Saturday, 6 June 2009

I have never owned a baseball cap, but I have read Jenny Joseph

Recently on Twitter there has been much talk of hats and whether they are life enhancing or a sheer embarrassment. I tend to the former school of thought, being of an extravagant nature and decided to post on hats I have known.
The first hat I remember was a dark green beret with a white silky tassel on top, I loved the tassel with a passion (the inner burlesque already making itself known) as it made playing horses much easier, providing a tail for frisking.
Then at boarding school we wore a boater, which we knew as a "board". Worn at a clearly prescribed angle there would be prefects outside church knocking it to the horizontal, in case any of us were either playing angels with it tipped back like a halo or with it tiptilted rakishly over one eye. At the end of our seven years servitude I laid mine down on the High Street and waited for a vehicle to crush it to oblivion. It was a long wait, this was rural Staffordshire.
When I got into the senior school I became a member of the school choir so also got to wear this, not actually a hat, but certainly a head covering. The smell of ironed linen can still make me want to burst into song.

Having left school I went to art college and afterwards on to uni, where I went through a range of eccentric home made numbers usually involving feathers, ribbons, veiling and massive embarrassment for the then boyfriend. Although none of these have survived the march of time they are remembered with great affection. They tended to look very similar to this. They were worn in public. I suspect I was laughed at but I was an art student, we have a tradition to maintain
From Uni to work, there had to be a radical rethink, I wanted to be a grown up, so not only did I get a camel coat but sensible hats, fedora, panama and a rather neat little number with a cockade of cocks feathers. What I hadn't taken in to account was that no one wore hats, so even sensible ones stood out. I was working on a huge engineering site in a predominantly male environment and I became known as "Hats" by the guys on the shop floor, who would make me alternative headgear with bubble wrap and card. Yes, I did wear them, it would have been bad manners not to and I had my reputation for "quirkiness" to live up to. (I was even wearing one when I met my husband, which should have warned him).

Through the 80's with both weddings and the New Romantics there were splendid opportunities to go for the mushroom look. I know stylists say that if you are short you should not wear big hats, but I decided I knew better. Looking back I realise I didn't.

Strangely, when I got married I lost my nerve and rather than go for a veiled Victorian top hat (probably with sequins) which was my original fantasy I had a tiny little circlet of flowers from John Lewis, go figure. (I have just removed the wedding photograph from its frame to scan on, so the strange ectoplasmic effect is actually where it has faded, rather than a visit from Miss Haversham. )

As time passed I acquired a veiled tricorn that I wore in Venice, with some aplomb, at the Carnevale and with less success in Harrogate, the strange take on a medieval Turkish helmet made in velvet that I bought in Salzburg - look it has a tassel..... the Venetian Gondolieri hat my father bought me, a huge fur thing that was meant to make me feel like Anna Karenina but actually just looked as if an absent minded cat had gone to sleep on my head, a stetson from Texas - yeehaw, an Aussie drovers hat, and now, the hat to end all hats.
The Russian Officers hat which I will wear as I plan world domination.

Once I have succeeded in my evil plans I think I will go for this.


Stevey said...

I'm very fond of the black feathery veiled number; it's a stunner! I need for my friends to start getting married so that I have an excuse to buy the beautiful hats I'm always trying on...

justme said...

I LOVE hats, but, alas, they do not suit me at all. Lovely post. x

Red Shoes said...

waited for a vehicle to crush it to oblivion. It was a long wait

Haha! Hilarious. I can imagine it so well.

I too, am a huge fan of hats. I have a stupidly small skull, so it is more challenging for me to find ones that fit. I have done bowlers and fedoras (in my early 20's), vintage pill hats and cloches in my late twenties, and hm.. in my early 30s? I had mostly little velvet things that I don't know the name of, I suppose. Things that I would add scarves and veils to. Lately, I've been coveting a massive, deep rimmed black sunhat as befits glamorous French women who are sunning in huge dark glasses... though where on earth would I wear it?

I adore the photo accompaniment to your post. You obviously wear them very well. And my god! Don't you look angelic in your wedding photo?? Beautiful.

Titian red said...

Stevey: Thank you, you could always go for olive wreath to fit with degree subject, bit less flamboyant maybe but still entertaining ? Or set yourself up as matchmaker ?
Justme: Thank you, lovely to see you back x
Red Shoes: I have opposite problem. Very large head so often have to get mens hats which does limit frills and furbelows. As for large glamourous black hats, just channel inner Chanel, sling on pearls and sunnies and off you go.
Hope you are on the mend, good to see you back blogging x

Anonymous said...

I've discovered that a bad hair day is usually a good hat day.

Smashing post,


(Very) Lost in France said...

You should see the 'hat' I had to wear when I worked for Gulf Air in the 80s. Like a mutant fez with a sheer veil that you tucked into your epaulettes. Highly flammable too! Great post. VLiF

Clare said...

You look gorgeous in your hats! And can i borrow your hair for a while. Another lovely post TR.

Eva Maria Chapman said...

Great post! I adore hats and feel I have been born into the wrong time. I would like to have been a milliner. But now I'm old I'm just wearing hats anyway. I have at least 100 hats and fascinators. I love veils (very soft on wrinkles) and sexy- I seem to get a lot of attention when I wear them. Hats really get you noticed even when old.

exromana said...

such a beautiful bride. beautiful eyes. enjoyed all the hat modeling. xo

katyboo1 said...

I used to be a huge fan of hats. Even had a hat stand to put them on. Favourite was a bowler a la clockwork orange. I have always wanted a top hat and now yearn for those teeny, weeny hat things that just perch. When I am rich I will invite Philip Treacey to make you a crown.

Miss Whistle said...

The Russian officer's hat is fabulous.


Miss W x

Titian red said...

Shamefully late reply to your kind comments - I'm rubbish at "Thank you" letters too. My apologies.
Not Waving. So much of life is like that, although I tend not to have "bad hair" days, not because I have good ones but it is not a quantifiable state with my mane !
Lost. That I would love to see, did you ever have to pull it across your face in the manner of Scheherazade or was it a "feature" ?
Clare - you say that ? The queen of sleek shininess, I am truly flattered.
EMC Adore veils, so mysterious. Now the children have left home, I can be more flamboyant again without damaging their delicate psyche. Quite fancy one a la "Wicked Lady"
ExRomana. Thank you, it was a good day.
KatyBoo1 I too have a bowler but channel Sally Bowles when I wear it (or Oddjob perhaps) and adore those hats that are like wearing a French Fancy on your head. As for the Crown, bring it on xx
Miss Whistle, and so good for discipline !