Ottoman Women's Hats

A hat was an essential part of a woman's outfit. A woman did not even go around inside without one. Hats for women of the royal harem were made of bits of very elaborate fabric on the outside. Hats were stiffened with several layers of paper. And, of course, they were fully lined. At least three hats survive to illustrate the changing styles of Ottoman women's hats in the 16th and 17th centuries.

all of 16th C.
late 16th to mid-17th C.
mid to late=17th C.
Ayshe Sultan's Hat
Kaya's Hat

Surviving example: identified as belonging to Ayshe [Turkish for "A'isha"] Sultan (p. 261)
Date: last quarter of the 16th C.
Dimensions: Height: 3" (7.5 cm);
    Top Diameter: almost 4" (9.9 cm) dia.;
    Bottom Diameter: 5-1/3" (13.5 cm)
Materials: Silver seraser brocaded with blue carnations on white stalks; lining not mentioned in source.

Surviving example: identified as belonging to Hanzade Sultan (p. 263)
Date: circa 1625.
Dimensions: Height: 9.5" (24.2 cm);
    Top Dia.: 3" (8 cm);
    Bottom Dia.: almost 7.5" (19 cm)
Materials: Silver seraser, lined with blue silk.

Surviving example: identified as belonging to Kaya Ismihan Sultan (p. 265)
Date: mid-17th C.
Dimensions: Height: 7" (18 cm);
    Top Dia.: 7.8" (20 cm);
    Bottom Dia.: 3-1/3" (8.5 cm)
Materials: Gold seraser brocaded with dark brown flowers, lined with blue cotton.

This style, a very simple style sometimes called a "pillbox" hat, is common throughout the 16th century. The top is a circle while the band, long enough to go around one's head, is slightly narrower at its top side than at the bottom.

This style developed in the very late 16th century and continued into the early 17th. It is essentially a cone with the top cut off. The top is a small circle. Interestingly the outer shell appear to be constructed of one cloth, debossed to create impressed curved lines from top to bottom.

This style was worn completely outside the time period covered by the SCA, but commonly seen in art, so i thought i'd make this out of period style clear.

The bottom opening is a small circle - clearly there must have been some particular way to hold the hat onto the wearer's head, possibly hat pins - while the top, a much broader circle, was often worn folded down to the front. The body of the hat is again a truncated cone, but this time the small end is toward the head and the wide end is on top. They vary in size from almost miniature to those with dinner-plate-sized tops.

woman wearing terpush, 1554
1554, album leaf
woman wearing arakchin, 1620
1620, album leaf
woman wearing hotoz, 1645
1645, by Georges de la Chapelle

Information and photos of actual hats from 9000 Years of the Anatolian Woman, the catalog for the exhibit "Woman in Anatolia", Istanbul, 1993.


the website of Mistress Zaynab used to have information on how one SCAdian has reconstructed some Ottoman hats, formerly at: