Thursday, October 9, 2008

The First Hat Post

cats and hats

I haven't been dead. Just busy making good ness for you and musing about hats. Hats used to be such an important part of people's wardrobes. So important that numerous phrases make references to hats. "Hats off to ya." "That's old hat." "I'll eat my hat." "He just talks through his hat." "I'll put on my thinking cap." etc. In the early 1900s, hats were universal; the only people who didn't wear hats were beggears. However when President Kennedy opted not to wear hats, the rest of the nation soon followed.

Here's an article on the importance of hats in the film the Duchess and some further reading on the importance of hats in a wider sense from Fashion Era.com. Now the closest we get to a hat trends are of the ridiculus sort, like the trucker hats made popular by Ashton Kutcher. Wear a lovely cocktail hat and get in one man's first fashion impression, "Isn't that what they wear to funerals?" From the girls though I typically get a lot of hat love. Many girls say they love pretty chapaeus but wouldn't dare wear one. So, what is with the decline of hats? Why are they now almost a freakish component?

Hats were popular up until about the 1960s. During the 1960s, hair rose to new heights. The new hair styles made hat wearing difficult and undesirable. Imagine Elvis covering up that pompadour with a hat. It would completely defeat the point of the 'do. President Kennedy was the first president to forego a hat at his inaugaration. hat wearing by men declined and soon women's hat wear followed. I find it especially interesting that apparently Kennedy's inaugragation made his wife a hat wearer. Most musings on the decline of the hat point to Kennedy, as in this article. I find that article particularly interesting since it makes a connection between social manners and hats. While the author's connection is merely a touch, it does seem that our idea of manners have a direct connection to hat wearing. Perhaps hats were the expression of those manners, or perhaps those manners were dictated by the hat. But that's a detour from our present subject.

Considering hats have been popular for hundreds of years, there must have been something more than Kennedy refusing to wear hats that pushed them out of regular rotation. Barton Castor believes that sunglasses replaced hats and shoved them to a back corner.

The sunglasses make sense considering celebrities are more known for the sunglasses than their hats. People are also more likely to don an interesting pair of shades than a lovely chapaeu. Sunglasses also do share some of the functions that made hats popular, keeping the sun out of the eyes and making people look cool and mysterious. Those same girls who pine to wear hats would not think twice before donning a glam pair of sunglasses. Sunglasses are also more peopular than hats in modern times.

Thus as with most things, it was a combination of things that turned hats into fashion's shy, nerdy cousin. The new hairstyles, lifestyles, and sunglasses in addition to the decline of hat wearing by iconic figures diminished the social fashion importance and left us with mostly functional wear only.

Double Dutch

If you've read my blog our followed a few of my outfit pictures, you should realize that I love hats. They're perfect to finish off an outfit and make it look complete, particularly when your hair is as unruly as mine. Here's a scan from my old Better Homes and Garden's sewing book illustrating the power of hats to balance a silhouette, which I often use mine to do. There is another reason I may favor hats though. Since I wear glasses and have no contacts, sunglasses are a tricky issue for me. I'd have to get some specially made and commit to that pair; no $7 sunglasses for me. Recently, I've been attached to my hat since I noticed considerable indications of sun damage popping up on my neck and face in a relatively short period of time. Thus I've taken to my hat, and as autumn rears it's head, there's quite a bit of wind around here. So, I purchased myself a hatpin from yakarina.

hat pin

In one of those moments that make you really feel like a genius though, I realised I have no idea how to use it properly. I get the jist of it, but just how to set the pin through hat and hair without poking the pin through my head and have the feathers properly displayed on the hat eludes me. Research into the subject revealed that hatpins were popular with the suffragettes after a courtroom incident where suffragettes were required to remove their hats since the hatpins could be used as weapons. This was humiliating to the women, since although men were required by social manners to remove their hats indoors, it was optional for women to remove their headwear. I imagine in addition to the more elaborate manner of women's hats, it had something to do with the women's hair which was surely a bit mussed by their toppers.

Still trying to figure this hatpin out and expect the second hat post full of even more hatty goodness when I do,

Ivy Frozen

4 comments:

Nadine said...

Love your hat! It looks so cute with the little ribbon attached to it!

Paisley Girl said...

I do wish that some older fashion staples were still so, like hats and hat pins. Such a classic look. Do be careful with hat pins. I saw a movie clip where a woman is singing in an old movie and puts a hat pin into her hat as part of her song and dance and you notice it took a bit of a push to get it in. Well come to find out, once she was done she saw she stabbed it into her head. One look at the blood and realizing what she did and bam! down she went. She was out for a few minutes. Poor thing. Please do show us pictures when you figure out the pin. Perhaps the hat pin seller can give you some tips on how to use it. It looks almost like it works like a regular pin. Pin it through the hat and your hair and then it looks like it has a cap to close it. Good luck with it.

Ivy Frozen said...

nadine, thanks =) I've been getting a lot of compliments on it lately.

paisley girl, must look at old movies... I get how it works. The problem is getting it in right without stabbing myself. Surely there must be some super secret tricks somewhere.

Paisley Girl said...

I guess taking it slow and steady and not ramming it in would be the best bet. I guess as with everything, practice makes perfect. I was catching up on some blogs today and found this entry and the hat on the very bottom made me think of you. http://my50syear.blogspot.com/2008/10/hats-off-to-ya.html You might find her blog interesting too. She wears 50s fashions and is trying to do a year of a 50s housewife. And as soon as you figure out the hat pin, I would love to see it and would love to know how you got it to work without the ultimate stabbing.