The Red Felt and Black Velvet Hat
“Look at you, lady!”
“Love the hat!”
The compliments started when I walked in the door at church. I was taken by surprise because everyone in church is used to seeming me in hats. In fact, if I don’t wear a hat, people claim they can’t recognize me. I usually get some positive feedback, but this reaction was more than normal. Even when we stopped by the Italian grocery store after church, a guy in the parking lot complimented me.
The hat’s size and color attracted the extra attention (well, that and maybe my coordinated red blouse, black pencil skirt, red heels, and black jewelry). All hats say, “Hey, look at me!” to some degree, but this hat shouts it. In general, I prefer more subtle (smaller) hats, but wearing a daring one is fun too.
This hat, like the red cartwheel hat, came in the Hefty bag of hats a friend from the pool passed on. It caught my eye immediately. I enjoyed it because it seemed an excellent example of 80s hat style, with its large brim and bold contrast in color and materials. However, my husband didn’t have the same appreciation. “It looks like a tire,” he said. (He has compared other hats to spaghetti and Jiffy Pop, as well as a bird's nest with bows on it.) He hasn't been wrong.
When I got the hat, it had what I at first glance thought was a long hatpin stuck in it.
However, when I went to remove it, I found it was glued in. It must have been a support for some long-gone decoration, possibly a large black feather (which would have been very in keeping with the era). Or perhaps something even more unusual. Here’s a picture of a hat from the same era by the same maker (Adolfo II) with an array of coins as decorations. If you remember the 80s (“Greed is good”) a money trimming is also era-appropriate.
In any case, once I removed the metal stick, I pinned on a sparkly flower broach. Not era-specific, but much more me!
A word about the earrings. These black earrings used to be my mother’s. She gave them to me about a decade ago, including a note saying that her parents bought them for her many years previously and that she had enjoyed wearing them very much. She said they were called Apache tears, which I discovered is a kind of obsidian (read the sad legend behind the name on Wikipedia ).
According to the website Crystal Stones, the stone “is best known for its comforting and supportive energies during times of grief and mourning.” My mother passed recently. I wore these earrings in her honor, but if you believe in the properties of stones, perhaps they brought me comfort as well. I know that rereading the note from her, seeing her handwriting, and hearing her voice in her written words certainly did.
Ann Hillesland writes fiction and nonfiction and collects hats. In this blog she vows to wear (not just model, but wear out of the house) every one of her hats, blogging about their histories and their meanings for her.