This section is from the "A Complete Dictionary of Dry Goods" book, by George S. Cole. Also available from Amazon: A complete dictionary of dry goods and history of silk, cotton, linen, wool and other fibrous substances,: Including a full explanation of the modern processes ... together with various useful tables.
Aigrette (A'-Gret Or A-Gret), A French word used to denote the plume or feathery tuft on the heads of several varieties of birds, as the heron. Hence the term came to be used to designate the long, delicate, white feathers which being stuck upright in a lady's head-dress, are calculated to give a majestic appearance to the person. More recently the usage has been still further extended, and any head-dress bearing a similarity to a plume, even a bouquet of flowers fastened with a brooch, is termed an aigrette.