Chicago's Mad Hatter: Bes-Ben

Here at The Way We Wore, we believe self-expression can be shown from head to toe. As we all know, it’s not necessarily just about a garment: accessorizing can be the key to showing your true colors!

Known as “Chicago’s Mad Hatter”, Benjamin B. Green-Field and his sister, Bessie, are famous for their Bes-Ben hats. Ranging from elegant toppers to over-the-top surrealist statements, Bes-Ben hats decorated the coiffure’s of fabulous women from 1919 through the 1950s. Today, the hats have become extremely collectible, and a staple of our ever-growing hat collection.

The Bes-Ben woman enjoys the expression of art as fashion, but always with a sense of humor. The shapes and materials of Bes-Ben hats range from rhinestones and feathers to artfully crafted and sculpted wax flowers. 

More than just a hat, the pieces are gorgeous examples of wearable art. We are fortunate to coexist with some of these in our space, at least for the meantime. It's easy to get lost in the intricacies! Here are a few hats included in Doris' collection, all available for viewing or purchase in our store. Come check them out!

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  • Love these. And I love watching your tv show. It’s great to learn about designers that I’ve never heard of before. After 20+ years of working in theatre, you would think I’ve heard of everyone. Thanks for the amazing show. One of these days I’ll drop in the store and never leave. ( just kidding) I’ll be hiding next door.

    • kathy raess-young