The joy of the lost art of wearing hats

I am invited to two weddings within the next few months.  I adore attending weddings.  I’m not so sure about being in weddings since the great “Bride Meltdown of  1992” where I almost lost an eye and my first born.  Let’s just say I haven’t hinted to be a bridesmaid or maid of honor since.

Still, I always admire the United Kingdom tradition of wearing hats to weddings.  In the US we wear hats to the Kentucky Derby.  I am still waiting for my Kentucky grandstand VIP invitation, so I am hoping these weddings will be an excuse for me to sport a chapeau.


Relatives of mine, three sisters wearing hats in Washington DC, when you weren’t fully dressed without a hat.

I was told before President Kennedy men always wore a hat outside.  Women also were big hat wearers.  I have difficulty enough finding matching gloves and mittens in the winter.  I have been known to wear one glove and one mitten in the early morning “I don’t care anymore we are so late” rush to drive the kids to school.  The thought of finding a matching hat for my outfit of the day gives me fashion nightmares.


My daughter Evelyn sporting a vintage hat. She collected vintage hats when quite young, and they make an interesting collection on top of cabinets in the living room now.

But for a special occasion I love a hat.  I welcomed when my daughter graduated from MIT with her PhD (I get to throw that out for the rest of my life, so just get used to reading it) and it was outside.  I wore a hat.  Not just because of the chance of sunburn, but to protect the fading of my highlighted hair.  My husband points out that if I didn’t wear a hat the sun would naturally highlight my hair. I point out, my real hair color of gray, does not highlight.  If he wants me to go longer between hair coloring visits, he’ll not object to a protective hat or two or three.

The weddings are indoor events, but I’m wearing a hat.  One is more casual, so my selection of summer head gear with the addition of a few feathers will do well.  The other wedding is more retro, and I happened to find the perfect hat at the Smithsonian Institution.  No, I did not steal it off an exhibit.

Smithsonian hat.

Smithsonian hat.

The Smithsonian has long been known as a leader in expensive gift shops in their museums.  A wonderful summer hat, inspired by some period of time vaguely covered by the museum so they can justify selling it, was not inexpensive.  Still can you really put a price on history?

I was ready for the rigors of transporting the hat home via the metro subway and then a long car ride as I’m an experience hat transporter.  My husband has never let me forget that when visiting Scotland with our then 2 year old (she was carted around in a backpack carrier) I bought ON THE FIRST DAY at Laura Ashley a hat I still own.  We stayed for 2 weeks, travelling all around Scotland and that “damned hat” (as it came to be known) somehow made it safely back to the US despite just being in a plastic bag.  “Don’t crush my hat!” became the rallying cry of the trip.  It became a game to see if somehow it would make it to the US.  Close calls galore but both my girls and myself have worn that hat over the years.

Less formal fun wedding hat

Less formal fun wedding hat

The Smithsonian hat is not as sturdy as the Laura Ashley one.  It is also proudly proclaimed to be “Made in the USA”.  Good, because it would never survive the trip our UK hat had to make.  Now the problem of transporting the hat via a plane to the wedding has arisen.  I’m looking at the Salvation Army and other shops for a used hat box.

My husband, when he inquired why I was so worried about “just  a hat” was then told the price of the hat.  He since then has assisted me in my search and said “That expensive hat had better be willed to someone,  It’s going to last a long time!”

So, if anyone would like to invite me to a wedding, I’ll be glad to attend and bring a gift.  I just have to be allowed to wear a hat.

Categories: Family, hats

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

7 replies

  1. Your entire family is stylish!

  2. Ours is mostly outdoors. Outside or in, hats, yes!

  3. I look terrible in hats, which makes me sad.

  4. The exception is a wonderful hat Kitty knitted for me, and which I’ve worn now for 2 winters.

  5. I love hats and have a couple of big floppy sunhats for wearing in the summer sitting in the garden


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