Merry Widow Hat is a heavily decorated wide brim hat from Edwardian fashion. Initially, it was decorated with feathers and filmy chiffon as part of a costume for Lily Elsie, a theater actress, for a play, Die Lustige Witwe; however, more than the acting and the storyline, the hat drew so much attention that it became an instant sensation among the ladies in the early 1900s.
From there, there was no looking back. The brims became wider, and the hats became more and more heavily decorated. No matter what came to the designer’s mind, they put it on the hat from flowers to lace to beads to everything a woman could imagine or desire. The motto of the hat was ‘The bigger, the better’ in all respect. At one point, the brim became as wide as 8 inches. It was worn at an angle to showcase the wearer’s style.