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.
For more, see: SundayScribblings.