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What is a Juliet Cap?

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  • Written By: Mandi R. Hall
  • Edited By: J.T. Gale
  • Last Modified Date: 27 November 2016
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A Juliet cap is a close-fitting headpiece worn around the skull. It has also been called a Juliette cap, ladies' skullcap, or a Capulet cap or hat. This accessory is generally thought of as bridal wear or semiformal wear.

When worn by a bride, these caps are typically made from white or pearl-colored materials, so as to match the gown. Such a pattern often includes the use of pearls, beads, floral designs, lace, crystals, feathers, or embroidered cloth. Caps may fully envelop the crown of the head, and they may be cylindrical or dome-shaped. Some Juliet caps are even prepared completely out of non-fabric material. For example, beads may be strung together in a tent-like pattern and draped over the crown of the head, resting on the forehead, as well.

In modern times, the addition of a Juliet cap to one's bridal arrangement is unusual. Historically, the Juliet cap is not mentioned in bridal or semiformal wear as frequently as other popular headpieces, such as the tiara or headband. In the 21st century, though, skullcaps have made a comeback in the form of crocheted autumn and winter caps that sit atop a person's head, as a ladies' skullcap would.

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Instead of wearing a tiara, veil, or shimmery clip, a bride may choose to wear a unique headpiece, such as an embroidered skullcap. A bride may also choose to incorporate a Juliet cap with the traditional veil by attaching the veil to the cap itself, allowing the veil to fall behind the head, over the face, or both. While these brimless caps are typically centered at the crown of the head, variations include slightly tipping the cap forward or backward.

The origin of the Juliet cap stems from the 16th century, when William Shakespeare wrote Romeo and Juliet. Visions of Juliet Capulet’s headpiece in drawings — as well as a part of her costume on stage during historical and modern performances — depict Juliet wearing a cap such as this. This is where the terms Juliet cap and Capulet hat come from.

Grace Kelly, a princess and fashion icon, wore a Juliet cap during both her civil wedding and her religious wedding to Prince Rainier of Monaco in 1956. During the religious ceremony, Kelly wore a gown made of 25 yards of silk taffeta and 125-year-old lace. Her coif was styled and pulled back under her Juliet cap, which was ornamented with orange blossoms, seed pearls, and a veil of tulle.

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anon312010
Post 11

Where can I find a crochet pattern for a Juliet hat?

amypollick
Post 9

@jennythelib: Oh yeah, Juliet headpieces were extremely popular in the 70s. Look at any old newspapers that had the descriptions of the bridal gown and veil, and you're bound to run into the Juliet cap as the veil's headpiece in the announcement.

I thought they were attractive -- certainly better than the wire and bead headpieces of the 80s that came down to a point in the middle of the forehead, with a huge pouf of veiling at the back! Those were truly hideous.

SZapper
Post 8

@strawCake - That's the beauty of knitting and other crafts. Even if something is out of style you can still make one for yourself or someone else who wants one. I've made myself many a shawl and those aren't considered very stylish anymore.

As far as the Juliet cap, I've considered the style but I'm still not totally sold on it.

strawCake
Post 7

I know these types of hats aren't exactly in style anymore but I see knitting patterns for them all the time! I mostly see knitting patterns for the more casual skull cap style as opposed to wedding headwear though.

Some of the patterns do look pretty cute but I just don't like wearing hats! However I wouldn't be averse to knitting one for a friend so we'll see if anyone ever requests this type of hat.

Agni3
Post 6

Well, I really like Juliet caps, but I am totally afraid to wear them. Here is why; my face is very round and doll-like. I have a button nose and big old eyes, and that is all really cute on little girls.

However, I am not a little girl and the slightest of fashion mess-ups make me look five hundred pounds heavier than I actually am. Put me in a toboggan and just call me melon head.

So, should I Juliet it or not? I would like to look cute, but not like a pumpkin.

Maybe I should be more confident with round faced appearance, but I’ve got to tell you, I’m not. Help!

blackDagger
Post 5

I’m sorry – I just can’t seem to get into the Juliet caps at all. They look so – I don’t know – oppressive, maybe?

They hide so much of a lady’s hair, and they sort of make people look shorter to me for some reason. I’m not sure if that’s just my own little optical illusion or if that is fact.

So, I would say go with a cute hat if you must, but please stay away from the Juliet cap thingy in this day and age. Let’s let it rest with all of the other Shakespearean styles we no longer adorn ourselves with.

Maybe they looked really awesome with skirts down to the ankles and huge crinolines, but I just don’t think we’ve got what it takes to make this look work today.

mabeT
Post 4

I am not a real big fan of Juliet caps in the way of bridal wear, but they are just as cute as pie on some ladies just to keep their heads a little warm in the winter.

I had never seen one until I saw my slightly Bohemian, nine years younger sister wearing one last year. Her hair is cut shorter, but not too short. She can still pull off some really feminine styles or a faux hawk if she wants to. And when she put this little crocheted cap on, she was adorable!

The one she wore was a turquoise color, and she wore it with a slightly lighter shade sweater and jeans. Add to that her black knee high boots, and she really did rock the whole look!

MrsWinslow
Post 3

@jennythelib - I think they must have been, because my mom and her sister both wore them, too. Personally, I like the look of a birdcage wedding veil better. It's almost a similar idea because it fits so close to your head, but it doesn't necessarily cover your hair (can attach to whatever kind of hat or hair thingy), but it just frames your face a little bit instead of being a long veil.

jennythelib
Post 2

Weren't these a fad as bridal hats in the 1970s? My parents got married in 1972 and I remember my mom saying that she had trouble finding a headpiece she liked because the Juliet caps were everywhere. She didn't one one because it covered up too much of the hair, which is the big disadvantage with those.

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