Friday, January 29, 2010

Featuring a Fabulous Guest Blogger! Holly Jackson with a Word on Hats

The Art of the Hat: Vintage Hats in a Modern Era
By Holly Jackson

When you think of vintage, the first thing that comes to mind is hats. Katherine, Audrey, Ginger: they all wore them gloriously and without reservation. Think of your favorite old movie, and now think of the outfits. It’s all about the hats, right?

Unfortunately, if you’re anything like me, you feel pretty removed from this whole world of glamour clothing. I, like most working women in America, wear a whole lot of jeans, and a whole lot of wallpaper colored suits. Katherine Hepburn would not approve (well, maybe of the suit pants), and Ginger Rogers would most definitely look down her nose at me.

However, you don’t have to have Givenchy at your fingertips to bring some glamour into your life. Hats are a great introductory vintage purchase, for several reasons. One, they tend to be less expensive, and highly unique. Two, they don’t require specialized underwear, or crinolines to make them look great. For some of us, these are serious considerations. The problem with hats is that they were originally designed to go with a full outfit. The idea of wearing a vintage hat to the grocery store is intimidating. What if people laugh at you? Hell, what if it falls off your head? All of this is a shame, because hats really are the best entry point for someone who wants to mix and match vintage pieces.

So, how do you wear a hat without looking silly, or having a massive wardrobe crisis? The first trick is the hardest, and also the most important: be confident. Ever coveted someone’s dress at a party, only to find that their incessant fidgeting and nervousness changed your opinion of it? Well, that’s how hats work. If you feel like you are the classiest and best dressed woman in the room, you project that to others. Now, this is easier said than done. I suggest starting out with one hat that you truly love, and wearing it to a special occasion. A dinner out with friends, or a cocktail party. The fact that it’s a special occasion will help you feel like your hat is appropriate, and give you practice wearing one for a limited period of time. If you’re worried about it falling off, use pins to keep it on.

The next step to wearing a vintage hat is more complicated. Again, think of all those classic movies that you love. These ladies don’t get out of the shower and throw on a hat, right? They do their hair. For a vintage hat, your hairdo is almost as important as the hat itself. Now, this doesn’t mean that your hairstyle has to be time consuming or fancy. Take some time to look around and find a sleek style that you like, and can do in under 15 minutes. Again, if you get stumped, think of your favorite screen idols. Your hair can be sleek and shiny or curly and bouncy, but it should be fabulous whichever way you choose to go.

Thirdly, work your hat angles. A hat that is tilted can give off a completely different impression than a hat that is put on straight. If you get really creative, try one with a small veil to obscure your eyes and give you that air of mystery. Your hat angle can change based on your mood, or your outfit. Play with angles in the mirror and find the one that reflects you the most.

Once you’ve collected a hat or two, and tried out different hairstyles and angles, start thinking about wearing them to non-events. Try a small plain hat with a suit when you go to work, or buy one that matches your favorite long coat. If you get really brave, find one that reflects your mood and pair it with jeans and heels and a casual sweater. Again, think about your screen idols. What would Audrey wear to the grocery store to meet Gregory Peck in our modern age?

The ultimate secret to wearing vintage hats is really simple. Find a hat you love, and it will wear itself. Find a hat that speaks to you, and you’ll want to wear it all the time, modern clothing or not!

A Note From Julie of Fab Gabs

First, many, MANY thanks to Holly of Cottage Copy for her fabulous and enthusiastic contribution! This is a big step in actually making this blog something that well, you
want to read! Please visit her site!

Cottage Copy

I realize that my glamour style photos aren't exactly a great illustration of her point; but for me, those sort of clothes ARE my daily wear. I love and enjoy vintage hats, and love to see them on others, whether matched with modern trousers or a vintage dress.

All the pieces in the article are Coming Soon in my shop! Here's a few others you might like: