One of my favorite styles of 16th-century headgear is the tall crowned hat. It was first worn by men starting around the 1570s mostly in England, the Low Countries, & Spain. Women soon adopted the style, particularly when worn with high-necked doublet-style bodices. This fashion was hugely popular, which lead to criticism by the early 17th century, complaining that women & men were swapping attire, leading to a pair of satirical pamphlets “Hic Mueler: Or, The Man-Woman” and “Haec-Vir, or The Womanish-Man,” circa 1620. The pamphlets specifically criticize women for wearing a “Ruffianly broad-brim’d Hatte” instead of “the modest attire of the comely Hood, Cawle, Coyfe.”
Most of these hats were constructed by pulling fur or wool felt over a block form to create the tall crown & flat brim. Felted beaver fur was a luxurious option, & the material was increasingly imported from Canada. But I’ve found some images that hint at another construction method, that of pleating fabric over some kind of sturdy frame, which was not unknown at this time but wasn’t as common for this type of hat until the next century or two.
Still, the following images of show Elizabethan tall hats that have suspicious vertical lines on the crown. Is this pleated fabric? Pieced fabric? Corded decoration? It shows up in both men’s & women’s wear, primarily English & at least moderately wealthy judging by the names/titles & the rest of their outfits (large ruffs, blackwork stomachers, jeweled hat pin, etc.). See for yourself. Some images have been lightened to show detail.