Sunday Scribblings: Collector Personality

The thing about hats and shoes is that even when your weight fluctuates, they always fit. I like shoes as much as anyone with fashionista tendencies, but I am a klutz with weak ankles, so much of my shoe lust happens from afar.

Hats though. Hats are my thing.

It takes a special quality to be a hat person. I don’t mean just having the right hair or the right shape to your face, I mean, you have to be willing to be noticed, and you have to have a personal sense of style, even if it’s not a conventional sense of style.

Also, having big eyes helps.

I blame my grandmother and her endless warnings to “put a hat on that baby,” for my love of hats, but my mother certainly never discouraged my appreciation of headgear, and my great-aunt Violet never appeared in public without her “tam.” If fashion is genetic, I get my hat gene from the maternal line.

My collection of hats is diverse. There are berets of course, in many colors (though I still need one in warm mustard gold), and I have a second collection of brooches that I use to dress them up a bit. One is a gold star, another is the planets around the sun and a third is hammered copper with African animal charms dangling from it. The latter two were both presents from my step-father – he has a knack for finding cool things like that for me. I used to have a black velvet beret that was my writing hat, but I set a hot curling iron down and it rolled and the velvet melted, so I had to toss the hat. I miss that hat.

I have two fedoras, one black (of course) and one forest green, I have a brown bowler, and a red hat that is sort of like a bowler but softer, more feminine. I have a traditional straw hat complete with a satin ribbon, and a newer straw hat from earlier this year that is a cross between a pillbox and a flapper hat, and has silk flowers on it.

I like newsboy caps, and have two, one of which is tweed, and the other of which is purple and green plaid iridescent velvet, which I know sounds awful, but trust me, it works (they’re deep jewel-toned versions of these hues). I have another iridescent velvet hat by the same designer, a company called Hatterdashery based in Seattle. That hat is a crushable top hat, the top of which is embossed black on black, and the brim of which is deepest blue.

I have a black “rasta hat” that is adorned with green, red, yellow and orange and looks rather like something Guinan would wear, and I have a leopard print crushable pillbox. I have a denim “Blossom” hat – the round hats with the flowers that were popular in the late eighties and early nineties and I have a velvet version that my mother made. And I have baseball caps, too, not from teams, but that style. One is black velvet and I have a giant dragonfly brooch I often pin to the front.

I don’t have a favorite hat. I love them all, but I wear some more than others. A green knit beret made for me by a friend was my staple this spring, and my indigo beret (with the planet pin) is also a frequent part of my wardrobe.

People often ask where I buy my hats. Some are from accessory stores, while others were gifts. Two were purchased at Scarborough Faire, but not the same year, although they were from the same person. Two were from the same milliner – the afore-mentioned Hatterdashery. My mother made several, and others simply appeared, or were liberated from my grandmother’s closet. (The tween newsboy was my grandfather’s actually.)

Hats are a way I express my moods, hide my hair when I don’t feel like washing it, or just complete my outfit of the moment. The only thing in my house I have more of than hats is books.


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CC BY-NC-ND 4.0 Sunday Scribblings: Collector Personality by Melissa Bartell is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

13 thoughts on “Sunday Scribblings: Collector Personality

  1. Hi there and thanks for stopping by. As a fellow lover of hats (though I don’t wear them so much now) I really enjoyed this piece. I smiled at the ‘put a hat on that child’ — my kids are always adorned. And you’d have had a ball in my grandmother’s wardrobe! I’m sorry about the melted velvet writing hat!

  2. I’ve always wanted to be a hat person, but sadly I just can’t seem to carry it off.

    I think we need pictures of your hat collection though :-).

  3. Meliss,
    You’re right about having sense of style. Because I have none and I’ve always liked to wear those beautiful hats, but when I tried them on, I looked “ohmigod!!! is that me?” kind of reaction.
    I have three wools and fleece hats that I only wear them during winter to protect my ears as I have a very, very short hair.
    Thank you for stopping by and read my blog.

  4. Thanks for the introduction into a whole new world. My hat wearing usually serves a utilitarian purpose but I’m glad to witness the joy you receive from your head garments.

  5. I, for one, think hats are under-appreciated little delights. So props to you for giving them such deserved homage. Your collection sounds lovely.

  6. Oh I love hats too! I used to have lots; sadly, many were lost in my travels. But I still have a few tried and true and am always on the lookout for the perfect hat – any excuse to wear one! Great post!

  7. I have always yearned to wear a hat and actually purchased a dozen or so in hopes they would become headcovers instead of dust collectors. Sadly, that didn’t happen. Loved your post!

  8. I envy your affinity with hats. I, myself, have finally given up on them. I have a few for sheer utility in winter (living where it gets cold) and a couple to keep the sun or bugs off in the summer. But most of them make me look ridiculous. Nearly twenty years ago my mom was clearing out a closet and was going to send some things to a local theater group. We tried on the hats and the more I tried on, the more giggles I got, because not a single one suited me!

  9. Wow – thats a lot of hats. I was having diner with someone a couple of days ago and they had (they estimated) 200 pairs of shoes. They deliberately didn’t keep them organised so that it didn’t look too many.

    Their estimate was that only 100 pairs were still in good use.

    And Hello, Michele sent me!

    rashbre

  10. I love to see people wearing hats – they lend such a creative flair to a person!

    However, as much as I love to see them on others, I think I look completely stupid in them. And, they give me a horrible headache. Actually, it all goes back to my grandmother, who was always teling my mother to “put a hat on that baby!”

    Great post, Melissa!

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