Friday, March 18, 2011

A parade of hats

As I was working outside today, it occurred to me, not for the first time, how much I cherish the opportunity to wear hats. I was diagnosed with two forms of skin cancer by the age of 36, and thus my fondness for the chapeau began.

Believe it or not, these are just a few of the hats I own, but they represent the pile that I choose from most often. I've found most of them in my travels, so they also represent memories. I find that if I'm having a happy time on a trip, I tend to buy a hat to commemorate it:

And here is a line-up of the ones that I usually wear out in the garden or on the river when I go canoeing:

This is my all-time favorite, found in a little shop in Santa Fe. That's a "stampede string" you see on the back of the brim; I found it at a neighborhood boot repair shop and added it later. Stampede strings are usually made of woven horse hair and tie under your chin to keep your hat on your head during, well, a stampede. I don't get a lot of stampedes in my garden, so I use it for windy days:

This is a very comfortable hat that I found at a nursery at the Garden Bloggers Fling in Buffalo last year. I really like it, but it lacks a stampede string for windy days:

I got this one from a nature store in Albuquerque a few years ago; it is also comfy, without a proper means of attaching it sur la tĂȘte:

This is also my all-time favorite (I am allowed to have two). I bought this hat on Martha's Vineyard during a vacation. It is lightweight, with a linen crown and woven brim, making it the most comfortable and stylish of all my hats. In fact, all hats should be made this way from this time forward; I've never found another like it, though, so I suppose that is unlikely to happen. (What makes it so comfortable also makes it more fragile, so perhaps this is the reason.) I made a stampede string for it out of leather (not shown in the photo) since it didn't come with one. I guess they don't get a lot of stampedes in Martha's Vineyard, either. I love this hat, and use it sparingly these days for fear of wearing it out.

My fully-immersible and quick-drying river hat, with the logo for the Natural History and Humanities degree program on the front:

And a description on the back:

If I start out the day wearing a hat, I won't take it off in public, because I simply don't have the kind of hair that responds well to mashing. This has given me the opportunity to try to spread the cheer of hat-wearing as I've worn them into hardware and grocery stores. Strangely, in a part of the country where cowboy toppers are common on the heads of men, people seem oddly resistant to the idea of women wearing hats. That is to say, I get the looks.

To which I'd like to say, "What? You've never seen a woman wearing a proper hat?"


  1. Love the hats, Susan! I can see why you like the Santa Fe one with its stampede string best (of two). It's got a certain, hey-look-at-me-and-my-cool-hat style to it. And it looks great on you, too. May the spring winds treat you and your hats well... ;~)

  2. Love the hats! Also love the shirt-- I have one just like it! ;)


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