Monday, June 21, 2010

Cups Up, Brims Down - Tea and Hats

After what had seemed like forever, the day was finally here. A ladies' tea was an occasion for which suit, stole, pumps, earrings, brooch, handbag, gloves, handkerchief, and hat were de rigueur. For this occasion, I would be privileged to "help" my beloved grandmother pull out her hatboxes and select just the right hat. Even though she would never admit it, there were quite a few attendees waiting to see in what stylish ensemble she would appear. It was always worth the wait.

After Gram finished, she then would share her abundant hat collection with my mother, aunts, and other close family friends attending the event. As I watched them, I looked forward to the day that I too would join them in this feminine rite of passage. In the meantime, this studious pupil took notes. Something happened to these ladies the moment they put on hat and heels. The confidence they exuded was more tangible than the perfume that wafted softly behind them. I learned that both scent and hats were intoxicating. So began my hat affinity.

It Just Takes One

Hats do more than cover our heads, say mercifully hiding a hair experiment gone awry. When a person puts on a hat, that same person makes a statement. From a low-brimmed Yankee fitted lid to a church-worthy chapeau, the hat is the accessory that expresses our individual style. Hats are the silent supplements that announce what's going on underneath. Even though I agree with the saying, "the price of your hat isn't the measure of your brain," a hat does convey a mental attitude. In turn this attitude, like volume, is unique and can be set as high or low as the wearer chooses. Therefore, there is a hat for every head.

Heady Notions

There are fewer things more handsome than a man and his fedora, e.g. Fred Astaire. However, men generally remove their hats upon entering a building. We women, on the other hand, have much latitude to when and how we wear our hats. Whenever another woman approaches me, shares a hat compliment with me, but then says that she herself doesn't look good in hats, that troubles me. These ladies also tend to be uncomfortable in receiving compliments or favorable attention. When encountered, I share what my feminine role models taught me:

1. Others mirror the value that we place on ourselves.
2. Try the hat on before dismissing it.
3. Remember you are wearing the hat.
4. When you find the hat that makes you smile, that's the one.

We wear our hats because we can. Whether simple or ornate, our creative millinery expressions are bound only by our imaginations. As long as our confidence is able to carry the hat without it carrying us, we'll do just fine. Speaking of fine, please take another look in the mirror. Make sure that you like what you see and then go have a cup of tea.

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