Many years ago, when no woman left her house without a hat and gloves and purse, when head coverings for women were mandatory in some churches, when women still wore stockings, when men knew when to wear a necktie and polished their shoes, dressing up was fun. Now, everyone acts like it’s elitist or sexist or pretentious. Except on Easter Sunday.
You can count on seeing hats on women and girls and even a few men in church on Easter Sunday. People you don’t see the rest of the year will show up looking as if they stepped out of a Doris Day movie.
If you dressed up in an elegant hat to go shopping at the mall, your fellow shoppers would look around for the hidden
camera. If you wore a cocktail hat to a restaurant, people would snicker over their martinis. If you wore a hat to a wedding, you’d surely lose it when dancing to “Uptown Funk.” (Unless you’re Bruno Mars, whose fedora appears to be anchored to that bandana beneath it, but I don’t think I’d wear a bandana to a wedding.)
Hats are sexy. You can flirt demurely from beneath a brim or boldly behind a veil or avert your eyes entirely. A well-
placed flower or feather screams romance, although I once bought a straw hat with the palest pink flowers and a pale pink and sage checked ribbon. The Veterinarian said that all I needed was a price tag dangling from the front, and I could be Minnie Pearl’s clone.
Some people complain that they don’t look good in hats, but I think they just aren’t used to wearing them. You need to go to a store with lots of different hats and try on every
single one of them to figure out which hat looks good on you. I, for one, look spectacular in a large-brimmed hat but ridiculous in a baseball cap. I just don’t have the right shaped head. The last time I wore a baseball cap, to an actual baseball game, I stuffed the interior to give it some shape. I’m much happier in one of my sturdy straw hats, which I always wear to the beach for sun protection and to pretend that no one can see me in my swim suit.
Google hats and find out how to wear them. Don’t assume that they’re only perched on the back of your head. And make sure your hair is styled to go with the hat. The smaller the hat, the smaller the hairstyle. A pony tail is great with a baseball cap. A chignon (low bun) or French twist works with a fascinator. Flowing hair works with a broad-brimmed hat.
I won’t be wearing a hat this Easter. When you sing in a church choir and are covered by cassock (black robe) and cotta (the white thing), a hat
looks pretty stupid. I guess I could wear it into church at 7:45 when we rehearse, but, by 8:30, I’ll be wearing my choir dress until 1pm, which defeats the purpose. No one will see it, anyway. After singing Handel’s Hallelujah Chorus at two services (9 and 11, historic St. James Episcopal Church, Monkton, if you’re in the area), I won’t much feel like showing off. And an Easter bonnet needs an Easter dress (which no one will see under the choir robe) and high heels (which you can’t stand in for four hours of singing).
I won’t be wearing my beautiful black straw with a black straw bow, attempting to channel my inner-Audrey Hepburn. (Of course, Audrey was tall and elegant, and I am short and a pretender.) I won’t be wearing the beautiful black velour felt that I got in the mid-60s, which remains wearable. I won’t be wearing either of My Mother’s vintage 1950s hats, one black velvet with a sassy feather and veil and the other brown felted wool with a brown veil. (It would take a lot of nerve, even for me, to wear either of them out in public, much less to church.) Nor the navy cloche nor an azure and lime green straw nor an ivory straw with a fine cloud of dotted tulle circling the crown. Geez, I wish I had somewhere to wear any of them. sigh
Come on, let’s bring back hats! In the cause of sun protection. In the cause of beauty. In the cause of romance. In the cause of civilization. Hats. They’re not just for Easter any more.