M: Show me your cap, and I'll tell you who you are! In the 19th century, caps were not just an everyday item of women’s clothing. They were also used to convey subtle messages. You could tell from a cap whether someone was in mourning, married or single. Whether the woman was wealthy, or living on the breadline. A glance at her cap was enough to tell you all that.
F: Because of their shape, the caps you see here in the display case were known as “Tellerhauben” – literally, “plate caps”. They’re a kind of mob cap with a flat crown. Depending on how well-to-do the wearer was, the crown might feature gold embroidery. Later, there was a fashion for a style called twigpansmüske – caps made of flowered silk with gold trim.
F: Often the caps were embroidered by hand, with sequins or, for those who could afford it, with gold. The expensive fabric came in various colours: it might be pink or beige silk, black or white velvet. Or a special fabric with gold and silver threads in the weave. Women in mourning usually wore just a single black ribbon on their caps. That sufficed as a sign of mourning – no need to dress in black. For everyday wear, women usually trimmed their caps with a red ribbon.
Fotos: © Heimatmuseum Lette