Word Origin & History
mid-15c., "vendor of fancy wares, especially those made in Milan," Italian city, famous for straw works, fancy goods, ribbons, bonnets, and cutlery. Meaning of "one who sells women's hats" may be from 1520s, certainly in use by 18c. (it is difficult in early references to know whether the word means
a type of merchant or "a resident of Milan" who is selling certain wares).