The first time I wore this hat was to a “Crazy Socks and Hats” New Year’s Eve party. I was in my 20s. I had bought this hat at a department store, but never worn it (as has been the case with so many of my hats through the years). I figured it was the closest thing I had to a crazy hat.
I’m not sure why I disregarded the vintage hats I had at that time, such as The Pink Hat with Roses. They probably would have made more of a splash than this one. Maybe I just wanted an occasion to wear this hat.
The people giving the party were friends of my older brother. He lived in the same town as I did, and we used to hang out in bars in downtown Palo Alto together. Sometimes other friends came, but sometimes it was just him and me. He knew bartenders and had made friends with some regulars. In one pub, when a great song came on the jukebox, the group of us would sing along. To this day, Squeeze’s “Tempted” reminds me of the Rose and Crown. I would never have had to courage as a young woman to go to those bars and pubs alone, but with my older brother in the bar I felt safe.
So the first time I wore this hat, I was dancing with a bunch of my brother’s friends on New Year’s Eve, shoeless, like everyone else, so I could show off my silver-threaded socks.
I’ve worn a few other hats on New Year’s Eve through the years, most recently The Lilac Parkhurst Hat at a scarily huge bonfire in the city park a few years ago.
After debuting as New Year’s Hat, this hat over the years has become my Christmas Eve hat. The red plaid band and bow make a subtle Christmas statement, and since it’s wool, it’s a good winter hat. This year I wore it on a rainy Sunday before Christmas. But maybe I’ll wear it again on New Year’s Eve, for auld lang syne.
Wishing all of you a happy 2020!
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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.