I’m not much for large hats. I’m a fan of vintage close hats and half hats that perch on my head, little decorations. I always thought my navy and white hat and the blue straw hat with sequins were large hats.
But when Mary, my pool friend, gave me a bag of hats, I found this black hat that was, for me, enormous. Wider than my shoulders. Of course, much bigger hats exist, but this hat is the biggest I have ever worn.
When I put it on, my husband joked, “Will I be able to sit next to you in church?”
“It’s my social distancing hat,” I replied. “No one can get within six feet of me.”
I bumped the brim into the closet door, the car roof, my husband. I wondered why I couldn’t see to put on my lipstick and realized the big brim was shading me. At church I sat on the far aisle seat so I wouldn’t block anyone’s view of the pulpit.
However, an enormous hat has a certain glamor, as more than one church member said, “You look like a movie star!”
Maybe that’s not a coincidence. This hat is from Fred Hayman Beverly Hills. In the 1960s, Hayman managed the Beverly Hilton hotel. In 1961, he and his partners (whom he soon bought out) started a clothing store called Giorgio of Beverly Hills near the Beverly Hilton, on Rodeo Drive. According to Wikipedia, at that time Rodeo Drive was “a very ordinary street.” He was a pioneer long before the luxury brands moved in, to the point where his LA Times obituary called him the “godfather of Rodeo Drive.” Wikipedia says the store “had a reading room, pool table and oak bar, so that men could amuse themselves while the women shopped.” Truly a visionary!
When he sold the Giorgio of Beverly Hills brand to Avon in 1987, the store became Fred Hayman Beverly Hills and remained open through 1998.
I can’t date this hat within those twelve years, but to me it has a distinctly late 80s vibe, a la Joan Collins in Dynasty.
When I first tried out the hat, I felt sure that such a large hat would end up in my “donate” box (which I have yet to donate and from which keep pulling hats out to wear!). But it’s hard to resist the glamor of a movie star hat, which is probably what Fred Hayman was banking on all along.
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.