My Family Hat History for ‘Word a Week’.

Skinnywench’s ‘Word a Week’ challenge is HAT. My sister and I were made to wear hats when we were children, and we absolutely hated them. Our mom was very hat addicted, and looked really chic in her royal blue satin pillbox hat with the dotted lace netting which came down over her eyes, making her look both elegant and mysterious. Her favourite was a gold one very similar, which she wore with a silky blue and yellow dress and jacket. Then there was the one with the long multi-coloured feather on the side, which prompted an old man in our church to loudly remark half way through the sermon, β€œOh…… you’ve got your Robin Hood hat on today, have you?” As you can imagine, she was mortified, as the preacher paused and the congregation turned around to have a look. πŸ˜€

Mom was the smartest lady on the block, and we were so proud of her. Her obsession with hats did however create aΒ  problem for my sister and I, as we also had to have a hat to match our ‘Sunday best’ outfits. This of course was in the days when kids didn’t have a wardrobe full of clothes and dozens of pairs of shoes. We just had our school clothes, our playing outside in the garden clothes, and our best clothes. The winter ‘best clothes’ were worn from autumn until Easter, and then we got a new outfit for the spring and summer months. Our parents were very sensible with their money,Β  and realised that children grow very fast, and therefore by the time the shoes and clothes were past their best, we’d outgrown them anyway. The hat and gloves however, were mandatory and non negotiable, and it was during my growing up years that I realized that the words ‘hat’ and ‘hate’,Β  very closely resemble one another.

Our family were considered quite ‘posh’ for the area we lived in, and when my sister and I ventured out on our walk to Sunday School, we came in for some teasing and ridicule from some of the neighbourhood kids. My mom tried to make me feel more positive about wearing hats, by telling me that I had β€œa hat face,” whatever one of those is?Β  I have very unfond memories of our series of hats through the years, and besides the horrid bottle-green school beret, the ones that really stick in my mind are the yellow feather efforts which made us look like a couple of canaries, my sister’s gold-coloured velour bowler hat which was always worn at a rakish angle, and my putty-coloured, blancmange-shaped hat with the gold beads, which was once snatched off my head by the local bully girl and tossed over a shop door’s security gate. It took us quite some time to find a stick long enough to reach it and drag it back through the bars. Needless to say it never looked quite the same after its ordeal, but was unfortunately for me, considered still wearable until the end of the summer.

When I left home, I only wore hats of my choosing, and they have been worn for a purpose rather than as decoration. There was the rabbit-fur bonnet to keep my head and ears warm, which I was wearing when I met hubby one cold November night. He really liked me in that, and we’ve been together ever since.Β  I mostly wear a peaked cap when on holiday and in the sun. This is my favourite, and I’ve nearly lost it a couple of times.


In Bali I found a cute straw hat at a market, which served me well for the time I was there, and got left behind when we packed.


In Ecuador I was cajoled by a very persuasive salesman, into buying a genuine Panama hat which was supposed to be fully collapsible for travel, but when I got it home, couldn’t be coaxed back into it’s original shape and ended up in the trash can. When we visited Mount Rushmore, it was so very cold and windy, that this warm hat was absolutely essential. Those past Presidents don’t look very impressed, do they? I do believe that Abraham Lincoln was trying his best not to laugh. πŸ˜€


My relationship with hats over the years has been a very chequered one. That song, ‘You can keep your hat on’,Β  definitely isn’t my signature tune, although I really love it. I hope that as I grow older, I can take hubby’s advice when he says β€œkeep your hair on,” as I don’t ever intend to be like the old woman in that poem by Jenny Joseph,Β  who β€œwears purple and a red hat that doesn’t go, and doesn’t suit me.” Just to end off, no post on a hat theme would be complete without this shot of Princess Beatrice in the hat that launched a thousand Facebook pages. πŸ˜†

To see more entries for Sue’s hat challenge, just click here.

89 comments on “My Family Hat History for ‘Word a Week’.

  1. I hate it when mothers make you do things just because they like them! I mean there are BIGGER battles to fight you know! My children I would have to staple them to there heads and that’s cruel so… NO CUTE HATS for my kids but I BET you looked ADORABLE!!!!

  2. Unfortunately for me, when I was in Bali, it was raining most of the time. Once, it rained so much, the pond in our villa overflowed and the Kois got washed away into the TV room, flapping about on the floor.

  3. Loved the story, though I think I only had one hat or two hats that I remember while I was growing up. I hate wearing hats because most women’s hats are way too big for me. My hat hair looks like I don’t have hair! I definitely don’t have a hat face, you can hardly see I have a face when I wear a hat. Nonetheless, you do have a hat face – I think that’s a compliment! πŸ™‚ You do weave a good tale! πŸ™‚

  4. My mother was also fashion conscious and hat-crazy. I remember the outfits and hats she wore to the July Handicap – especially the hats! Enormous feathered concoctions down to teensy weensy, hardly there, and the veils! The veils are the only part of the hats that I loved – so mysterious and so chic – wonderful memories. I only had one hat that I remember for church, and gloves and those shiny shoes that one polished with Vaseline. How that hat on Princess Bea stays on I would love to know…

    • I’m glad that my post brought back memories for you too, adee. Your mom must have looked a picture in her big hats. πŸ™‚ I think Beatrice’s hat must have been super-glued on. πŸ™‚

  5. The straw hat does fit you though πŸ˜€ I can imagine you hated to wear those hats when you were younger. But I loved reading about it hehehe.
    And that last photo… *closes her eyes as fast as possible before the image attaches itself to her brains*

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  7. You’re a good story teller Sylvia. Poor you having to wear hats and gloves to church. I love the angle of the Mt Rushmore photo. Glad you included the shot of Princess Beatrice’s outrageous hat.

    • Thanks, Phil. Your comment reminded me of this old nonsense song: πŸ˜†

      “Why does everybody call me bighead
      I’ve measured it, and it seems perfect to me.
      I have such a lovely face and I win every race
      Theres nothing in this world too much for me.
      But why does everybody call me bighead?
      I must admit Im good at all I do.
      At school I was the best, yes I beat all the rest,
      But I dunno why they call me bighead do you?
      My mum said I was born a perfect baby.
      The doctor said, ” This boy he will go far.”
      I have a high IQ. I know I’m brighter than you,
      ‘Cause every year I buy a brand new car.
      But why does everybody call me bighead? I must admit I’m good at all I do.
      I know I have real charm
      There’s always a girl on my arm,
      But I dunno why they call me bighead do you?
      At sport I am the best, outshine all the rest,
      Passed the first time round when I took the driving test.
      But why does everybody call me bighead?
      I must admit I’m good at all I do.
      I’m such a lovely guy, and never told a lie,
      But I don’t know why they call me bighead. Do you?

  8. I love hats … and I love the song to … specially when Sir Tom Jones sings it.
    Been to Ascort once – and I could wear my favorite big deep red hat that I always wear at wedding … and steal the show from the mother of the brides. *laughing
    Lovely post … a love story about hats, instead of just photos.
    There is hats and there is things called hats .. and I think the girls (princesses) are great, wonderful and totally mad … when they chose their hats, but they always manage be the talking point every time. Thanks for an enjoyable post.

      • My hat is a pretty show off … hat – haven’t used it since I returned to Sweden, but our King comes to town on Wednesday, maybe I should wear it then .. I promise he notice me in the crowd. *smile – he is a such handsome man – a look from him will make the rest of the year for me *smile

  9. Enjoyed reading your Family Hat History today. What fun. I also like the perspective of the viewing of Mt. Rushmore. Very cool.

  10. I don’t hate hats – I think those wide brimmed ones look quite nice. The pillboxes with the netting, very mysterious, quite like those little pork pie hats too – makes whoever wears them look quite rakish πŸ˜‰ But we were never forced to wear them, and the one time the ex tried to join a church that insisted i cover my sinful hair I told him to go stuff it where the sun does not shine – I like hats, but I will not be forced to wear them!
    I have only one hat that I got in Thailand for when the sun is really trying to burn me to a crisp, but i can’t remember when last I had it on!
    As for baseball caps, never wear them – look like a dork in it!!
    And that last hat is not a hat – it’s a funny coloured tellytubby πŸ˜‰

  11. Beatrice actually sold that hideous fascinator on eBay for charity upon realising that it had become a good-natured joke. A Royal with a sense of humour is a rare thing indeed!

    I love hats! My Mum hates me because I suit every hat I try on, and my husband has to drag me past the hat stall in the market very quickly (but there was an *adorable* cloche hat there last week). I have a polka dot Baker Boy hat, three beanies, a self-battered fedora (Fourth Doctor) a trilby (Matt Smith), three black beanies, one of those hats with the plaits dangling from either side, a Fez (Doctor Who influenced yet again) and a Jayne Cobb (Firefly) hat that a friend knitted for me.

    If only I could sneakily buy that cloche while the husband isn’t looking… it’s worth a try πŸ™‚

      • I shall do what I usually do: wait until he’s busy with the greengrocer and buy said cloche – he’ll know where to find me πŸ˜‰

        Once again, a resigned-looking husband will groan and ask how many heads I have… heheh πŸ™‚

  12. Hilarious story, Sylvia, aka “hat face!” That is so funny. And I love your see-saw, hat-hate relationship with hats. That one at Mt. Rushmore looks very interesting. Your mother sounds like she was quite elegant. I remember my mother used to wear similar hats. πŸ™‚

  13. you did suffer rather a lot with hats! now i am remembering our family hat history, which did involve a few cute straw ones and maybe that was all???

  14. What lovely reminiscing. πŸ™‚ I bet all of your hats, even the most atrocious ones from your youth, could never ever ever compare to Princess Beatrice’s hat. That hat only proved the saying – one just can’t buy class. πŸ™‚

  15. Sorry for the trauma. I feel your pain, about being teased that is. But all’s well that ends well. Now it’s your choice. And your choices are stunning. πŸ˜‰

  16. The hat of Princess Beatrice is crazy ! Love your hat photos. Such adventures under cover. I remember the 1950’s being such a popular time for ladies in hats. Perhaps we can only seen them in southern cities now.

  17. Your mother was right – You have a beautiful “hat face.” I can find lots of hats, but I have more difficulty finding summer “lacy” gloves like the ones we used to wear.

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