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The History of Bonnets

Bonnets have been around for centuries and they have a long, complex, and often debated-about history. While today, we know bonnets to be a fashion-forward accessory made from soft fabric designed to protect hair, they did not start out that way.

In today’s blog post from Jag Rags, we are going to take a look at the history of the bonnet. Read on to learn more.

The Origin of Bonnets

There is much debate about the actual origin of bonnets. Some believe they originated in Italy, others say Scotland, while some claim Africa or even France. We do know that the word “bonnet” has a French origin, although that name likely only became common use after the bonnet had been around for some time. It’s most likely that the bonnet was created and used by those in the working class society to protect themselves while working outdoors or in indoor conditions that were not well kept.

A High Society Fashion Accessory

Bonnets were eventually adopted by the elite, and by the 19th century were seen commonly in high fashion. Some religions also adopted the use of bonnets and rely on them for modesty. However, over the centuries bonnets have come in and out of fashion many times.

A Deeper Connection to Bonnets

While bonnets were simple fashion accessories for some, for African Americans, bonnets have a more checkered past. In the 18th century, field slaves often wore bonnets not only for the protection they offered from the sun but also as a preservation of history. Head wraps served as symbols of royalty throughout parts of Africa and wearing a bonnet was a way for an enslaved person to have a piece of personal identity and history. 

Reclaiming the Bonnet

The history of the bonnet continues on a complicated journey as creole women in Louisiana were forced to cover their hair with the introduction of the Tignon Law in 1786. Black women then began to decorate their bonnets and kerchiefs with feathers, jewels, and other embellishments.

Today, bonnets are often worn throughout the African American community as a way to remember and carry on the traditions of generations past. 

Find Bonnets at Jag Rags

Bonnets are more than just a fashion accessory. They are a way to claim one’s identity and carry on the tradition. At Jag Rags, our bonnets are made of a soft woven fabric designed to be gentle on hair while looking great. Shop our selection of bonnets at Jag Rags today.

Shop Our Bonnet Collection Today