An Apology to Hats

I’m sorry I called you a wide-brimmed hat. It’s not your fault you’re so wide-brimmed.


I’ve never liked hats. Didn’t want them. Didn’t need them. The particular accessory seemed aggressive. Hats, of all shapes and sizes had been dubbed high maintenance in my book.

They belonged to people who wanted others to look at them. I didn’t want to be that person, the one wearing a hat.

Until, that is, I wanted to be the one wearing a hat.

I was watching Baby Face for the third time in a forty-eight hour period when I found myself distracted by Barbara Stanwyck’s wardrobe. Before I knew it, a pre-code 1933 film starring my favorite Hollywood heartthrob became inspo for the foreseeable future.

Here’s why: Stanwyck’s character is flawed. Truly flawed. Vulnerable. Desperate. Does terrible things. But she’s smart. She’s ambitious. She raises her voice. She looks divine in her clothes, and she wears a hat. Granted, that was then — the thirties — and hats, like iPhones today, were just a thing you carried with you. But I’d never abandon my iPhone. Or call it obnoxious, so I guess I realized that hats aren’t as bad as I thought they were. What’s actually pretty bad is disavowing things for the sake of having an opinion. Which is something I’d like to do less.

I owe hats an apology.

See, the beauty of style is that it boosts that inner-thing that makes you, you. I think they call that self-expression. Stanwyck’s character, hopeless and hurting, going through a personal crisis, chose to wear a sundress and a hat. And what a message to send! “I’m going to be ok.” I like that.

This summer, I probably won’t be emphasizing which swimsuit I wear on the sand, but rather, the hat to go with it. The hat that covers the thing I cherish most (my brain!) and the choices I’m allowed to make, revoke, make again.

Hats aren’t like other accessories. There’s a nonchalance about them. They say, “If you think this is effort, you’re mistaken.” And that’s great.

Now I just grab sunglasses, a book and I go. Right towards the water.

Need more summer accessories? Carry a bottle of wine from our Summer Wine Guide (wine’s an accessory)! Or why not try a scarf? Or some shades of our pickings? With said accessories, you’ll obviously need an ensemble. And a swimsuit to wear under said ensemble. And a beach read to go with that. Paperbacks or E-books?

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