A LAMENT FOR THE GORGEOUS HATS OF YESTER-YEAR


Fab-Hat-on-Elizabeth

The other night I watched a TV bio-pic about Coco Chanel. Shirley McLaine – don’t you just love Shirley McLaine ? – gave us the older, chain-smoking, imperious Coco Chanel, always seen wearing one of her signature style suits and  chain-smoking ferociously under a devastatingly simple but oh-so-stylish hat, whether indoors or out. And it’s the hats I want to write about.

Nowadays we don’t seem to wear hats. Well, not stylish ones, anyway, and not in the circumstances of my own modest life. I daresay if I decorated the upper echelons of society I might be seen at Ascot wearing a stylish little concoction of veiling and feathers, or maybe even at our local J&B Met stakes, but I don’t live that sort of life. Floppy sunhats – yes, I own these. Battered straw hat for the garden – yup, tick the box. Peaked sports cap (a  cheesey souvenir of Melbourne with a kangaroo on the front – okay, okay, not cool I know, but dammit, it proves I travelled to far away Oz, so leave me alone) – cap to keep the sun out of my eyes when I’m out walking. In short, my hats are utilitarian.

I do not own a glamorous or fanciful hat. And the Chanel bio-pic showed scenes of her early life, in which all women, regardless of their social class, wore the most divine hats. Big brimmed hats, with cascades of ribbons, feathers, silk flowers, beading – you name it. The hats were frothy extravaganzas of feminine frivolity, style, glamour.

Sigh. Who am I kidding? The sad fact is, that due to my very short stature, when I put on a wide brimmed hat decorated with fol-de-rols and what-have-you, I look like a small energetic mushroom charging through a dense thicket of tall folk. Oh to be tall and willowy! Then I could wear enormous hats with trailing chiffon scarves and leave behind me a cloud of envious glances and whispers ….  I can dream, can’t I?

 

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9 Comments

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9 responses to “A LAMENT FOR THE GORGEOUS HATS OF YESTER-YEAR

  1. Ah indeed, My friend! And I’ll dream along with you! Beautiful written article, as usual 🙂

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  2. Judy Bird

    Good morning on such a beautiful morning! NO WIND. Lovely blog re hats. I had/ have a beautiful collection which ( in my frantic desire to downsize and move to a 2bed apartment) I passed on to various people ( including grand daughter) in Scotland I might add ! So. Time moves on and what we collected fervently for 37 years all comes to nothing!

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  3. Oh Alison I love your article! It brought back memories of my paternal grandmother who made beautiful hats when she was young.

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  4. Glad you enjoyed. I must say our current era does nothing to encourage elegance or feminine fripperies, but on the plus side, we do have other benefits. Can’t think of any right now – its too early in the morning.

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  5. I love hats! And I have a fine collection. Sadly, since I cut my hair, they don’t seem to look as good as before. Maybe it’s time to start a hat for short hair collection?

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  6. You could well be on to a great idea – hats for short/er hair.

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  7. Sorry, I’ve only just caught up with this blog (vicissitudes of the Internet) which I enjoyed a lot. I adopted hats as everyday wear when Diana, Princess of Wales, made them popular. Now I have around 40 on two hatstands and in hat boxes. I buy them on holiday, I receive them as gifts and I pick them up in charity shops. They range from elegant wedding-type hats to knitted caps and I love them all.

    Hats, of course, are perfect for protecting you from the sun but they work as well as umbrellas in the rain and don’t poke people’s eyes out. Another benefit: brimmed hats, hide bags under the eyes.

    In my opinion, contrary to camparigirl’s, short hair is better with hats than long: think back again to Diana. The Duchess of Cambridge who does have long hair, just about gets away with it but that’s because she has a pretty face.

    And men in hats. Don’t get me started! Suffice to say, a man in a trilby or a fedora must be gallant. Trouble is, a lot of them are so attached to theirs that they wear them indoors – not gallant at all..

    Ladies, hat up!

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  8. Thanks Cricket – a worthy response. Look forward to seeing a pic showing you hatted up for a grand occasion!

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