The Hat

“High fashion” has not been used to describe my post-retirement wardrobe of baggy shorts and t-shirts.  And now that I’m into these barefoot walking shoes, I’m a poster child for the fashion impaired — and a minor embarrassment for those with me when I’m allowed out of the home.  I get it.  But, I do have a few fetishes in the non-Fifty Shades of Grey sense.  For example, I do love hats.

The hat is a tremendous invention.  You can wear it to keep your bald head from being burned by the sun, or to show respect in a house of worship, or as a statement of fashion.  It says everything you need to know about a person if they’re wearing a Davy Crockett coonskin cap or the propeller beanie created by science fiction writer Ray Nelson.  Right?

Hats came to mind during the Des Moines Art Festival held this last weekend.  Check out this awesome lady, exhausted and slumped in the heat — only saved by this amazing hat:

Broad of brim, soft yet firm, and solidly held in place with a strap, this is the ideal functional hat for high sun — until you get to the yellow, frilly ribbon.   This gal is perhaps visiting earth for the first time and accidentally brought along this magic ribbon.  Why do I know it’s magic?  Check out the yellow it’s pulling from the grass, the building in the far corner, the flowers, her shirt, and, yes, even the sidewalk and limestone block.  Who knew we were walking in a yellow landscape?  Now you know — thank you, yellow-ribboned hat and extraterrestrial.

Remember how you wanted to be a cowboy or cowgirl?  Okay, this guy has it nailed.   A tight crease in the top, a decorative headband, and the jaunty upswing on the side brims — a  customized Stetson.  And look where he is walking? Yup, down the middle of the street, where all gunslingers walk.  I believe he’s looking for the kissing booth occupied by Belle — who runs the saloon that is being foreclosed by the Bank.  This upcoming kiss will change their destinies and ours.

Look at this big swooping straw variation.  It appears to be a hybrid of the Sombrero.  Talk about comfortable in your own skin.  Boxers and Boots are certainly the go-to accessories.  This is summer church fashion.  While kneeling in the pew, the congregation sees a well-dressed man.  However, below the rail is a man of cool and comfort.  It’s genius.

Then I stumbled on this artist’s booth:

Isn’t this wonderful?  You can even be a bird, if that takes your fancy.   Real bird hats were quite the rage at one time:

One of the most debated accessories used in women’s fashions was the use of birds and bird feathers as a fashion ornament. During the last quarter of the 19th century, feather decoration for hats, fans, and boas was at its peak.

Women’s hats were decorated with wings, breasts and whole birds. According to Harper’s Bazaar, in 1875 the merle, or blackbird, was a favorite, and especially the merle bronzé, a Brazilian blackbird, which was not black, but had blue and bronze shades on its wings and back.

Joanne Haug, Victorian Hats,  A bad deal for the birds.   But this fanciful artist in Des Moines captures the flight of birds purely from fabric — no cruelty allowed.

For me, however, it took a trip to the Downtown Farmer’s Market to find the hat that trips my trigger.  Yup, this is so my hat!

It’s always good to know where you belong.





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