The earliest known traditional hats in history were worn in thebes and seen on ancient Egyptian murals. Next there were Phrygian caps that were worn by the freed slaves in Rome, signifying their independence. As the centuries went by, the traditional use of hats worn by women in church is said to originate from the Apostle Paul’s words in 1st Corinthians 11:15, which says that women should cover their heads during worship. African American women have since embraced those words with elaborate church hats.
During and after slavery, African American women who worked as maids and servants broke away from their uniforms on Sunday and wore decorated hats to service. The hat, no matter what material it was made from, was adorned with ribbons, bows and flowers. It was the African American woman’s one day of individualism. Since then, church hats have gotten bigger and bolder.