Honesty Time

Keeping it real since 2013

Birds of a Feather… Sit on your Head?


So I was going to write something really heartfelt and personal about my life in response to this (You go, girl! Preach!) and how something similar once affected me so negatively.

Yeah, but then things changed because I was also doing research for Hello, Dolly! and found this:

Photo from the Met Museum Costume Institute Collection.

Photo from the Met Museum Costume Institute Collection.

YOU GUYS. WHAT THE HELL. I can’t think of anything else anymore except for this hat.

Victorian era fashion is beautiful, and I love the transition into the S curve corsets of the Edwardian era. I enjoy the inflation and deflation of the sleeves and the frills that appear and disappear. I wish curly bangs were still in style because then I would have the world’s easiest morning hair routine, and I would be super fashionable too. I love architectural ribbons on hats and bonnets and the silk floral gardens growing out of the straw bases. I think the silk feathers on hats are beyond elegant, and I love the way the feathers sway.

But adding a taxidermy bird takes the feather thing too far.

No, this is not the only crazy thing in top-of-the-head fashion. Yes, women in 18th century France did wear small model ships atop their wigs… but that was only for a short time and model ships aren’t taxidermy.

I have no idea how I’ve studied fashion and costumes for so long and I never knew about this. What. Where did this come from? Did I just block it out? How did I never see those eyes staring at me from the brim of a velvet bonnet?

So then I looked it up and I don’t know how none of my professors or any of my fashion books took the opportunity to inform me about “murderous millinery.”

Photo from Shorpy Historic Picture Archive. "Kath, don't look now but I think something landed on your head. Don't move. Don't move...oh, it's...oh."

Photo from Shorpy Historic Picture Archive. “Kath, don’t look now but I think something landed on your head. Don’t move. Don’t move…oh, it’s…oh.”

Excuse me, ma’am, but thanks to that large bird on your head, 7 little chicks are starving to death somewhere because they don’t have anyone to spit up worms in their mouth.

Fashion is murder!

Ok but really. What. My grandpa was a furrier most of his life. I will come into a lot of mink coats when the time comes. I had a scrunchie made out of rabbit fur when I was in 3rd grade.

Huh. Why wasn’t I cooler in grade school?


I’m not into fur, but these coats and things are now like antique pieces, heirlooms, so I’ll gladly own them and, I don’t know, wear them on Christmas. I don’t know.

But I also don’t own any stoles that still have fox faces and feet on them. Oh my god no. No. No.

And I have never worn a hat with 4 full birds just chillin’ with the ribbons and the lace.

It’s the faces that make it the worst, guys. That’s like how my mom loves to eat fish, but if she sees the head on the fish, she won’t eat it, because faces make creatures real, and that’s all messed up.

Even owls were in danger back in the late 1800s because people wanted to put them on their heads. You know who I could picture doing that?

Lord Voldemort. Because he’s sick of people sending owls to each other in order to talk smack about him.

Don’t put owls on your head.

Apparently, all of our modern wildlife conservation efforts come from this whole “Crazy ladies wearing birds on their heads” thing.

Basically, what this all boils down to is the fact that fashion is fascinating. I find birds on people’s lovely hats to be appalling, but one day someone may think that my cotton t-shirt was barbaric and destroyed the Earth (probably is, right?).

So when it comes time for me to make some hats for Irene Molloy’s hat shop, you can bet your sweet little head that this fake bird is going all over that nonsense. Because fashion is crazy and fun.

From Joann  Fabric & Craft Store

From Joann Fabric & Craft Store


Author: Allyssa Ellen

A costumer, a makeup artist, an educator, and a librarian, all rolled up into one convenient, fun-sized package.

2 thoughts on “Birds of a Feather… Sit on your Head?

  1. This made me giggle. And then I thought about it and cried.

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