A pouf was a large hat created to cover the elaborate hairstyles of the eighteenth century. Also called a balloon, parachute, or Lunardi hat (after the Italian aeronaut who was one of the first to ride in a balloon in England in 1784), a pouf was a loose, silk hat that encircled the head and had a wide brim. The crown of the pouf looked like a large balloon. When hairstyles shrank in size, poufs were replaced by smaller hats that fit on the head instead of balancing on top of a huge pile of hair.
Corson, Richard. Fashions in Hair: The First Five Thousand Years. London, England: Peter Owen, 2001.
Laver, James. Costume and Fashion: A Concise History. 4th ed. London, England: Thames and Hudson, 2002.