During the 1840s, headcoverings were an essential part of every women's wardrobe. Inside the home, women often wore delicate, lacy caps which covered the hair and tied under the chin. When venturing out into the world, most American women wore a bonnet made of straw or silk. In the mid-1840s, the fashionable bonnet shape was that seen here: a continuous crown and brim forming a straight line with low tabs covering the cheeks and ears. Embellishment varied, but a bow or puff of ribbons on one side, long ribbon ties at the chin and a "bavolet" were common characteristics. The bavolet, a gathered panel of fabric extending from the lower back of the bonnet, was also functional, providing sun protection for the neck. It also covered and protected the fashionable hairstyle, a knot or twist of hair worn low on the neck. The interior of the bonnet brim often featured additional decoration in the form of artificial flowers, lace or the frilled edges of a house cap peeking out from under the bonnet. Photographic evidence indicates that some women wore fancy house caps under their bonnets, particularly when visiting. The bonnet was removed to reveal the house cap only when entering a home or other appropriate indoor space.