Before Christmas, I met my friend Karen for lunch. Karen runs an Etsy store, Lion and Lamb Vintage, so she's always on the lookout for cool vintage items. She showed up with a shopping bag of gifts for me, including a vase I had admired in her store and a vintage dress (sadly, not my current size, but if I lose some weight...). She also included a couple of hats: a vintage one that she had described as "unusual" (more about that one later) and this black hat with a pink flower bow.
"I used to wear it every year on Christmas Eve," she said.
"Why don't you keep it and wear it this Christmas?" I suggested. Hats are fun. I think everyone should get the pleasure of wearing them more often than they do, so I try to encourage hat wearing.
But Karen was firm. "I want you to have it."
To be honest, this hat is not in my usual style. There's something romantic and dreamy about that pink flower, something Stevie Nicks-ish. I have never seen myself as especially girly, despite my interest in clothes and hats. Though I was not exactly a tomboy growing up, my two older sisters were so much older than I was that they were wearing makeup and miniskirts while I was still dressing Barbies. My three brothers were closer to me in age, so I was more likely to wrestle with them than try on lipstick with my sisters. I still have a bit of a reflexive feeling that fashions that are too lacy, frilly, or flowery are not for me.
Also, having seen my wardrobe in these blog pictures, you can imagine I was scratching my head about what to wear to match the bow's muted, tasteful sage green and rose. Muted and tasteful does not describe most things in my closet!
However, recently I nabbed this multicolored embroidered sweater/coat. And I remembered a fashion lesson I learned long ago--instead of being hard to match, multicolored clothing matches everything. Sure enough, that sage green and dusty rose both appeared in this coat. And together...well, you know when an outfit feels good? That's how I felt walking around a beach town in this coat and hat. Like I'd nailed it. Even the flower felt right--a small bit of girlishness I could claim for my own.
Though I know the hat is meant to be worn with the decoration in the back, I couldn't resist turning it around. I confess I like to see a hat's frou frou when I look in a mirror. So here's a closeup of the hat with the bow in front.
In the photo at the top of the blog, I'm snapping pictures of surfers. Here's one of the shots I took, to close out a dreamy day at the beach:
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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.