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Aug 16, 2011

Requiem for the Ladies Hat



Readers, I know women still wear hats.

You see them on the runway... 

 

You see them at the Ascot races...



You see them at the Easter Parade and at the Baptist Church, and you can even find cheap straw ones at the dollar store.  But the hat as an essential part of a woman's wardrobe is over.  Finito.  Will it ever return?  That, my friends, is anybody's guess.

Just to review, during the first half of the Twentieth Century (and a bit beyond), women wore hats outside -- and sometimes in -- as a matter of course.  A fashionable woman would no sooner be seen outside without a hat than she would without stockings or gloves  (Ah, gloves!).

During their heyday, hats were practical and hats were whimsical.





They framed the face, enhancing strong features and subtly distracting from weak ones.
 



They were sculptural and sometimes surreal.





Big or small, hats were a symbol of style.





So whatever happened to the ubiquitous ladies hat?

Please don't tell me that hat's were simply too much trouble.  Women are still teetering on six inch heels -- perhaps more today than ever before (certainly in real numbers).  They spend many hundreds of dollars on handbags and designer sunglasses.  They're willing to squeeze themselves into Spanx.  They wax their you-know-whats. 

Who -- or what -- killed hat culture?

I can identify a number of suspects.  Hairspray, which made possible the bouffant, upon which it became awkward to wear a hat.

The portable blowdryer, which allowed women to wear their hair long and loose.



Youth culture, which associated hats with stuffy formality and age.

The automobile, which meant that people were no longer seen outside in public, except walking from their garage to their car, or out of their car and into a doorway.  A hat is a public adornment.  If most space is private, why bother?

 
Ali McGraw.


I love hats.  I rarely buy them however because I simply don't have room to store them.



Cathy rarely models without a hat.  She says they bring her luck. 



On MPB Day, I had the privilege of meeting New York hat maker Sally, now one of my closest friends.  We talked hats quite a bit that afternoon, and she told me about an upcoming show at the Bard Graduate Center right here in New York City, curated by renown milliner Stephen Jones.  It opens in mid September and runs through April. 

Shall we organize an MPB outing this fall to go see it?



Readers, I ask you: do you still wear hats as adornment, as opposed merely to keep your head warm?

If you do, why?

If you do not, why not?

I know most women don't miss the days of corsets, or bullet bras, or garter belts, but do you ever miss hats?  Can you think of any reasons for the fading away of hat culture other than the ones I identified?

Toss your hat in the ring and tell us!

More hat pics here.

65 comments:

  1. The same can be said for men's hats, Peter. And my you're up early today!

    As for me, well, the only reason for hats in my utilitarian wardrobe is to keep my head warm!

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  2. I love hats, but, alas, I don't have a hat face. Most look ridiculous on me. And while I seldom hesitate to be completey and utterly overdressed, I feel that wearing a hat or gloves is that one step from overdressed and quirky to costume-y and completely inappropriate (sadly so) for my age and position that I shy away from it.
    I'd love to wear fabulous hats to fabulous events, but noone ever invites me to horse races or similar outings.
    On the other hand, my husband has a hat face and loves wearing his hats, a bowler hat or a beret, both black, with a leather jacket or black wool coat and jeans. They suit him terrifically and he pulls it off perfectly. <3

    I think men's hats are not as uncommon as women's hat, at least in my generation (~25), and that might well have to do with women's liberation and feminism. Not that I'm not a feminist myself, but I sometimes think that feminism is not, or used to not be about true freedom of choice, but more about appropriating the male sphere for women, e.g. women not only may wear trousers, but should/have to, to show that they're emanzipated. It's not you can wear your hair either way, but you should wear it short, 'cause that's rebellious and not traditionally feminine. I wear my hair long, I prefer skirts over trousers and heels over flats, I sew, knit, spin, cook, bake - doesn't make me less of a feminist, but even more so, because I choose to do these things, freely, and I like them and noone forces me to. But I generally get the vibe that it is expected of the modern woman to be emancipated and thus, free of all things traditionally feminine - like pretty hats and impractical gloves. This is, of course, complete nonsense, but I guess it might be part of the reason why hats fell off the bandwagon. Does it even make sense? It does in my head...

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  3. And yet, perfume, high heels, make up -- they're all still popular.

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  4. I adore hats too...sadly i never seem to have the right occasion at which to wear one *sigh*

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  5. I LOVE hats. I'm lucky enough to need to have a variety to wear when I go to Synagogue for HolyDays. For my brother's wedding, I had a hat for the ceremony, and then changed into a decorated headband for the rest of the afternoon.
    I also have a couple of relatively plain straw hats that I wear if I'm out and and about in summer. It's been impressed upon us (as Australians) that we MUST "slip, slop, slap"(slip on a tshirt, slop on some sunscreen and slap on a hat) when going out in the sunshine (in summertime, anyway) to prevent sunburn and try to protect against skin cancers.
    In wintertime, I rarely wear a hat, unless it's for religious reasons. If I think my recently "done" hair needs protection, or my ears may get cold, I will be more likely to wear a Hoodie.
    Hubby, on the other hand, has exacerbated hair loss by wearing either a beanie or a baseball cap whenever he's out and about and sometimes even when he's home. (He says "it's not a bald spot, it's a solar panel for a sex machine.")

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  6. I've always worn hats - as a short woman, I always felt a) they gave me a little bit of height, b) they always finished off an outfit or a winter coat and I always felt a little bit more 'important' and glamorous when wearing them. I wear them now mostly to protect my face and neck from sun damage and my eyes from developing macular degeneration(sun glasses are a good help with that also). I also make hats (men's and women's)and would love for you to do a Fall MPB visit as well. Maybe your friend can help you find places that are open for hat and millinery supplies - that would be a lot of fun for people.

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  7. Hi, Peter! I actually came across this in researching to write about WWII's effect on fashion in the US for the history class I'm currently taking.

    I think hats began transitioning out during World War II. Women taking over factory jobs while the men were away fighting had to change many things about their wardrobes for purely practical reasons; one of those changes was trading decorative hats for functional headpieces, such as snoods and turbans, to keep hair from catching in machinery.

    After the war, hats came back with Dior's New Look, but ultimately:

    "Another universal fashion starting around 1955 is the veiling hat, designed to control but not hide the newly important bouffant hairdos. This ... became a serious threat to milliners.... From 1959-1960 the hatlessness custom grew apace. Hairdressers with the advanced techniques in coloring and teasing into new shapes were banishing hats from the majority of women in urban areas."
    (Women's Wear Daily. "Sixty Years of Fashion." New York: Fairchild Publications, 1963.)

    Not to say that there aren't exceptions; of course some people still wear hats, whether occasionally or with regularity. But in the end, women in the '60's wanted to show off their hairstyles, and hats just never came back in force.

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  8. Hats are still important in Australia. Only at the races, of course, but the races are very important. Fascinators were 'in' for a while, but now they are 'out' and proper hats are back. Even in the tropics, we need winter hats (felt hats, for example) for winter races and different hats for the spring and summer races. Gloves complete the look. Google Gai Waterhouse- she is our top trainer, and she knows hats. Even if you don't go to the Melbourne Cup, no matter where you are you have a lovely lunch, wearing a smart outfit and a hat, and watch the race on TV. Even if you are supposed to be at work. Nobody is actually working! I love Australia.

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  9. I think their heyday is gone and I don't envision them coming back to the extent they used to be. The fact of the matter is, women don't dress up like they used to.

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  10. I adore hats. Always disappointed though that there aren't more socially acceptable situations in which to wear them. I'm fascinated by the demi-hats of the 1940's-50's and i also remember frequently wearing my dad's hats as a child. I've sadly had to pare down my hat collection to only a handful due to space constraints but still enjoy wearing one once in a while.

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  11. I love hats and wore a black bowler type regularly when I lived in Seattle--I didn't have to carry an umbrella. I'd wear them now, except I live in a wind tunnel (hat pins anyone?). As for big hair and hats, just look at the Edwardian ladies and the Gibson Girls, with their very BIG hair and AMAZING hats. Make it work, y'all. I think hats became more functional (knit caps, etc.) and less ornamental. Part of it is due to practicality--it's hard to wear a great hat in a crowded bus--and informality. Ali McGraw did rock a mean knit cap! I'm a feminist BTW, and don't feel the need to do anything if I don' wanna. :-) Valerie from the PNW posting anon due to googlitis

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  12. Another here who adores hats. But I've had to accept the fact that I just look stupid in most of them. Love high heels and perfume, too, but the heels make my feet ache and the perfume makes me sneeze. Oh well...

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  13. I wear a hat everyday. But I kind of have to. It's part of my culture....

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  14. Hats not only keep your head warm in cooler weather, they shade the face in the sun! I just recently made myself a linen sunhat, and want to make at least one more. I certainly have enough hat patterns now. Since I can never seem to get my hair to do what I want it to do, I might as well make and wear hats.

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  15. Hats may be coming back! Last spring I was invited to a bridal shower/tea party, and all guests were asked to wear a hat. It was lovely, but yes, unusual. Numerous Japanese tourists photographed us!

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  16. I adore hats, and am lucky enough to be able to pull off just about any style of hat...must just have that kind of face I guess. I'd be happy to wear any of the hats you pictured (yes, including the rabbit number, given the right venue of course) and I hope they never go completely out of style. My newest acquisition is a crocheted lilac beret, and I can hardly wait for cool enough weather to show it off!

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  17. Hats were still strong in the 1960's, they had transformed to more sedate wide brimmed straw, but were still worn. In 1967 Ralph Nader published "Unsafe at any speed" a condemnation of the car industry's safety record, and voila, the ubiquitous headrest to protect the neck and head from whiplash appeared in cars. Have you ever tried to wear a hat while riding in a modern car? Impossible. Case Closed.

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  18. I love hats! But I have been cursed with a big head. Not that I'm full of myself or have freakish proportions, but I definitely do not have a "one size fits all/most" cranium. So modern hats are out for me.

    I do have a couple of my mother's old hats that are styled more like headbands that I have worn with vintage styled clothing. I love them.

    I also own the hat that my grandmother wore to my parents' wedding in 1967. It is a fabulous feathered concoction that is shaped rather like a top hat. It is elegant, yet awesome. Unfortunately the large head comes from my grandfather's side of the family, so it does not fit.

    I would love for real hats of all shapes and sizes to come back. Overall efforts to dress up would have to increase to pull off the look. That might be what it takes to get me to stop wearing jeans to work everyday.

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  19. I LOVE hats. I have a few vintage ones I wear, mostly to parties, dinners, or dates. If I have time I'll whip up a new fascinator for a party. Rocking the vintage style works in my crowd so it doesn't come off as costume-y. And also casual hats (floppy hats or summer fedoras) for keeping the sun off my face. I wish I had more reasons to wear them!

    I think one of the reasons I love hats is because it calls back to a day when people *dressed* on a daily basis. I see far too many yoga pants and sweat pants, and not just popping out for a coffee but for a night out at the bars! I often mourn the decline of dressing appropriately for a situation. (and by "appropriate" I do NOT mean societal conventions. I mean that there are times when one should put out a little more effort!)

    I also agree with Tenshi in that the early days of feminism probably had a part to play in rejecting what was considered the stuffy formality of social expectations. Hats, gloves, and stockings were thrown out along with conventional gender roles. I'm definitely a feminist and feel the feminist movement has come far enough that now we can explore fashion in whatever way allows us to be ourselves. There no longer needs to be a feminist "uniform."

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  20. i do love hats, but i rarely wear them because i look silly in them (and i mean all hats - not just vintage styles. i don't have the head for them, sadly. my ears stick out too much :( )

    i do look good in pillbox hats, but i think that's because they're not really hats so much as they are little round things that sit on top of a bouffant hairstyle :)

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  21. I love hats too, I only have 3: summer, fall and winter. They're a little more stylish than practical, however they work well. I'd love to wear hats more often, but I find they tend to flatten my hair out, as my head is a bit bigger than average.
    It's interesting to read all the reasons why hats have fallen out of use, but sad nonetheless.

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  22. Steph, a stuffed bird on your head -- with a little veil of course -- should make your head look smaller. Especially if it's a turkey vulture.

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  23. Yes, I do wear hats on special occasions such as a wedding - usually if it is outdoors and, in southern California we do have quite a few outdoor weddings. Well, I don't. I just had one, but . . . well . . . you know what I mean. But, I don't really wear hats in the winter time except for warmth but not for adornament. Of course, I don't wear six inch heels or perfume and just a touch of make-up. I guess I must be pretty bland - but comfortable.

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  24. I think that certainly new hairstyles and riding around in cars had an impact! I wear a cowboy hat on vacation and it always flips off in the car!

    Another aspect of the hat thing is that for Catholics the mid-60's marked a change in long-standing traditions in the church. Prior to vatican II women were required to cover their heads during mass (my mother remembers the priest making her put a tissue on her head one Sunday!) I can see how the easing of the veiling in the church would have affected ideas about wearing hats elsewhere. Perhaps. My family's not super observant and I didn't really grow up all that 'catholic', but my mom has a lot of, um, issues she likes to haul out occasionally! She graduated High School in '67.

    And to make up for dragging religion into this :-) here's a funny story: I live in Mpls and know quite a few women who routinely wear hats, often to jazz gigs and the like. My good friend Nancy NEVER leaves her house without a hat or at LEAST an elaborately tied scarf. In 15 years of knowing her I've seen her hair once. Anyway a few years ago she was at a jazz club (the old Doubletree downtown for those who are curious) and was asked by the manager to remove her hat because the club had a no-hat policy for men (geared towards baseball caps) and a male customer had complained that he had to take off his hat and she got to keep hers. She refused, there was a scene and she ended up mentioned in our daily paper's gossip column (The STRIB/CJ, again for those curious!) that weekend. How's THAT for hats no longer in style!!??

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  25. I love hats, and I'd really love to be able to make one. Here where I live, unfortunately, the last hatmaker in town died years ago. We can't find the necessary supplies like felt and buckram for example. The only hats we can find for women are the most in vogue like some felt cloche and beach hats. Here, for the more feminine style, as they're no longer available, no one wears them.

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  26. I think cars are a huge part of it. Both for the reasons you mentioned of not being outside so much, and also lack of headspace. And it's also just people not being as well dressed, and just generally more casual. My grandfather was never without a hat, but then he never was seen in anything other than a collar and tie and a suit or sports jacket.

    I have an angora beret type of thing I wear in the winter a lot. I would wear more hats but for the fear of being over-conspicuous.

    In Glasgow one of the terms still in usage for a vulgar, common girl is a 'hairy'. It comes from girls from slum areas who didn't wear hats. Funny how things change! Now (here) the baseball cap is often part of the uniform for that very type of girl.

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  27. I think part of the lack of affection for hats is the changing role of women in pop culture. For a long time, the adult woman was expected to be sophisticated. She could be seductive, but in a very restrained way. With the advent of the 60s, youth culture, and the concept of "sexy," women's visual role changed from being appropriate for the occasion to being appealing to men.

    When we talk about the extreme things that women do now to look attractive, nearly all of them cater to the "sexy" concept. High heels? Elongate the leg and cause the butt to protrude. Tans, hair dye, long thick hair, clothing that squeezes down and lifts up, even plastic surgery, are all done to look youthful and sexy. I'm one of the younger people in my gym and the only women with hair shorter than mine are all over 65. As much as many folks like hats, sexy they are not.

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  28. You make a good point, Lazysub. Hats are ladylike, and the lady thing just doesn't fly among most women.

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  29. Black ladies still rock hats!

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  30. Related - Did you know about the contest going on right now to design a hat for the British couture milliner Stephen Jones? It's sponsored by the V&A Museum & Vogue, & it's online at http://www.talenthouse.com/stephen-jones-design-a-hat-to-be-exhibited-at-the-bard-graduate-center-gallery

    Anyone can vote on the hundreds of amazing hat designs that have been submitted by aspiring designers from around the world. Hat wearing may seem dead, but hat design is going strong!

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  31. Thanks for a great blog, Peter.

    I love hats but didn't wear them de rigueur until my hubby and I moved to the mountains and started spending much more time out of doors. Now we wear and buy them regularly and find it odd when we see people in the country without a hat. But your post today makes me think that fashionable hats are an extension from people spending more time outdoors, then transitioning to hats becoming unnecessary as people spent more time indoors. And now I'm thinking my hat collection could use a few fabulous hats, not just practical sun-shades. I do feel they complete an outfit.

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  32. I entered the Stephen Jones contest; not a dickey birds chance of winning, but fun to see all the amazing hats on display. I started making hats to go with the coats and dresses I was sewing, and I am hooked! Who cares if no on else is wearing a hat? Most women look fabulous in a hat-just be adventurous, find your style, and wear it proudly!

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  33. As always, Peter, you know how to get a discussion going. As a Catholic school girl growing up in the 50's & 60's, hats were always worn to church, whether for Mass on Sunday or any other reason. I still wear hats to church and usually see only one other woman wearing one, a very stylish older African-American. Also, with very thin hair, I always wear a hat in cold weather. Makes a big difference in keeping warm!

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  34. Hats ruin one's hairdo, that's why, just as helmets do, giving one the godawful "bowl crushed onto the head" look the minute the hat comes off. Also, the "one size fits all" approach makes it impossible for many women to find even a frumpy practical hat, such as a shade hat for outdoor activities. I'm just glad I don't live in a cold-winter climate.
    -- stashdragon

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  35. I have a nice vintage hat collection and I DO wear them! I have some small sparkly ones that I wear when going out at night, to bars or parties. I have some larger platter style hats that I wear to weddings often. I do try to always wear hats to weddings and have sewn outfits around hats bought specifically for weddings.

    As for the mention that hats ruin hairdos--etiquette states that women do NOT have to remove hats when going indoors precisely because they have generally crafted a hairdo around a hat and would look silly without the hat. Not to mention the mess that taking out pins creates.

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  36. Oh, and as for the comments about casual wear and not being ladylike--when I wear hats to go out to bars or clubs, I'm often wearing them with jeans. I stick to very small hats of the pancake style, the kind that just sit right on top of the head. Cute top, cute shoes, appropriate accessories to not be overwhelming, well fitted jeans and out I go. I never feel like people are staring at me wondering what they hell I'm wearing.

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  37. I enjoy hats. One thing not mentioned is that since hats are no longer ubiquitous, finding and purchasing the right hat can be a bit expensive. Loving hats is one thing, paying for them quite another! ;)

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  38. So many good comments. I like hats, and I did sometimes wear them as a teen in the 80's (remember that hat renaissance?), but I think the major reasons I don't wear (fashionable) hats now are all practical. One-size-does-NOT-fit-all, as the angry red marks across my forehead will attest, and I will not be shelling out for a custom hat anytime soon. Also, the climate I live in is as unfriendly to darling hats as it is to snazzy jackets; with the exception of a few weeks in May and October it's either broiling outside, or time for a parka, and either way, the "weather" indoors is likely to be the opposite. A knit cap in winter, or better yet, a hooded coat, is much more realistic.

    I understand it was once acceptable (and comfortable) for a woman to wear discreet hats indoors, to the theater or the market or church, etc., but I think that would be frowned upon or considered rude or just plain crazy if I decided to adopt the practice today. I know I could never handle the on-and-off that would be required multiple times a day. Not to mention, where would I put it? I've only ever seen a coat room in the movies.

    Having said all that, if two other women showed up to church in cute hats on a regular basis, sign me up!

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  39. I remember reading somewherer (sorry I don't recall the source)that more affordable hairdressing and beehive/bouffant styles killed of hat wearing. I hadn't worn hats or gloves, other than for warmth, since I left school in the late 1960s, but last year I developed a passion for gloves. Now I have purple, violet, red, brown & cream, teal and bright red gloves which I wear regularly from September through to April. Mind you, I found it difficult to get white lace gloves to go with a wedding outfit this June. Now I'm turning my attention to hats. A local milliner, yes they do exist, told me that anyone can wear a hat if they get the style right. Evidently I have a small face/head (hubbie disagrees!) and wear glasses, so I should choose neat smaller styles that sit on top or to the side - that way the hat does complements rather than fights my features. Ho hum, I'm going to experiment this fall/winter and see how things go.

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  40. At least 10 years ago I went to a wedding in Edinborough and women were expected to wear hats to church. I wore a fantastic wide brim number with a veil. Sigh. I was hoping that the royal wedding and the recent interest in fascinators would lead to a revival.

    I tend to wear big floppy casual hats to keep the sun off in the summer. I think the number one issue is hat head. My curls go limp under a hat. It's ok on days when I know I'll mostly be out in the sun, but it's rough when I am in and out.

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  41. Personnellement, je mets des chapeaux en hiver, parce que j'adore cela et qu'ils tiennent chaud!!
    Il existe un argument qui me freine dans l'acquisition de chapeaux : le prix... J'adore regarder les vitrines des modistes , mais je n'ai pas toujours beaucoup d'argent.
    Autre problème : les magasins de modistes disparaissent. Il n'est pas facile de trouver un beau chapeau en dehors de Paris...
    Dernier mot : un chapeau donne beaucoup de classe, de chic, à une tenue...
    Et j'adore votre blog !
    Valérie

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  42. My mother always wore a hat -- she was called the Bella Abzug of our town (remember Bella?!). I frequently wear a wide-brimmed straw hat in the summer for sun protection because I am mostly on foot for shopping, going out, etc. I like to tie a coordinating scarf or pin a brooch on it. I also wear a baseball cap to run in. . . but I guess that doesn't count. In winter, nothing is nicer than a warm hat -- several caps, a beret and a felted wool one with a turned up brim are in my closet. I think hats may become more popular if people begin living a more green lifestyle -- biking and walking more than driving. They are great for beating the heat and the cold . . . but I don't see us going back to wearing the purely ornamental hat.

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  43. I feel so privileged to have inspired your topic! I, of course, wear hats all the time. There's no need for "an occasion"; just put it on your head and go. As for "ladylike", there are lots of hats that are not ladylike - put on a trapper hat in the winter, a fedora any time, wear a bowler, think Marlene Dietrich. There are tons of fun choices, and, there is a hat for everyone, even people who think they don't look good in hats.

    Thanks for MPB Day! I had so much fun, and I look forward to the next one.

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  44. Oh Bella! Her hats were fab...

    I rarely wear hats, thanks to genetics--I have my father's large head (large even in men's sizes). I did find a wonderful hat for my wedding 28 years ago (at Bonwit's in Chicago; they actually had a hat dept.)...but it's extremely hard to find something that fits nowadays. I've moved on to gloves and scarves...

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  45. I wear hats, toques, caps and whatever else. Usually it is purpose driven (to keep me warm or shaded) but I try to look good just the same. I just wish the fun and interesting ones were easier to find. I'll just have to learn to make my own.

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  46. I love hats, but I only wear them in the winter to keep me warm. In a costume history class I took in college we learned that hat wearing sharply declined after JFK showed up to his inauguration hat-less. Not sure if that affected women also? It'd be fun to bring back hats, but with my glasses I'm never sure how it all looks together.

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  47. Has anyone mentioned hat head? That's the main reason I rarely wear hats, though I do love them. I think the issue is coming and going inside and out....if you have to remove your hat (say, because the heat is cranked or it's making you wilt in the humidity), and then you look foolish carrying it in your hand with bad hair. But in the last couple years there's been the fedora craze, and then the Panama hat this year...so hats remain on the scene somewhat.

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  48. Good grief I'm the third Valerie to comment & the second from the PNW. Sorry, but it's not a name I see often so I notice when they start coming out of the woodwork.

    There are several reasons I don't wear hats, the one size fits all is always too big for me, & I have never found a hat I looked better in than without let alone just plain good in. Another big issue is space. When you take it off at a restaurant or someplace else there is nowhere to put it. Not to mention storing a fancy hat in a hatbox to help it keep its shape when its not in use. Another issue I had was when I wore glasses: the hat & the earpieces of my glasses were trying to simultaneously occupy the same space. Glasses & hat together can look rather cluttered & makes you feel there is too much stuff clouding your airspace. Add earrings, a necklace, makeup, & trying to keep your hair looking good when the hat's not on: It's just one big mess. I am a hassle free kinda-gal so most of this stuff is out for me anyway, just thinking of one person wearing all those things at once makes it hard to breathe.

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  49. If you want to get ahead, get a hat. As my hairline marches toward my collar, a hat has become as much a safety feature as a fashion accessory. I have a collection of dark fedoras, which are great for dressing up, or for a boozy casual afternoon in the sun. For the really hot days (or when rain is forecast) out comes our national dress - the trusty Akubra.

    Tenshi said "I prefer skirts over trousers", to which I ask, isn't that a little uncomfortable? ;)

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  50. I was just thinking recently that I would like to wear a hat, but the hats I have available are generally not lovely like the hats my mom had. I did wear a hat all day today. I went to the park and wore a large straw sunhat. I did so largely because I recently found and purchased a nice hat, and I needed to keep off the sun.

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  51. for an older lady in Seattle rain, a hat in winter months Oct thru July comes in very handy not to run around with wet hair like the younger crowd can manage. My usual hat has been said to make me look like the Queen(he did not say which) but it keeps my older shorter hair from being plastered to my head most of the year.

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  52. Wow! What a ton of comments. I love hats, have taken a few millinery classes and made real sculpted felt hats. But it's a real commitment to wear a hat. One must forget one's hairstyle and choose the hat to replace the hairstyle. One has to have a lifestyle that lends itself to wearing a hat all day, or have hair that won't be changed or still will look good after removing the hat. Thus, because I have hair that makes me look like a peeled egg after wearing a hat, I only wear them to keep my head warm in cold weather. Sigh

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  53. No, I don't like proper hats (of the firmly shaped variety) for myself at all!
    I've got a soft cap for shading my eyes in summer, a beanie for hiking in the coldest days of winter and a floppy black velvet medieval-styled doctoral bonnet that is compulsory for academic ritual occasions.
    My aversion dates back to the 1950s when a nasty scratchy straw thing was tied firmly under my tiny chin once a week before Sunday School.
    In the 60s, I endured the weekday horror during summer terms of a white panama school hat that made my face look like a pudding, and in winter a stiff and heavy felt beret.
    Come the 70s, I was liberated! I cast off (icky nylon navy) gloves, hats, cotton singlets, and quite a few inhibitions, to live happily hatless ever after.
    I suspect that only really intensive therapy would cure my hard hat hatred. But if others feel like putting things on their head for fun who am I to say them nay?

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  54. The Pacific Northwest and middle age have made a hat-wearer out of me. During the winter I don't like to have a wet head (A beret fixes that.) During the summer I don't like to have sun in my face (A straw hat fixes that for street wear, a canvas hat is the gardening hat of choice. ) This year, for the first time, I don't feel fully dressed when I go outside unless I'm wearing a hat. I look a little silly in hats, and I just don't care.

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  55. I don't wear hats often, but I used to make them frequently for costuming or for fun. My favorite hat I made was a soft green beret to which I added silk embroidery. Our favorite young neighbor girl saw it, tried it on and looked so pretty that I gave it to her. I've made a lot of Elizabethan and medieval hats. I still have some of the notions.

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  56. I live in Washington, DC these days and wear both a hat and gloves to work on Capitol Hill. It's a very formal place, but it's because of the direct sunlight that I pile on the sunscreen and never leave the house without a broad brimmed straw in summer and my black and grey felt in winter. Just wish I didn't have to roll or smush them into my equipment bag!

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  57. I use to collect vintage hats and hat boxes back in the 80's. I found some really good deals and in good condition as vintage wasn't trendy back then.

    I came from a family that wore hats and gloves almost everywhere, they ditched the gloves later on, but still wore the hats. My English relatives always wore a hat even when they were not fasionable.

    I love anything to do with headpieces and hair accessories, and I use to have a hat face.

    I gave all my hats away to a friend that pestered me until I relented. He knew that I was a clutter free person, and the hats were taking up room, and since he loved his clutter they found a new home with him.
    They are much better off.

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  58. I have hats and also corsets and garter belts. Searching for a bullet bra pattern if anyone can help!

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  59. I'm one of those whose head is too big for rtw. I wear knit berets in winter, but not decorative hats. Last winter was cold enough that I wore a hood (the 14th century type with a tube that hangs down in the back) over my regular hat and scarf some days!

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  60. I actually blame the public school system and it's push for complete conformity for the disappearance of hats and other aspects of fashion.

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  61. And yet in those far-off days, wearing a hat WAS a sign of conformity, when you think about it...

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  62. When people were expected to wear a hat, the hat was supposed to be an expression, which I'm not sure is ever linked to conformity, though of course there would always be those that wore hats in imitation to conform the way that there are always followers doing. More recently than that time period, there is a large coincidence from when the schools started preventing hats from being worn to when hats and other head pieces really went out of fashion. I also think that things that come to an end when children enter school become linked to childhood. Lot and lots of babies are still wearing sunhats. For a while I thought dresses were sort of doing the same thing and I notice that a lot more young girls wear dresses everyday than older girls and women. Having a girl's hair down used to be the same way. As soon as she entered school she was putting it up. Maybe I'm over generalizing the idea and hats are a completely different phenomena.

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  63. I'm up for the hat exhibit at the Bard.

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  64. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  65. I have a friend who looks great in hats and wears them all the time, they don't look so hot on me- I remember the gloves when I was little in the early 1960's for dress up occasions such as dinners out at the country club with my grandparents my sister and I wore white gloves-
    around 1966 it seems to me they stopped wearing them
    Sarah C

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