|Abigail Adams - wife of John Adams|
The mob cap was a simple head covering commonly worn during America's Colonial period. It came into fashion in the early 18th Century and survived well into the 19th Century. It varied in size and style quite a bit from country to country and year to year. Early versions of the mob cap included side flaps that came down and tied under the chin. This was considered flattering for the more mature lady whose chin had fallen prey to gravity.
|Mob cap with sides - not tied|
Head coverings were necessary in Colonial days. Bathing was infrequent and a mob cap kept the woman's hair clean. And hidden. (Because they didn't bathe frequently.) Modesty also played a part. A woman without her hair covered was considered undressed. Mob caps were essentially for indoor wear. When the lady ventured outdoors, she'd cover the mob cap with a hat or hood.
|Martha Washington - wife of George Washington|
|Hat worn over mop cap|
The construction of the mob cap was simple, a circle of fabric drawn around the head with a ribbon or band. (Although we see them made with elastic in reenactment clothing, it's good to remember that elastic had not been invented yet when these caps were popular.) Some were elaborately pleated, but most were gathered. The amount of fabric left before the band to form the ruffle varied from almost none to enough to shade the face. Depending on where one lived, the fabric might be linen, cotton, or even gauze, but all were starched.
|French Serving Maid Knitting|