Military Wiki

Pillbox hat of Jackie Kennedy

Pillbox hat shown in stained glass window, Royal Military College of Canada

A pillbox hat is a small woman's hat with a flat crown and straight, upright sides, and no brim.


Historically, the pillbox hat was military headgear, often including a chin strap, and it can still be seen on ceremonial occasions in some countries, especially from those which are of the Commonwealth of Nations. For example, the Royal Military College of Canada dress uniform includes a pillbox hat. A pillbox cap, also referred to as a kilmarnock, is a modern manufacture of the traditional headdress worn by members of virtually all Gurkha regiments.[1] During the late Roman Empire, the pillbox, then known as the pilleus or "Pannonian cap" was worn by Roman soldiers.

The name of the headgear derives from a pillbox, a round defence structure for ground troops, popularized in World War I by the British.[2] Pillbox fortifications still stand today and are particularly prevalent in Wales, such as those at Nant Ffrancon.

In popular culture

  • Jacqueline Kennedy, First Lady of the United States from 1961 to 1963, was well known for her "signature pillbox hats" in the 1960s, designed by Halston.[3]
  • Pillbox hats are mentioned in the song "Leopard-Skin Pill-Box Hat" by Bob Dylan. The song first appeared on his 1966 album Blonde on Blonde.



  1. Wilson History & Research Center, 10th Princess Mary's Own Gurkha Rifles Pillbox Cap. Retrieved 2010-08-18.
  2. The Defence of Britain: the Welsh Aspect
  3. Spurlin, William J. 'I'd Rather Be the Princess Than the Queen' in Kear, Adrian and Steinberg, Deborah Lynn (eds.) Mourning Diana: Nation, Culture and the Performance of Grief. London: Routledge, 1999. p.158

External links