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Afraid to wear a hat? / Hat of the Day – Merrimac Peachbloom cocktail hat, ca. 1948

April 7, 2010

How many times have you heard a woman say, “Hats are so cute on other people, but not me,” or, “I want to wear hats but I feel silly”?  I hear that all the time.  Fortunately, I’ve had a lot of experience getting women to step out of their comfort zones and try something new by trying on a hat.  Sometimes it doesn’t convince them, but frequently they realize there’s something empowering and magical about wearing a fashion hat.  I sold a hat to woman in December who started out reluctant even to try on my hats but ended up buying one and remarking that it’s the first hat she’s bought/worn since the 1960s.  I was so flattered, and also excited for her!

I’ve had that experience with shoes before, where I didn’t feel comfortable with a certain style until I decided that perhaps I could make that style my own.  Once I changed my attitude, I saw myself in a different light and started to develop a new confidence about this new style.

Style is all about attitude.  Think about it.  There truly is nothing new under the sun except when new technology makes possible things that were previously impossible.  Barring that, everything has been done before and, quite likely, it has been done more than once.  I get a kick out of so many designers who are too caught up in themselves; they have that attitude that their fashion sense is the only valid way, but ten years down the line they’re horrified at what they thought was so fabulous.  And then ten more years down the line, they resurrect the same styles and proclaim once again their brilliance.  This happens over and over in fashion and, to me, it reveals the underlying truth about fashion sense:  It’s all about how you sell your style to yourself and the general public, and that is all about attitude.  And the over-arching goal of selling your style is to wear what you want to wear.  Wearing what you want to wear – and being blissfully happy in it no matter what anyone thinks – is quite liberating.  I have always had a bohemian attitude about my clothes and a confidence that comes from recognizing what I think is good design (which doesn’t always mesh with what the fashion world says is good design, but since it does most of the time, I figure I must have a decent eye for design.)  Of course, in the grand scheme of things, that “eye for design” really doesn’t matter because it’ll all change 500 times before I’m dead anyway.  (Plus, every once in a while it’s fun to spit in the eye of institutions like Fashion and Art by intentionally doing things that are considered “faux pas”.  Tee hee!)

The point to all this rambling is that I think we all need to have a better sense of humor about fashion, we need to take ourselves and our “design sense” less seriously, and we need to wear what we like while keeping an open mind to the styles that don’t automatically tickle our sensibilities.  I remember when bell-bottoms started to make a comeback in the 1990s and I was horrified.  Once I got used to them and they were re-packaged as “boot-cut” pants, I saw how much more balanced they made my hourglass figure and I was swayed.  It’s all in how you sell it.


Hat of the Day Sketch

Today’s HOTD is a black cocktail hat by Merrimac Peachbloom in a velour fur felt with draped satin over it and lovely black iridescent rooster feathers.  It has two costume jewelry star pieces on the front which apparently used to hold a piece of veiling in front.  Martinis and pointy-toed black stiletto heels, anyone?

As always, feel free to comment on this blog post in the comments section below.

Merrimac Peachbloom cocktail hat, ca. 1948

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