The Return Of The Easter Bonnet


image courtesy abc7_ny

Adorning one’s head with a hat of flowers, fabric, and fantastical additions in celebration of Easter has been the culture and pride of many New Yorkers as far back as I can remember.  And now after a 2-year pandemic hiatus, the tradition of showcasing the artistry and creativity of the Easter bonnet has made its come back

Home to many churches including both Catholic and Protestant, in the mid-19th century, several New York churches began to decorate their sanctuaries with Easter flowers. The floral displays grew more elaborate each year and members of the congregations began to dress accordingly for the Easter service. A vast spectacle for religious observance and fashion, it became an after-church cultural event for the upper class. Ladies and gentlemen in fashionable clothing would stroll along Fifth Avenue to see the floral displays. People from the middle and poorer classes could not participate but they came to watch the parade. Although it was later criticized by traditionalists for its display of wealth and beauty, it remained a highly anticipated event and was as important in retailing as the Christmas and holiday season is today.

photo courtes alexandra charitan

As it grew in popularity over the years, it grew into an Easter parade that would eventually reach almost a million by the 1950s. And as it continued to grow in popularity and participation, its religious aspects faded and the parade transformed into a display of prosperity involving pranks, stunts and extravagant behavior. It wouldn’t be until its most recent re-emergence after the pandemic of 2020, that the once popular and extravagant parade would reflect more of a family friendly event involving New Yorkers of all ages and backgrounds.

Still a showcase of ensembles ranging from elegant to outrageous and the ever creative Easter bonnets that remained its signature, for many returning it’s been about doing their part to make the dark colors of winter give way with mood-lifting brights — not just as a fashion statement, but as a declaration of the SPIRIT and a celebration of the return of Springs floral offerings that ushered in its beginnings.

Inspired by the looks?

Check out our J&O fabric florals.

Check out our J&O Fabric novelty.

Check out our J&O Fabric dress fabrics.


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