Travel Adventures · Vintage Love

Three German Hats

Not much of a title, is it? Couldn’t think up a better one so I’m going with the does-what-it-says-on-the-tin variety. A blog post, from me to you, about three German hats. Well, one turned out to be Austrian. I’ll get to that.

I have lived in Germany twice, with a brief stint in North Yorkshire in-between. In any German posting, it seems that a big event on the annual calendar is the Anglo-German car boot sale. Whatever a persons nationality, we seem to be united in loving a rummage and a bargain.Things Helen Loves Image of hats

Personally, I liked seeing what one person called trash and another treasure. The Germans were mad for British high street clothes. The Brits snapped up traditional beer steins and curtains. That last one isn’t as random as it sounds, windows in German houses can be huge and oddly shaped. Dressing them can be a tricky and expensive business.

Me? I bought some traditional German hats. Paid about seven euro for the trio. Had no idea what I was buying, just liked them. I called them hiking hats and they represented the rural Germany we’d loved exploring. The Harz Mountains, the woodlands, the ski resorts of the Sauerland. Took them home, steamed them, hung them up. Didn’t think too much more about them.

Things Helen Loves,Image of three alpine hats with feathers

Until I took them down to dust and had a sharp pang of nostalgia for our Germany days. Given that anything is more interesting than housework, thought I’d do a bit of research into these hats. Turned out the dusting didn’t get finished but I did get inspired to add another place to visit to ‘The List’, got lost in the heritage of a German hat maker and found out a whole lot about how they should be traditionally dressed. You never get that kind of reward out of housework, do you?

The Traditional One

If your looking for a truly traditional German hat, go for a Mayser. Leonhard Mayser set up shop hat-making in Ulm, Germany in 1800. He soon made a name for himself and the Mayser hat became a symbol of social standing.  The one man workshop grew into a vast and diverse business that was passed down through generations of Mayser sons. And although they diversified into industry and politics, they never stopped making hats.Things Helen Loves, brown alpine hat with feathers

 

 

 

The Mayser name and business survived several conflicts, economic turbulence and has kept its place in the fickle world of fashion.  In the 1960’s, the company was producing about 3.5 million hats a year. Possibly including this one;  by the shape and the label, I think this hat dates to the late 60’s/ early 70’s. I wonder where it’s been before it found me?

Things Helen Loves, vintage advertising for the Mayser hat company
Vintage advertising for the historic Mayser Hat Co.

The good news is that Mayser is still going strong, still making hats. Two collections are released each year, and there are some beauties in there. The slightly sad news is that Mayser might be a German heritage brand but it is no longer Germany based . In 2011 the entire production process relocated to Slovakia.

The Austrian One

My favourite. It sports a badge celebrating ‘ 15 Years of Loyal Guest in Ramsau Am Dachstein’. I’ve no idea on the origins of this hat, although it seems to be of superb quality. The label inside declares it to be echt steirischer londenhut or A Real Styrian Hat, so it seems the wearer had a real love for their time in Austria. Was this a badge of honour issued to particularly loyal visitors?

Things Helen Loves, image of Austrian hat pin
Loyal guest hat pin

If so, hats off to them. Fifteen years is a long time to keep going back to one place. I’ve emailed the tourist office in Ramsau Am Dachstein in Austria to see if they can shed any light. I’ll edit this if they get back to me.

Things Helen Loves, Austrian alpine hat in Grey
The Austrian one…A True Styrian Hat.

This is the hat that as inspired me to add Ramsau to the list of places we need to visit. It’s a beautiful place with plenty of attractions including a skywalk, an ice palace carved out of a glacier and miles of beautiful hiking routes. Maybe this hat and it’s owner had good reason for visiting for fifteen years. I wonder how many times I’d have to go before they give me a badge?

Things Helen Loves, image of Ramsau region in Austria
© Schladming-Dachstein.at

If your curious to see a bit more about this area of Austria, have a look at the tourist website. Warning: Will Cause Wanderlust.

The Other One

Ah, not much to say about this one. It’s a lovely hat in all it’s green glory, and it came with  it’s own  beautiful set of feathers, but doesn’t have any branding or labels to indicate it’s origins.

Things Helen Loves, Image of Green Alpine style hat

I suspect it might be a mass made, inexpensive piece. The kind you’d pick up for  in high street shops in Germany around festival times. But I like it for that. It’s a modern hat of traditional Germany, and sits nicely with the other two. It’s also the only one of the three that actually fits me. Would I wear it though? Maybe!

 

With a little help from Google and a lovely German friend, I discovered that these hats are known as Tyrolean or Alpine hats. Although Tyrolean in tradition, the style was popularized by our own Edward VIII who, after abdicating, enjoyed time in Austria. The traditional decoration is a corded hatband and a brush. To be truly authentic, the brush should be made of the beard of a chamois goat and combined with feathers.Things Helen Loves, image of Alpine hats

Chamois goat beards are a bit thin on the ground here in Wiltshire, but I did find some Kestrel feathers when walking out in Wilton. I also had some Pheasant feather I found when we lived in Scotland. I can’t think of a better way to use them than to dressing these hats. It’s nice to tie together finds from the places I’ve lived. I’ll probably live in a few more places yet, but where ever I hang my hats, that’s my home.

If you have things in your home from your travels, I’d love to hear about them in the comments.

Helen x

 

 

11 thoughts on “Three German Hats

  1. Ramsau looks like my sort of place for a visit. I’m not really familiar with Austria apart from a week’s ski holiday years ago in Westendorf and more recently a day spent in Vienna from Bratislava. Wish it would shop raining and we could get out and about again!

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    1. It looks amazing, doesn’t it? I’ve woken up to rain here today so it will be a wet dog walk this morning! Hoping for some brighter days soon, being able to get out in the sun just makes everything feel brighter!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Love those hats, the Germans and especially the Austrians have brilliant hats. We lived in Germany for a few years and have visited Austria many times so have a real affinity with all things German. Great hats.

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    1. Thank you! I think that’s why I fell in love with them, I feel very at home in that part of the world. I’d hoped to get back to Austria this year but Covid had other ideas. Hopefully soon!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. They are a stylish trio. Makes me a little sad that hats are less everyday wear now. The green one could be the solution to my lock down hair do, still ten days until the hairdresser!

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  3. I have loads of thimbles from all over! Inherited my Gran’s collection and have thimbles from all of the world: UK, Australia and Egypt to name a few!

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    1. ah that’s amazing, I love the idea of finding one loved item that you can pick up a local version of where ever you go. I usually buy mugs or artwork but the hats just caught my eye!

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  4. I love the green one…I wish we wore hats more also, but my hair is super “fluffy” so hat hair is certainly an issue lol! I’m relatively new to traveling abroad, but love to find pretty things anywhere I go-near & far! When we visited San Gimignano last year I spotted a cute leather bag-white with floral print on it, only one left in the entire store! I got it back to our room & immediately had buyers regret “was it even real leather, is this just a big joke on tourist….”? But it was pretty & made my heart happy-did it really matter?? So when Spring rolled around And I found myself looking for a purse to go with the season, I remembered my purse from San Gimignano!!! Super easy to wear, functional & cute! I get a lot of compliments on that cute little thing, I even had a lady come up to me & ask me if I picked it up in Italy—she had the matching wallet!! Thx for sharing the hats!

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    1. I think if something makes you smile, it’s a winner! I don’t have the hair for hats either but I love to see them worn stylishly by others!

      Liked by 1 person

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