My friend Karen has an Etsy store where she sells vintage items, so she's always going to thrift stores and estate sales. Sometime before Christmas she let me know that she had a hat for me, which she described as "unusual." I felt a mix of anticipation and worry. I've seen some truly odd hats over the years, but I told myself Karen wouldn't get me anything horrible.
When I met her around Christmastime, she gave me two hats: the Dreamy, Romantic Hat from her personal collection and this mod bubble hat. Unusual is a good word for it. When I started this project, I might have shrunk from wearing it. But my main thought when I tried it on was "What a wonderful, unique sixties hat!" I was undeterred by my husband saying it looked like I was wearing spaghetti on my head.
Bubble hats are similar to pillboxes, but with a rounder shape. Here's Doris Day wearing a bubble hat in Lover Come Back, her 1961 movie with Rock Hudson:
Seeing this picture, my husband said she looked like she had Jiffy Pop on her head. (BTW, I got this image from a great post about her movie hats in the blog Between Naps on the Porch. This hat is not the wildest!).
You can see this bubble hat's shape is cousin to other large sixties pillboxes, such as My Grandmother's Navy Pillbox. All these hats were designed to perch on the head, so as not to crush the lovely bouffant hairdo.
Here's a closer look at the hat:
This hat has something both mod and boho about it, as if it's looking forward to the coming hippie years. Someone at church asked me if it was macrame, but it's just woven, stiffened (or artificial) jute (?) with an orange ribbon accent and a brown border so close to my hair color that it's hard to see in these pictures.
I own hardly any orange clothing, yet I managed to find a tunic that I felt fit this hat's mod sensibility. Here's an outfit shot, which also gives you a different view of the hat's shape:
Seeing the picture of Doris Day, maybe I shouldn't have worn the hat so far back. I think it was lower when I initially put it on, but the hat was so tall I kept knocking it askew as I got in and out of the car. Cars must have had more headroom when ladies wore hats!
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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.