Church hats serve more than just fashion purposes. They also carry significant spiritual and cultural history for women in African American communities. The church hat tradition stems from a biblical directive to cover one’s head during worship. Women, even in slavery, took up the challenge, adding anything from flowers to ribbons to straw hats.


Symbol of Respect

In a time when women are eschewing hats for today’s simpler yet more stylish and comfortable styles, it is important to remember that church hats serve more than just a fashion purpose. They are a symbol of tradition, culture, and faith. Many women still carry on the tradition of wearing a fancy hat to church each Sunday. For them, it is a way of honoring the past and showing reverence for God. In addition, for many black women, it is also a sign that they are ready to receive God’s word and his blessings. A woman’s church hat is often her crowning glory. This style statement speaks to her unique personality and sense of fashion. It can range from bold toppers that resemble modern-day fascinators to posh little cloches. The styles are diverse, but they all add a special touch to any outfit. Some hats are designed to look like Western African hairdressings, filled with braids and beads. Others have been shaped into head wraps or afros reminiscent of the civil rights movement and black culture. These styles are a form of expression that challenges Eurocentric beauty standards and represents the power of women. They have a rich and varied millinery history that will continue to inspire the next generation of church ladies.

Symbol of Beauty

A hat is the perfect accessory for a church service, and there are a variety of styles to choose from. The hats worn for church services are often very colorful and intricately designed. The caps are usually meant to compliment the churchgoers’ outfits. Elegant church hats are more than just a fashion accessory; it symbolizes beauty. The hats that women wear to church are bold, beautiful and carry a lot of cultural significance.

The tradition of wearing church hats returned to slavery when African American women covered their heads with beautiful caps and crowns to honor God. The hats were also meant to remind them of their freedom from slavery.

After the end of slavery, the black middle class began to emerge, and the church hat became a sign of status. Women often compliment their flamboyant hats with the phrase “trying to catch God’s eye” to show their devotion and love for God. The church hat culture has continued to thrive with each generation. Despite rejecting European beauty standards in the ’60s, many young black women continue to embrace the church hat as an expression of their culture and faith. Images of Duchess Meghan Markle inspire millennials and future generations to keep the church hat tradition alive.

Symbol of Freedom

Wearing a church hat is more than just an accessory for many women. It’s a way to honor tradition and celebrate their cultural heritage. These hats were originally designed for African-American women who wanted to look their best while worshiping and praising God. During the Civil Rights Movement, Black leaders were often seen wearing their Sunday best, including a Church Hat. This was a deliberate choice to show they were committed to their cause. In addition, it allowed them to contrast their civility with the violence they would face from police during protests.

Today, African-American women continue to wear Church Hats to honor the tradition of their ancestors. They see the hat as “a crown” that symbolizes their pride, beauty, and soul. They also believe that the larger and more elaborate the hat, the closer they will feel to God. Eula Allen, 67, is a woman who has been going to church with her husband, pastor James Allen, for 48 years. She says that she always wears her hat to church. She is considered a “first lady” in her community and the congregation at Pilgrim Baptist in Gibson.

If you’re looking for a beautiful yet classic Church Hat to add to your collection, there are a variety of styles and colors to choose from, and their prices are affordable.

Symbol of Self-Expression

For many African-American women, church hats are more than just an accessory. They’re a statement, “a crown,” embodying a cherished custom’s pride, beauty and soul.

The origins of traditional headwear for Black women can be traced back to biblical scripture, specifically the apostle Paul’s 1 Corinthians 11:15. The bible verse states that women should cover their heads during worship, and Black women have embraced this tradition with elaborate church hats. Church hats, often made from flowers, feathers or other embellishments, are a style of dress all their own and designed to be show-stopping. Many hats are adorned with beads, crystals, fur and lace, making them more than a fashion accessory.

While younger generations may not be as attached to hats, plenty of churchgoers still take their hats very seriously.  Leona Foster, a Living Word & World Outreach Ministries member in Minnesota, recalls her first church hat, a white straw saucer adorned with rhinestones and lilies. As a young girl, she wore the hat to the Easter Sunday service and felt like a star. Now, at 61, she’s searching for her next church hat to complete her powder blue dress and matching jacket.