Ladies in Hats

Hats, hats, and more hats! Well-dressed women always wore hats and gloves. It was the proper attire for any occasion. From going grocery shopping to going out on the town, hats were in fashion. Nobody seems to wear hats these days unless it is a baseball cap or a hat to block the sun.

I love hats. I like the statement that they make. I actually look good in most hats. Too bad I can never find any that fit me because my head is too small. Even baseball caps don’t fit. I know what you’re going to say, “you can adjust the band.” Wrong! Sure, I can adjust the band so it won’t fly off my head; but then I end up with more hat then head. The result is looking like a jiffy pop! Not very attractive.

Take Hollywood, for instance. Think of all the big movie stars. Stars like Joan Crawford, Bette Davis, Katherine Hepburn and Audrey Hepburn. They were often seen in hats on-screen and off. In addition, who can forget what Jackie Kennedy did for the “pill box” hat? The women of the royal family in England are obliged to wear hats to certain events. American women wear hats to the Kentucky Derby. Otherwise, you rarely see hats.

Of course to go with the hats, one had to wear gloves. Gloves of various lengths were quite popular. Today women wear gloves, but not as a fashion statement, it’s to keep warm. There are still several formal affairs where long white gloves are requisite. Like the debutante ball. I wore long white gloves in 1969 when I graduated from Holy Angels Academy. It was an old tradition and mandatory. I remember them being bothersome; however, they looked rather cool.

I can remember ladies hat shops, they were called millinery stores. Department stores had large areas for hats. My mother used to make hats, I still have one of hers, and it’s called a birdcage. There were many different types of hats, and just as many adornments for them. Some were with veils, others with feathers, ribbons and fake flowers. Even imitation fruit was used, like cherries and grapes (Carmen Miranda wore bananas on her head).

In many churches, hats were compulsory. You would see all kinds of hats on Sunday. Ladies wore them proudly. They weren’t just wearing a hat they were wearing an attitude, putting on airs, making a statement that said “look at me I’m special I’m wearing a hat.”

You can also hide in a hat. If you have to run a quick errand and don’t feel like getting made up and doing your hair, you can wear a hat and dark glasses and hope you don’t run into anyone. Hats are perfect for bad hair days, or if you’re spying on someone, and you don’t want to be recognized. Borsalino hats are from Italy and are sold in a tube. With so many categories of hats, the list is endless, I could go on forever, but I won’t.

Think of the role hats played in films. What would the final scene of Casablanca be like if Ingrid Bergman was not wearing a hat? Humphrey Bogart too, for that matter. Hats added an extra dimension to the character; they played a part in the drama. Women could look mysterious, playful, seductive, or flirtatious. Remember when Scarlet O’Hara put her hat on backwards to flirt with Rhett Butler? Without the hat, there would be no scene. Hats in cinema have set the trends for women. A woman could look like her favorite movie star if only she had the same hat.

I cannot imagine hats coming back in style like they once were. Today a woman’s hair is her crowning glory. If you are not blessed with great hair, then you’re out of luck. Because ladies don’t were hats anymore.