Friday 17 October 2014

Hats, hats and more hats

I quite like hats.

In fact, I bloody love them. Knitted, crocheted, felt, fabric, straw...

I thought I would give some of mine an outing.

These are some of the knitted ones.

And some of the crocheted ones.

Hats to match jumpers I've knitted, a favorite vintage dress, a knitted scarf, gloves, or my winter coat.
The vast majority are berets. That was no surprise to me, but the colours are. I thought I had more red, but there is a distinct lack of it. So many muted colours, some brights, and a lot of black crocheted hats. I've broken my no-black rule!

The first beret I designed was back in 2002 for Cast Off, the first guerilla knitting group to spring up in London, the brainchild of Rachael Matthews of Prick Your Finger. It was made in mohair, and I called it my Raspberry Beret as I had just launched an 80s club night with my then boyfriend called Prom Night. I went through a phase of knitting nothing but mohair berets in crazy colours - and I still wear them.

I can't find that ruby red one now, and you can just see the Raspberry Beret on the right, worn with another of my knitting (and crochet) obsessions - bows.

What is it about hats? Why don't we wear them every day now?

The Shellac Sisters always wear hats, usually supplied by the wonderful milliner Jane Fryers. The hat I'm wearing below also doubles as a weapon - I nearly took out a few eyes last time I wore it!

More Jane Fryers creations in velvet. (That's her on the far right).

It's part of the whole vintage package. You can't go full-on vintage without a hat. They finish an outfit, pull it all together.

A hat can do so much for you, it can reflect your mood. It cheers me up no end to put on a brightly coloured beret and a slick of red lipstick. Hats take me off into a fantasy world, along with 30s dance bands.

Put on a big slouchy beanie and you can hide from the world. Or pull a man's baseball cap down low and no one will recognise you. I've done that a few times. Essential for bad hair days. They can be immensely practical, but also utterly ridiculous.

Is that a beard?

In an aside, I've been meaning to get this pic up of Rosalind Russell in The Women, one of my all time favorite movies. Glamorous, and knitting. Role model? You bet!

Oh Carmen. She did kind of pull it off though. The bigger the personality, the bigger the hat.

I think that is the key. Confidence. Or just having no shame. You have to be the kind of person who thinks it's a great idea to knit a matching raspberry beret for your baby. (And a Pineapple Dance Studio style sweatshirt with matching legwarmers). Poor B.

Men and women wore hats every day until the 1960s, and some older people never stopped wearing them. My grandmother never went to mass without her hat on, and my grandfather was never seen out in public without his trilby. Most people only wear them in Winter now, just to keep warm. Sensible, but so dull. Especially if you look at the average Joe on the street. A dark coloured machine-made beanie. Yawn.

I'm so glad Autumn is here, so many more opportunities to wear hats. And inflict them on my child.

So, what is it about hats? Do you love them or loathe them?


  1. I love hats too :) I got head colds easily as a child, and would wear knitted hats from early autumn till the chill had left the air in late spring. It got me into the habit of wearing hats, and now I prefer berets for spring and autumn, knitted cloche hats for winter, and vintage felt hats when the mood strikes. I also have a lovely vintage horsehair braid hat from the 1930's, black with tiny white dots, that I pull out for more formal occasions.

    1. I like that you wear hats to suit your mood too. I'd love to see those vintage ones.

  2. Love them, but then I am slightly biased towards a nice piece of head artwork!

    1. Thank you, and love some of the hats on your site.

  3. Love them! But to my eternal sadness i can never find vintage hats large enough for my big head. So berets it is most of the year apart from summer when i swap for floppy strawhats, panamas or cloches.

    1. Thanks Rebecka. I find it hard to find vintage ones too - i have the average 22 inch head, but still too big for a lot of vintage ones.

  4. I enjoyed reading your ode to hats, you have some mighty fine ones there. It seems totally reasonable to me to make your baby wear a matching hat!

  5. I like hats, but I don't wear them nearly as often as I should. I have a very small head, so can usually fit into the tiny vintage ones no-one else can wear! (But nothing on the High Street, they're all too big.) You do have a good stash of hats. How do you store them? In a bag?

  6. No, just in a drawer with moth paper. I like to delve in and see them all.


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