It was mostly about headgear yesterday. Posh headgear. Not cycling helmets or berets or straw boaters or little transparent plastic rainhoods the like of which my nan always used to have handy in her bag in case of a sudden rainshower.

It was important that those little rainhoods were transparent. I mean, you pay all that money for a purple rinse so people should jolly well be able to admire it,  even in the hardest rain or tumult.

I’ve quite liked headgear since my school boater (yes I still have it.. Every time I find it unexpectedly in the attic, I can’t bear to throw it away). The boater was traditional thick straw weave with a band of my school colours – drab bottle green and grey – around the crown.

It was a rite of passage every year at the end of May to get rid of the awful bottle green skirt, white shirt, green stripy tie, grey cardigan and black shoes and put on the green and cream check summer dress with brown sandals, short white socks and the boater. We all suddenly looked very summery and the pretty ones looked prettier. Not that anyone actually *wore* the boater. It was quite uncomfortable perched on the head and refused in any way to relent or mould in the slightest to the shape of your skull. If you were a complete dork, you’d use the elastic strap under the chin to ensure it stayed put, but in five years, I didn’t see anyone do that. It was just a cool thing to carry round – and most importantly no other schools in the near vicinity had them.

Trying on hats was always an integral part of a shopping day out with my dear departed mumsie. We’d trawl John Lewis and spend at least half an hour in Hats, pretending we were going to something tremendously stylish and trying on.

She would go for the Audrey Hepburn type hat, smaller and chic, while I looked better in something wide-brimmed enough to cast a shadow over the Isle of Wight. We would invariably try completely unsuitable hats in the process, causing helpless guffaws and sniggerings.  Berets were a case in point.  Mumsie could wear a beret and look as though she’d just stepped out to buy du pain from a Parisian market.  I looked like Bennie Hill.

But I’m not going to wear a boater to no2 son’s wedding, or a hat. I want something a bit different and individual. No it’s not going to look like the carved chairback that Princess Beatrice wore to the royal wedding but it’s going to be fun putting together ideas involving silk, twirly things, feathers perhaps and I might even venture some netty stuff.

I’ve spoken to a woman who can do wonderful things with twirly things, silk and feathers, although she knows the proper names for it all.

I was thinking of something bigger than a fascinator (I always thought The Fascinator would be a tremendously exciting sequel to The Terminator but featuring Beyonce as a SuperHero with extravagant headwear who could taser people using only her ass). It would be a fraction smaller than an average hat and would not gradually slide down my head, ending up just south of my left ear.

“I’m thinking netty dinner plate size with squirls, and petals and perhaps some sticky-out feathers….?”  I started off.

“I’ve just done a lilac-pink disc crammed with roses and finished with two quills and a butterfly,” she said.

I would point-blank refuse to wear any species of Lepidoptera or, knowingly, any members of Insectivora,  but in general terms she seemed to be describing more articulately, the kind of thing I was imagining.

I thought “I can work with this woman.”

So in the meantime before we get down to a serious chat, I will doodle some designs and look for ideas. I might even paint some. I have the gouache. I have the paper.  I have the dress already. It’s purple. I have beautiful purple shoes. It’s possible the two could be worn together.

So I’ve begun preliminary investigations, starting with Philip Treacey as he is the Lord High Emperor of Contemporary Headgear.

This is amazing Isabella Blow, sadly deceased, late of this county, wearing a Philip Treacy with the necessary panache.

Elvish lives.  Not the King,  Lord of the Rings Elvish.

The world is your lobster.

The exploded starling look.  She’s not miserable. Just traumatised.

I like this but it’s probably too Tiller Girls for a wedding – a kind of Roman Candle in feathers.

Mmm. I do like this but has that flower been overdosed on growth-enhancers?  Plus, she has cheekbones. That makes a big difference. Bee-atch.

Not quite sure what this is about and although it’s vaguely reminiscent of a sparrowhawk’s dinner it looks pretty good on the lovely Kate.


About janh1

Part-time hedonist.
This entry was posted in Art, Current Affairs, Cycling and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

17 Responses to Headgear

  1. valzone says:

    Oh, great post Jan. Hats, especially those of the wonderful, but totally daft Phillip Treacey, have taken centre stage since the wedding, these here couldn’t be more dafter, in my opinion. By the way, checkmate, I too wore a straw boater at school…although, when I say I wore it? …….
    I do like wearing hats, and do wear them regularly , although my daily head gear is of the peaked cap variety, even the masculine flat cap is amongst my collection. When the occasion requires something special, I have to go searching the shops, but, even if I could afford it, it wouldn’t be a Phillip Treacey. Good fun though Jan.

    • janh1 says:

      Ah-ha! You were a boater girl too Val? Maybe they set you up for a lifetime of headgear! 😉

      I like hats a lot but rarely get the opportunity to wear them, apart from a cap on holidays and bad hair days. I’m looking forward to being an old bat who wears a fur hat while driving the car.

  2. cb says:

    how about a beret avec a sliced loaf tucked under one arm. give things a continental feel, but not too much.

  3. IsobelandCat says:

    We had panamas in summer, and bright red blocked felt things in winter. Part of the uniform check was the plastic rainhood which none of us would have bee seen dead wearing.
    My local adult ed college does hat making as an evening class. Perhaps you you design and make your own?

    • janh1 says:

      A rainhood, at school? I thought there was a law that you couldn’t wear one until you were 65.

      Much as it would be fun to design and make my own, I fear it would end up looking like a donkey’s breakfast. I tried on a feathery fascinator today – it made me look like Orville with a purple rinse.

  4. I think I prefer hats (with big feathers and bits of net) to fascinators, but I have a rather large head so have to try a lot of hats to find one that fits.

    You will have to post pictures of the finished article 😀

  5. janh1 says:

    As I mentioned above, I went to a shop in Winchcombe after work, where I tried on a few things including a straw hat which was enormous and decorated with flowers. It’s size meant that in church, I’d need a whole pew to myself – either that or people would have to huddle underneath it. Hilarious and impractical for indoors but fantastic for Ascot!!

  6. janh1 says:

    Going to have to tone down my headgear ideas although I could still do netty. Now have a different dress and jacket, with a pattern. But goes very well with purple Beautiful Shoes.

  7. Are you able to take the last dress back for a refund? Or are you going to end up with multiple outfits? 😛

  8. Of course you’re entitled. Even if you bought 100 dresses a year, women are always entitled 😀

  9. janh1 says:

    Excellent news! 😀

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