The Parkhurst Hats, Part 1
Since some of my hats are going to be hard to find an outfit (or an occasion) for, after the first hat I'm tackling some of the easiest: my wool hats.
Also, I need to wear them before winter is over.
I have four wool hats that I think are from the same maker, Parkhurst. I can't be sure, because the first one I bought is reversible, and so has no tag on it. I’ve had it so long, its origin is lost in the mists of time, but I think I might have bought it on a trip to Jack London Square, in Oakland. (Among the many things to like about Oakland is that they have a waterfront square named after a writer!) This hat is also one of my most well-traveled. It’s been to the Argentinian Andes, among other places.
I’ve owned a few pieces of reversible clothing over the years, and I always go through the same process. Seeing the item, I say: “How wonderful! It will be so practical--two in one!” Yet, when it comes to wearing it, I like one side so much better that I never wear the reverse. Such is the case with this hat—I only remember wearing the more cloche-shaped reverse side once. In fact, even when I took pictures with the reverse side, I didn't like it, so I'm not posting a picture.
Practicality can never make me like something better. I'll settle for it, but the merely practical doesn't catch my imagination. For example, my first car was a four-door sedan. Easy to drive people around in. Plenty of trunk space (I had such a small apartment I habitually stored my champagne glasses in the car's trunk). I was happy with it, but it never caught my imagination. When I got a Miata, though, I fell in love. Not at all practical, but so fun.
This gray wool hat with the velvet band I bought on vacation in Mendocino. I found this hat in the local hat store, hemmed and hawed because it was on the expensive side for me at the time, but eventually bought it. It was worth it, because it goes with everything—even a wild coat! It's not reversible, it's versatile.
Versatile is not the same as practical. Few of my hats are practical (even these wool ones, since I don't live in a cold climate). They are mostly for fun. I can wear this gray hat, for fun, under many circumstances. Forget being practical. Life is short. Enjoy the hat.
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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.