An Abundance of Hats

DSC04925Sometimes it’s fun to let your hair down … and put on a hat. The ladies of our church did that last Saturday when they gathered for an annual Women’s Breakfast. Their ‘hat’ theme was evident everywhere.

DSC04914There was nothing terribly significant about the hats — straw, felt, wool, flowered or be-ribboned — they ranged from simple sunhats to Sunday fedoras.

If you arrived without one and felt self-consciously bare-headed, there were extras available.

Every place setting was adorned with a miniature hat to take home, each backed by a magnet for displaying on our fridges as a delightful reminder of our special morning together.

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A devotional time peeked at scripture’s reference to wearing or not wearing hats in church, and the cultural aspect of showing modesty and respect in our use of them.

(Always a difficult-to-interpret, controversial passage: “But every woman who prays or prophesies with her head uncovered dishonors her head—it is the same as having her head shaved. For if a woman does not cover her head, she might as well have her hair cut off; but if it is a disgrace for a woman to have her hair cut off or her head shaved, then she should cover her head. A man ought not to cover his head, since he is the image and glory of God; but woman is the glory of man.”) [1 Corinthians 11:5-7]

DSC04974‘The History of Hats’ was explored, revealing interesting tidbits. I did a little extra research to unearth the following:

  • primitive people pulled skins over their heads as protection from the weather;
  • early Egyptians, Romans and Greeks wore headpieces as a indication of rank;
  • in the late 14th and 15th centuries hats began to be worn as fashion statements;
  • milliners appeared in the 16th and 17th centuries, and
  • by the mid-1800s, millinery was well established on a level similar to haute couture;
  • by 1960 the popularity of hats was declining.

The latter point probably explains why, despite being a pastor’s wife, I don’t own many hats. My daughter-in-law accompanied me to the breakfast, and I told her I still owned two — one is my wedding ‘hat’, a frothy band of white organza with a wispy veil, but I couldn’t remember the other.

Sunday evening, out of curiosity, I went hunting … and discovered I had lied. I own not two but three hats, plus my hubby and I have a collection of western hats I’d completely forgotten. I no longer have the one hat I best remember. It was turquoise with a wide-brim, and exactly matched a favourite maternity dress! Even on my ‘I-feel-so-fat’ days, that outfit always boosted my spirits.

Saturday’s hat theme was totally frivolous but it provided ‘a blast from the past’. Except for the straw sunhat I occasionally wear when gardening, and the hood of my jacket that I sometimes pull up to protect my hair from the rain during a dash to the car, I haven’t worn a hat for probably forty years. Now that I’ve located them, perhaps I shall startle our parishioners one Sunday by wearing one to church.

One thing’s for certain: I’m going to find a reason for my protagonist to wear a hat in my current manuscript. Just because I don’t write historical fiction, doesn’t mean her wardrobe can’t have some significance. (Although at the moment I haven’t a clue what it will be!)

Do you wear hats? Do your characters? Why? (Or why not?)

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4 thoughts on “An Abundance of Hats

  1. Jenn Hubbard says:

    When I’m hiking in sunny areas, I wear a hat for sun protection. It’s really a cap, though: like a baseball cap, with a long bill.

    • Carol says:

      Caps seem to be very popular with both sexes. I used to think baseball caps were all pretty much the same until I realized there are some I like on my hubby and some I don’t, due to the shape of the bills.

  2. I do love hats, but I have an unusually large head for a woman and hats seldom fit proper. The diameters from front to back are what keep me out of the loop. I do have two adjustable straw hats in Bucerias. I see a hat and think of my mother and grandmother at Sunday service. White gloves, hat, and scarf. I see them in my memories and can’t help but smile.

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