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Friday, February 1, 2013

Who Remembers Women's Hats of the 50s?

My latest novel, Second Time Around, started with women’s hats. I had this idea of writing about each particular hat a woman chose to wear at the time of important events in her life.
Thank goodness, more pondering made me realize that wasn't a  very good idea and eventually I came up with something a little less intimidating. But, at the time, I did dosome research and actually downloaded pictures of hats that I thought might provide inspiration.
Part of the story for Second Time Around takes place in Dallas, Texas in the 50s. I chose that time period because I lived there at the time and knew it would provide a familiar setting for the story. For my untraditional wedding in 1958, I wore a two-piece yellow knit dress and a red straw cloche.
This website I found gave a bit of information about hat styles of the 50s. Thought you’d find it interesting.

The appearance of 1950s hats really took shape in 1947. That’s when Christian Dior launched his New Look, which included a line of bowed hats in textured straw. As the 1950s dawned, the cloche seemed to evolve into the close hat, a head-hugging chapeau that usually went without a brim and was popularized by Lucille Ball on the “I Love Lucy” show. Fur hats in pillbox and mushroom cloche shapes used mottled chinchilla and bone-white rabbit to create a luxurious impression. In some circles, favorite wide-brimmed styles were the upturned portrait hats, some of which were almost two feet in length from brim to brim. http://www.collectorsweekly.com/hats/womens-1950s-hats

Second Time Around’s storyline may have taken a curve but I did incorporate a couple hats into the story.

“Thank goodness she’d decided to tuck in her evening hat. Well, actually it was a mere headband, velvet-covered, with matching bow nestled atop the hat’s puffy veil.”

“A gust of wind snatched at her red straw boater and sent it sailing. It tumbled, ribbons twirling, end over end, with Rob in chase.” Both references are in Chapter Six.

There may be more allusions to hats in the story that don't come to mind at the moment; at that time a woman didn’t go anywhere without a hat…and for more formal events like church, gloves were a regular part of the outfit. There are times I miss that era and sometimes I think the pendulum to informality has swung too far. Who agrees with me?

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