By Judy Reiss
I was watching a TV program the other day and although the program was a little boring, I was very excited to see that the older woman was wearing a terrific hat. Not only did she wear the hat, she continued to wear big brimmed hats with bunches of flowers all over them. And mind you, she was just supposed to be someone’s grandmother and she came and went in several scenes. And all I kept thinking was, “I want one of her hats.”
Now, if you were one of the zillions of people who watched “Downton Abbey”, then you saw hats of every size and shape from the first scene 6 years ago, until through your tears, the last episode. Almost every female actress wore a hat and every single time I watched, I envied them for their opportunity to wear those hats. And probably my favorite ones were those worn by Maggie Smith, who played the aristocratic grandmother. Oh, my goodness, she wore hats that were just wonderful. And best of all, as I watched (and drooled), I remembered that all woman of a certain position wore hats just like the ones she was wearing. I do have pictures of my grandmother, her sisters and her mother wearing wonderful hats, too. And then I remembered that when my wonderful grandmother passed, my mother threw away all her old hats! And I would have loved to have them!.
What are hats and where did they go? Well, I know that when I was first living here in Vermont, my friend Birgit and I went to New Jersey to visit my parents and we planned on going into New York City for a day and we had to borrow hats from my mother. None of us could imagine going to the big city hatlessÉor gloveless. I have no idea what happened to those hats, but I do know that they weren’t gorgeous but they were good enough to wear and not be embarrassed. And in the big scheme of things, that wasn’t so long ago. Right now, if you told almost anyone they had to wear a hat, unless you were talking about a baseball cap, no one would have anything to wear. And I think we should have a revolution about hat wearing!
Did I mention that I happen to have two hats? One is a black, wide brimmed hat with a black rose on it, and I bought it because I had to go to a funeral and I assumed that a hat would be appropriate. I wore it and I think that I was one of only a couple of older women wearing one. But we all looked very nice and again, appropriate.
And my second hat is wonderful. When my Sarah told me she was going to get married, I knew that as the mother of the bride, I would have to look nice. Fortunately, I already had a dress, but I decided that I wanted a super, duper hat, too. So, I looked up dressy hats on my computer and I found a terrific milliner who lived and operated about 4 miles from my cottage on Cape Cod. So I made an appointment to meet with her and discuss what I wanted. Of course, she was very busy because she makes most of the gorgeous hats that go to the Kentucky Derby and The Queen’s Tea in London. But she said she could squeeze me in! Oh, my goodness, I was so excited, but I didn’t really know exactly what I wanted. So, I told her to use her own judgment as long as my hat was big, with flowers on it, and that it would make me looked extra special. And so she agreed. A few weeks before the wedding, she called and I went to pick up my hat. And it was just what I wanted! When I wore it, I felt like the best mother of the bride imaginable. Of course, I have only worn it once since but it sits on the top of my armoire in my bedroom in its lovely hatbox just waiting for another occasion to be taken out again. I want to wear that hat again, so I am planning on finding an occasion to wear it even if I will be overdressed!
I don’t know where you can buy a great hat anymore, but I am sure there is someplace. And if you have the nerve, think how wonderful it would be to buy a hat that you love and then wear it in public. You just can’t be shy and worry about being the only one in a hat. Tough! You are the only one with taste and are polite enough to dress appropriately. And even better, get a few of your friends together and all of you decide to be hat women.
Think about all the women who have gone before you and the hats they wore. And most of these women weren’t the rich and important ones. Nope, everyone had to wear a hat and for many of them their hat was the most wonderful piece of clothing that they owned. So for you and your friends, a nice dressy hat would be a way to express your understanding of your past ancestors and a way to look great now and to strut your stuff!
So, let’s make a revolution here in Vermont and one that will be more fun than some political crap put forth for us by all of our politicians. Trust me, a fancy hat that you can wear whenever you want to will be a lot more fun than worrying about terrorists, drug use and abuse, or freaks who abuse children. Buy a hat or make a hat and then wear it with style. And let me know how it felt and where you wore it. And of course, you know I will do the same. Have a very Happy Hat Day!