Monday, 11 July 2016


I think I have always been interested in hats of all shapes and sizes.  Sun hats; school hats; beach hats; party hats and even the Queen's hats.  I have written three "hat" books and I have even made hats myself, including a white satin top hat for a bridegroom.

Once on a trip to Paris, my mother (the Grandma of "Grandma's Hat" fame), went into the well known "Christian Dior" shop and came out having purchased a beautiful green straw hat, which she wore with pride, for many years. That one certainly suited her auburn hair! Her only regret was that the label was on the inside! How we used to tease her.
My Grandmother owned a fashionable boutique which catered to the rich and famous, as well as a few "royals", during World War 2. As a young child, I spent many happy hours playing in that shop, with buttons, baubles, bows and wonderful silk flowers, which were kept in cardboard boxes. I also spent time in the back of the shop, behind a heavy velvet curtain, with the ladies at their sewing machines. They were in charge of alterations and I was in charge of picking up pins as they fell to the floor. For this task, I was given a magnet and a special pin tin. A real job for a six year old.

But my best time of all was when Granny closed the doors at the end of the day. Then I would carefully wash my hands and sit on the pink satin stool in front of the dressing table with its triple mirrors and try on some hats! Oh, how the staff laughed at my poses and of course, I played up to my audience. Some hats were obviously far too big for me but many were not. The cocktail hats were often quite ridiculously silly confections of ribbon, lace and feathers, much like the "fascinators" of today. Sometimes bewitching, I suppose, and fun to try on but they don't seem to serve any real purpose.  I wonder if men find them attractive?

"A Hollywood actress, trying on a hat in a shop in Beverly  Hills, asked the price.  Upon hearing it, she exclaimed,
"Why, that's ridiculous!"
"Madam," replied the saleslady, "So is the hat!" "
                                                                   - Hedda Hopper.

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