Research feeds into our books in delightful ways. In the early days when I was gathering material for Foul Trade, I read fiction from the 1920’s to get a feel for the language and preoccupations of the time. Also the style and clothes – as the contemporary writers saw them rather than through the haze of nostalgia; what was considered up to the minute or gave clues as to social status or how risqué a woman might be regarded. I wanted the latter, in particular, for the sorts of dresses that Sally Goldman would make for her rich clients, and those May Keaps would feel uncomfortable in when having to wear them for a disguise.
One of the books I loved in it’s own right (a story of a racy and free-spirited young woman) as well as for the style clues it afforded, was The Green Hat by Michael Arlen. I gave May a green hat in tribute. So imagine my delight when I was watching a Noel Coward play in the Cambridge Arts Theatre and heard one of the characters refer to the same novel. Great minds think alike!
Here are some of my favourite images of hats from dressmaking patterns and fashion plates of the time. You can discover more on my Pinterest boards . . .