Hat Trick

Keep Calm and Wear A Hat

I love hats.

You could say that I’m obsessed.

I was about 13 when I chose a hat of my own (versus one forced on me by my parents because of the cold weather). It was in the midst of the break-dancing craze and my brothers and I had our own little dance group. We had nicknames, just like the crews in all the break-dancing movies that we loved, like “Breakin'” and “Breakin’ 2”. I had a splash-colored painters cap and I used a black sharpie to etch “Q.T.” across the front of it.

The next hat I owned was a little more classy, but it was destroyed in an unfortunate rainstorm during my senior homecoming. It was a cream-colored, Felt fedora and I was so proud of my first “grown-up” hat. I wore it to the homecoming game with a bit of purple and gold crepe paper as a band (my school colors). But, during the game there was a torrential downpour. The crepe paper bled into the hat and it was ruined. It would be a little while before I got over that minor tragedy. That is, until another minor tragedy forced me to wear hats all of the time.

I had recently graduated from high school and I was doing a community theater musical, “Mack and Mabel”. My character wore very elaborate hats like Barbra Streisand did in “Hello, Dolly!”. I loved wearing those hats! Sometime during the production, I got into my head to give myself a little haircut; just a trim, on the side. But, I was young and had no idea how clippers worked. I used the wrong guard size and ended up shaving a third of my hair off! I was appalled at the outcome, but my mother rescued me by loaning me one of her many wigs (another obsession that I used to have, since that day) and when I wasn’t wearing a wig, I was always wearing a Bolero hat. I had one in red and one in black. I eventually lost those hats at the end of a fashion show that i participated in, a few years later. I don’t remember the details, but essentially, I forgot them. I have not owned a bolero, since (but this memory has forced me to go straight to my amazon account and add it to my wishlist!).

In college, my hat obsession had finally set in, for life. It started with a set of berets with floral accents and, denim hats that flipped in the front and velvet hats (I actually managed to salvage one that I still wear and get compliments for, to this day) with floral accents. A friend of mine, who appreciated my hat obsession gave me a feather cocktail hat from the 1950s that had once belonged to her elderly aunt. I have never worn it (it’s still wrapped in its original paper and storage bag, hidden away in my closet). When I graduated college and moved to a new town, I celebrated by getting myself a Black bowler-style hat, with velvet-trim on the brim and a fabulous floral arrangement around the lid. I still have it, but I don’t wear it as often as I would like.

Over the past 20 years, I’ve bought or made (mostly bought) over 50 hats of various styles and colors.

I started loc-ing my hair, so the need to wear wigs went away as my hair finally grew long, on its own, without chemical processing. For a little while I was obsessed with styling it with hair ties and scarves, so I put my hats away for a bit, but, I eventually got bored with tying my hair up, the longer it got.

As a karaoke host, my nickname became “Diva” and I was obsessed with my overall look. That look included my many hats and shoes; lots and lots of shoes. When I retired from the entertainment business, I eventually got a job that does not require me to be a fashion plate; no corporate culture that forces me to dress up for work, no reason to look fashionable, at all. Comfortable shoes had to take precedence over fashionable shoes. Then I broke my foot, last spring, so anything more trendy than a pair of sneakers was pretty much out of the question.

Despite my new job, I still care about how I look when I leave the house. I don’t get around much anymore, but I still like to have fun dressing up. MY choice in shoes is extremely limited and I was never very good at getting a scarf to look right on my head, but my hats…My hats have never let me down, so I have returned to my old obsession.

I started wearing a hat, every day, at work, about two years, ago. I try to post a picture to my instagram, every day (hashtag: hatoftheday). Nevertheless, even if I don’t post, trust that I am definitely wearing a hat if I’m out of the house. I wear hats so often, now, that I am being gifted hats all of the time. Of my 50-plus hats, I have about a dozen that have never been seen in public. My goal, this year, is to wear every hat in my collection, even if it’s at the end of the year and I have to showcase all the hats I didn’t wear in an “end of the year” post.

I’m currently working on my #summerhatproject on instagram, where I am trying to get out of comfort zone of wearing hats that match my outfits and instead, wearing hats that contradict my outfits. Forcing myself to wear an orange cap with a purple blouse, for instance, is not that easy for me, though. It’s been difficult, but fun. I will start posting my “hat of the day” on this blog, as a regular feature, in the near future.

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