2014-05-21 / Community

Meandering Melodies

Out of the Fast Lane
by Susan Holsinger


Holsinger Holsinger Abraham Lincoln wore a black hat as did many men in his day. It was the accepted norm and practice for men and women not so many years ago to wear hats. They dressed in their Sunday best when they went to town, even if it was during the week. Today this practice is all but forgotten. I can still remember when my Dad wore his three-piece suit and his black, broad brimmed hat when they went to town. I am intrigued when I look at old photos and see how people dressed and what they wore.

The broad brimmed black hat has been a part of the brethren’s uniform for a long time. It was not unusual for men to wear hats when the broad brimmed black hat was adopted and included as part of the accepted dress for men in the Old German Baptist Brethren Church. It has stood the test of time and is still worn by the brethren today.

I find myself looking for black hats when I am driving down the road because I know that inside there is someone I know. It’s pretty hard to hide a black hat.

There’s something extraordinary about black hats. There are many shapes and sizes of black hats. I can picture policemen wearing black hats. They have a distinction that sets them apart from other black hats. Think of the bowler type of black hats that were popular in the 1920s. They looked a little like a derby hat. Cowboy hats have their own peculiarities. Abraham Lincoln’s hat was called a Stovepipe Hat. In Israel you will see Jews wearing black hats. Pilgrims wore black hats, too.

Men look so distinguished when they wear hats. In my opinion that distinction is lost on bill caps! I’m not a big fan of them. I’m sure they serve some sort of purpose but it is not my hat of choice!

My fascination with hats reached new levels when Diana became Princess of Wales. She was close to my age and I could only imagine what it must’ve been like for her as she became a mother of royalty. The public could not get enough of her shy beauty. She is credited with the rise in popularity, favor, and increased interest in hats. Picture after picture showcased many of the beautiful hats she wore. I never knew there were so many different ways a hat could be made! She looked good in all of them. I wonder how many rooms it took to store all her hats! I still have a photo that has a timeline of the different hats Princess Diana wore. It was interesting to see how they changed over the years. I wonder what happened to all her hats. Were they auctioned off at the charity auction?

I watched when Prince William married Kate Middleton. Again, my eye was drawn to all the hats the women wore. I must say it was the first time I ever saw a hat that I thought was downright ugly! But then beauty is in the eye of the beholder, right?!

I wonder why women stopped wearing hats. Was it because they were hard to find or cost too much? It used to be up until the 1970s that women would not be allowed to go inside a church unless they had a hat on. Before hats were worn, many women wore a covering according to I Cor. 11, believing it was a shame for their head to be uncovered. As the wearing of hats began to wane, women wore scarves.

Women among our circles have their own peculiar “hat.” We call it a prayer covering. We often refer to it as a cap and it is worn at all times. Black felt bonnets are worn over the cap/covering sometimes and is considered part of the sister’s uniform by the Old German Baptist Brethren.

I found after doing a little research that ladies hats were only associated with the elite classes before the twentieth century. During this time, women’s hats were not worn for function, but rather worn to show off their prized possessions. They were adorned with jewels, feathers, precious metals, and exotic fabrics. The only hats available to the lower class women were cloth bonnets. At the turn of the twentieth century, hats for women became affordable for all. Hats that were popular in the early 1900s are still popular today. According to pictures women stopped wearing hats in the 1970s. No one knows why for sure. Perhaps you have an idea about this?

History shows that men and women became more fashion conscious because it was easier to know what the fashions were as ways of communicating increased universally. Styles of clothing changed and so did hairstyles. In the 1960s women wore their hair in big teased hairdos. My aunts used orange juice containers to set and roll their hair. How they ever slept with them in their hair is more than I know! Anyway, these types of hairstyles were not conducive to wearing hats. Many hat makers and hat shops went out of business at this time.

The wearing of hats experienced a revival in recent years thanks to the Red Hat Society. The Red Hat Society is a social organization founded in 1998 in the United States for women age 50 and beyond and is now open to women of all ages. There are over 40,000 chapters in the U.S. and 30 other countries. They have meetings on a regular basis and the attire is red hats and purple or pink dresses. The primary purpose of this group is social interaction and bonding among women.

How about it ladies and gents? Are you inspired to go shopping for a hat?! I will be watching… LOL I like hats!

Affirmation for today:

Today is a beautiful day and I will wear a hat!

Next week’s article: “To The Graduate”

(Contact Susan - Email: susan.holsinger@gmail.com; 7690 W 700 S Rossville, IN 46065; ph. 765-379-3722).

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