Mary Pickford wearing a boudoir cap and negligee in 1921

A boudoir cap is a form of lingerie nightcap that was popular in the 19th and early 20th centuries.[1]


In its original form, the boudoir cap was worn over undressed hair,[2] and has been compared to the 18th century mob cap.[3][4] Particularly towards the end it was designed to be worn in the privacy of the boudoir with negligees or nightwear.[3] It was often made from lightweight lingerie-type fabrics such as muslin, lace, crochet or net, and trimmed with silk ribbon and lace.[3][5]

During its later revival in the 1910s and 1920s, it was used to protect short hairstyles whilst sleeping,[6] or first thing in the morning as ideal "for the smart bedroom woman"[7] to hide the morning hair mess.[5][8] In London, during the WWI Zeppelin raids, women grew more self-conscious of their night attire as bombings often led Londoners to evacuate their houses in the middle of the night. Boudoir caps were a preferred choice to rapidly and stylishly cover their hair.[9]

Towards the end of the 1920s and into the 1930s, the boudoir cap evolved into a form of decorative hairnet.[6] The fashion of short hair for women contributed to the declining use of the boudoir cap.[10]

See also


  1. ^ Cumming, Valerie; Cunnington, C.W.; Cunnington, P.E. (2010). The dictionary of fashion history. Oxford: Berg. pp. 55–56. ISBN 9781847887382.
  2. ^ Lewandowski, Elizabeth J. (2011). The complete costume dictionary. Lanham, Md.: Scarecrow Press, Inc. ISBN 9780810877856.
  3. ^ a b c Chico, Beverly (2013). Hats and headwear around the world : a cultural encyclopedia. Santa Barbara, Calif.: ABC-CLIO. pp. 295–296. ISBN 9781610690638.
  4. ^ "Boudoir cap, ca. 1917, American". Metropolitan Museum of Art. Retrieved 7 May 2014.
  5. ^ a b Lina (2015-03-24). "1920s Boudoir Cap". Sew Historically. Retrieved 2020-08-30.
  6. ^ a b Willett Cunnington, C.; Cunnington, Phillis (1992). The history of underclothes. New York: Dover Pub. p. 291. ISBN 9780486319780.
  7. ^ "Boudoir cap, 1926-35". Museum of London. Retrieved 7 May 2014.
  8. ^ "1920s Cap | Boudoir Caps". Retrieved 2020-08-30.
  9. ^ Zhang, Sarah (2018-02-07). "WWI's Zeppelin Bombings Popularized the Trend of 'Pyjamas'". The Atlantic. Retrieved 2020-08-30.
  10. ^ "Vintage Fashion Guild : Lingerie Guide : Boudoir Cap". Retrieved 2020-08-30.