Cap, turban, derby, lid, chapeau. Call it what you like, but take a cue from some of the ladies of the past (we’ll talk about the men another time), and grab a classic one. Hats, let me correct that, good hats are so underused today. A hat can say “look at me” and be feminine, it can disguise a bad hair day in a stylish way, and it can show your fashion sense and give your head or face protection from the elements, pretty and practical.
Of course, not all hats are practical. Take Doris Day for instance. She wore some of the most ridiculous hats in her movies. In real life they would have induced laughter but on her they just worked. I can’t imagine any of her hats had any benefit other than making a statement. The furry green one probably kept her head warm. I wouldn’t wear any of these, because I couldn’t be lucky enough to pull them off, but they sure are fun.
Some of my favorite hats were worn by the character Chuck in the TV series, Pushing Daisies. (Her full wardrobe is another post altogether!) She (the show’s costume design) had the vintage vibe down to a science, and a hat for each era. Whether she was channeling the 1930s with a cloche or the 1960s with a pill box, the hats topped off an already perfect outfit. I would definitely wear all of these.
Hats were once a fashion staple for women. It was part of the outfit, and never just an after thought. A time when things matched. I love those outfits, hat and handbag matched, and most likely shoes too. Matching is such a dirty word now. Turn on any style show on TV and you’ll see it is the condemned of the fashion world. Coordinate is all you’re allowed to do. Psh.
Did you see Audrey Hepburn in her movies? How about Grace Kelly? Ingrid Bergman? Their hats were an extension of their outfits, it brought a sophistication and class that was
unmatched. Can you even imagine Grace Kelly in a trucker hat? What if Audrey Hepburn would have worn a cadet hat standing outside the window at Tiffany’s? Ingrid Bergman in a beach cowboy hat talking with Humphrey Bogart in the final scene of Casablanca? I think not. Though their grace and their beauty wasn’t just because of the clothes they wore (and they wore some good ones), these women knew style, elegance, and dignity, and how to put it all together in a stunning ensemble. They looked like they liked themselves, and had respect for themselves.
There are some great options for hats beyond classic movies. Fedoras and cloches have been making a comeback (my black cloche is my top-notch tam!), but there’s nothing quite like an authentic vintage topper. This light green hat had me swooning. I wanted to take it home with me. It looked at me with a pleading that was difficult to ignore. Not only did lack of funds make it easier, but I figured people already look at me strangely, wearing this hat would just give them extra incentive to eye me as a kook. (I seriously want it though.)
I found several other great hats in my most recent outing to antique stores. I always wonder about the history of the pieces I find. Who wore these? Did they go with a certain outfit? Did they have a favorite handbag that matched? Was it a special hat for a special occasion? Or was it an everyday-go-to-the-grocery-store hat?
I could keep writing on this subject (it will probably end up having a part 2), but I suppose my main point is that these hats, beyond being fun or pretty, were another way, another detail of taking pride in your appearance. Offering up a thoughtful presentation of yourself as a person to the world each day. Just a few of the things I feel we lack today.