth, in her “Proud Grandmother” hat

“I’m sorry to hear you failed to snag a Poldark, deary.”

7 The-turquoise-dress.Photo-courtesy-BBC.
Demelza, in a hair ribbon that magically matches the trunk dress

“I don’t know why people think this is so difficult.”

9 Demelzas-wedding-dress.-Photo-Mike-Hogan-BBC
Demelza’s wedding hair–flowers or pearls?

“Now do you think I might get a nice trendy hat?”

8 elizabeth's hat
Elizabeth, whose rewearing of the same hat is a warning sign

“I don’t think so.”

30 ruth umbrella
Ruth, in her best concern trolling hat

“Oh! Hi Ross! Have you heard Elizabeth has only got one hat most episodes?”

11 elizabeth's other hat
Elizabeth in her “the family is going broke” hat

“Excuse me, I do have more than one hat.”

Verity, in unflattering everything always

“Will you two stop it? At least you get to wear color.”

verity
Verity, in Beige.

“I’m continually stuck in beige.”

17Verity-Poldark-is-now-Mrs-Captain-Blamey
Verity, happy, but still in beige

“I even had to get married in beige! The peasants get to wear more color than I do.”

18 Jinny-in-her-wedding-outfit
Jinny, in her wedding floral crown

“Shut up. I don’t get much happiness. Let me have my blue.”

19 marriage 2
Keren, who wishes she were far away from this wedding outfit.

“I’m making the biggest mistake of my life here, aren’t I?”

Demelza, in her "I'm rebelling against society's mores while looking fashionable" hat
Demelza, in her “I’m rebelling against the family while looking fashionable” hat

“Hey look, I did get a hat upgrade! It came with the baby!”

15 demleza pancake hat
Demelza and Verity, their hats about to get run over by rioters

“Verity, I tried to get color in your life, but there was a riot.”

20 agatha
Aunt Agatha, in her lace cap

“Color is overrated. My tarot cards said so.”

23 margaret hat
Margaret, in her massive upgrade hat

“There’s nothing wrong with beige. You just need to wear it with style.”

24 margeret
Margaret, pre-upgrade

“But to be fair, I probably would prefer red. More harlotty.”

31ruth hat 2
Ruth, in her sour “I have to be around commoners” hat

“My dear, you needn’t worry about that.”

verity and demelza ball
Verity in the only time she gets to wear color, and Demelza in her first serious hairdo

“So Demelza, how did you get such perfectly coiffed hair without any sort of lady’s maid anyway? I had to borrow Elizabeth’s.”

25 demelza2
Demelza, in matching dress, ribbons and necklace

“Oh, I bought some fairies from a witch that was travelling up the road, on her way back from a live action Disney production.”

26 Elizabeth-with-nodding-ostrich-feather
Elizabeth and her mother at the Warleggan ball

“Bought fairies? Some people have all the luck.”

elizabeth ballgown
Elizabeth and her ostrich feather updo

“Perhaps fairies would have done a better job gussying up this gown.”

32 Ruth
Ruth, channeling Marie Antoinette

“I’d still find fault with it, don’t worry.”

28 Prudie.-Courtesy-BBC
Prudie, in her only hat

“Faeries?! That tears it. They’ll fire us any day now.”

Tomorrow: the Poldark men get their turn in “The Hats and Wigs of Poldark.”

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8 thoughts

  1. This is telling in its way. Mid-Georgian is good, but Federalist is an American term. The term “regency” can apply as of 1790 when George went mad for the first time, but is correct only as of 1793 when George was so far incapacitated that Pitt allowed the Prince to take over (Prince was a Whig, Pitt a Tory). Ross Poldark 1783-88, Demelza 1788-1790. Another form of headgear are the versions of cloth you see on women’s heads


    Hats in this era are political statements too. When Elizabeth has a tricorne it ought to suggest pro-American revolution but I doubt it.
    In 1795 Demelza has a couple of more Jacobin numbers. I’ll respond with a few of hers – in the first 8 episodes there are snazzy ones. They grow very fancy in the later episodes. Keren has some cloth numbers – it’s also cheaper. Ribbons were acceptable for the poorer – you got ribbons from peddlars.

    Ellen

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  2. I’d like to say that I was wrong on the 1975 Keren. She never wears any hat — nor ribbon for that matter. This suggests her lack of conventionality but not in a positive way.

    Verity does have a spray of lovely pink flowers on her shoulder which is captured in another still of the same hat, close up. Maybe next season she’ll graduate into blue. Norma Streader as Verity typically wore teak blue. This new Margaret (by the way) resembles the previous actress, neither of them gaunt and gypsy-like in attire (and presumably headdress) in the way Margaret is described in the book..

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  3. I had thought to make one more blog for this year comparing the 1975 to the 2015 Poldark mini-series, this one in response to Anibundel on the male hats and wigs and women s hats, wigs, hair ribbons of another survey of the earlier series. Enter your comment here.

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  4. I want very nice hat in the picture above says that she’s very happy but still in bed where can I buy such hats?

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