The Importance of a Tasteful Hat
I attended a memorial service for a family member last weekend. It was a gorgeous, sunny day, perfect for a celebration of life. The event took place in a small old chapel on the grounds of a lush cemetery in a section of Washington D.C. A large crowd had turned out to show their respects for the deceased — a man of style who had amassed many friends in his long and well-lived life. So large was the crowd that it spilled outside the chapel onto the front terrace and in the open air. Graceful old trees towered overhead, casting pockets of shade and providing a respite from the bright sun.
As we moved from the chapel down the hill to the interment, my mind wandered to the well-dressed guests who had turned out to celebrate his life. It was a tastefully-dressed crowd, obviously honoring the man who had influenced many of their interior or sartorial choices at times during his life and theirs. As we stood on the hill listening to the final prayers of the priest, I spotted several in the group wise enough or well-informed enough to top off their outfits with hats to shield themselves from the harsh sun.
Most American women I know have a specific and occasional relationship with hats. We wear baseball caps when participating in sports or going out to watch them. We know that British women wear elaborate hats to weddings and other important events. We may don one ourselves if invited to celebrate a British or Irish wedding, though that is not a given. (Years ago, when an American friend wed his Irish bride in her homeland, it was so clear which side of the church were the Americans because we were the hatless ones!) We do rise to the occasion for horse racing events such as the Kentucky Derby or the annual point-to-point tailgate parties. And some may seek shade under a hat when working in the garden or relaxing on the beach.
A smartly-dressed woman will accessorize with a hat when appropriate, not just for style but for comfort. The quintessential choice for a proper, understated summer hat would be something like Helen Kaminski’s Armada Wide Brim Hat in Dark Maple/Nude with a crisp white Italian cotton band with bow detail at the back. This is a high-quality raffia/straw hat crafted by skilled artisans and seems perfectly tasteful for occasions where you are trying not to attract attention.
If you’ve always described yourself as “not a hat person”, give it a try and see if you feel more comfortable. It’s all about confidence and comfort while still looking appropriate for the event.
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