Lady Aristocrat in a Hat

Lady Aristocrat in a Hat

I really love vintage everything. I can’t remember the last time I had a new piece of furniture. Maybe back in my early college days when I used to shop at IKEA. I would buy something in my first year and have it assembled by graduation. My friend Bev taught me to have an eye for quality vintage. Her spaces harken back to old Hollywood and are filled with Art Deco figurines and lamps and big, soft, curved velvet, couches and matching club chairs. Any starlet would have loved to have fainted on one of her leopard print chaises lounge’.
I grew up in a house in the suburbs that was filled with the most modern furniture of the day and it was the 1970’s. Wall to wall burnt orange shag broadloom and gold and avocado velvet wallpaper. A chartreuse silk 8-foot-long couch that no one was ever allowed to sit on except for Christmas. A smoked glass round kitchen table replaced the old Formica and chrome one. When we finally sold my parents’ house I was able to acquire the 1950’s matching cracked glass ball lights and some old vases. A couple of the best 1970’s swivel chairs were a bit damaged but I just couldn’t toss them out. My mother hated anything old. She wanted everything brand new and, of the best quality, but she also didn’t want to replace anything, so when she finally moved into a senior’s apartment the house remained a shrine to the ‘70’s. My sister and her family were living with my mom at the time, and she took the things that she wanted, but my sister, like my mother, loves to have new things and isn’t as attracted to the past as I am.
One of the things that I took was a collection of hats that my mother had worn since the 1940’s.
My favourite hat was lost when my car was stolen in Toronto, it unfortunately, had been in the back seat. It was a 1950’s wide brimmed black silk and straw hat. I wore it all the time.
I still mourn the loss of that hat more than the loss of the car. I have my mom’s swirled velvet turban style hat in chartreuse with a matching hat pin which I love to wear on St. Paddy’s day.
The sixties and ‘70’s brought on a new and bigger style of hat. I’ve got a giant beige straw beehive style hat with brown netting, a silk flower, and little velvet balls adorning it. I remember going to a wedding with my parents and my mother’s head wouldn’t fit in the car with the hat on so she slumped forward, like a dead body, rather than remove the hat that she had spent an hour perfecting. My sister and I had little white lace combs hair sprayed onto the top of our heads. I remember my wispy baby hair being teased and lacquered to secure the hideous adornment.
Nowadays, I love my hats and I wear them as often as I can. When I was in England I went to a few antique markets and found some lovely art deco velvet hats and a straw saucer style with black and white feather’s around the brim. Britain is a great place to still find some vintage hats for a good price, even with the exchange. Some of my hats are strictly for weddings and outdoor summer parties, but others I will wear as often as I can and I will pair them with modern looks so I don’t look like I’m going to a costume party.
I really wish ladies and men’s hats would come back into full fashion like they were in the ‘40’s and 50’s and 60’s. I think this generation is missing out on the glamour of days gone by.
Chanel’s little black dress topped off with the fashion forward look of a Haute couture hat is a timeless standard of beauty and art in my opinion.
Wearing a hat can change everything about an outfit. I love the Royal family for continuing the tradition of wearing statement hats to every occasion. I’m not too sure if I love all the fascinator’s out there but I admire the creativity. I love that the Kentucky Derby also embraces the glamour of hats and the women who attend spend months picking out the perfect topper to their summer dresses.
In the days of the Rat Pack, Las Vegas was the place to be seen and everyone dressed for it. It’s sad that nowadays it has become a sweat pant wearing, slot machine pulling, buffet hunting crowd, just looking for a big win. You can see some great shows there but I don’t think people are dressing up to attend like they used to.
There are loads of sites online that sell vintage hats like Etsy and Amazon UK. I usually find something there, and get my British pal Val, to order it for me and then mail it to me. I’ve never had a hat shipped directly to me from the UK site. I hesitate because I don’t want to have to pay any duty on something that I didn’t spend a lot of money on.

I hope I’ve inspired some of you to give the fashion hat a go. Hats are fun and can hide a really bad hair day!

Fifty Schmifty

Fifty Schmifty

When I turned fifty it was weird. There was a big surprise party and music and friends and family ,and yet, I felt a bit creep’d out. I felt ashamed for being that old all of a sudden and I had a flash of my mother, at 50, as she began her descent into the older woman syndrome.
Close cut short permed hair, stretchy pants, an overly embellished sweater and sensible flat shoes. The saggy bum of those shapeless, navy polyester’s, lent the observer to picture a loaded diaper beneath. The gorilla shaped sweater with the huge pieces of reflective mirror,
and plastic gems bedazzled all over it, and those black, faux suede, men’s- slipper inspired ladies’ shoes will never be erased from my memory banks.
My mother had gone from a fashionable woman who bought expensive crepe and silk dresses from Italy to a Sears bargain hunter. It was the 1970’s.
I still have her oldest dresses hanging in my closet. They are gorgeous and timeless …and I can’t fit into a single one. The last time I wore them was at the age of 18 and after that I became “big boned” with “lovely skin”.
When I was very young it was important for me to look like my friends and we all shopped at the same stores and bought the same clothes. We went to the same hair dresser and had the same haircuts. Here is the thing though; everyone has a different body type and skin tone and just because hot pink looks good on my best friend does not mean it looks good on me. In fact, it brought out the rosacea that I didn’t even know existed until it was highlighted by a hideous pink neon.
As I got older, I realized that freedom of expression and creativity could be blasted out to the world through our appearance. A light bulb went off as I entered my punk phase. Stealing my mom’s red, pointy toed, curling boots; shredding a couple of miniskirts; slapping on fishnet tights and hair spraying myself into a spikey rooster, I’d hit the clubs to pogo the night away. I’d look around the scene with my black coal rimmed eyes and see another 75 carbon copies of myself but I still felt like I was a rebel and doing something different. I was an individual.
I then had a chameleon phase in college where I would be whatever the situation called for. If I was going to see The Grateful Dead I would be a hippy. If I was going to see Elvis Costello I was a new wave punk. If I was going to see the B-52’s I had the biggest bee-hive. It allowed me to experiment with different looks and find whatever felt more like me.
At some point, I realized that they were all me.
Turning fifty. Turning fifty gave me an epiphany. I see that with age comes absolute freedom to express yourself. Some rules do apply though: do not wear something so short that you are exposing your sagging arse and, at some point, you’ve got to cover up that Neanderthal wrinkler cleavage. Getting older sucks but there are ways to celebrate the, “I no longer give a shit” period of our lives.
Working in the film business has allowed me to present myself at work in whatever phase I was going through, finally landing where I am today.
My philosophy is this. Dress for how you are feeling. Don’t let your best dresses hang in your closet waiting for the right opportunity to wear them. Combine fancy with casual. Experiment because, at your age, you can be eccentric now.
With some laughs and fashion ,and loads of makeup, I think I’ll get through this next stage of my life,
I hope you enjoy my posts geared for those of us who are in our “golden years”. Barf.