Archive for the ‘vintage hats’ Tag

The Purple Finger Rides Again….and lands squarely in “hat-dom”.   Leave a comment

I am happy to report that the purple finger acquired on my last antiquing safari is finally starting to look and feel more like an actual human digit, rather than the multi-colored  gherkin it has resembled for the last six days.  I think there’s hope for it.

So it was with the knowledge yesterday that there was to be a large area antiques show and sale practically right around the corner from my home, and the belief that:

a.) antiquing provides a chance to see a bit of history up close,

b.) antiquing on a frequent basis is a way to train one’s eye to spot the “good” pieces from the “not-so-good” pieces,

and c.) antiquing, as proven last week, has the mysterious power to feed the soul and heal the purple fingers,

..that I set out early in the morning to visit said show.

The building that housed the event was large…very large, with another set of heavy doors.  Doors that looked as if they were lying in wait for any unsuspecting hand or finger they could grab.  Luckily, as I approached them, a gentleman old enough to be my grandfather held the dastardly doors open for me and I hastily slipped through, keeping the purple finger and all his neighbors safely inside my coat pocket.  If a finger can give “the finger”,  I’m sure the purple finger gave “it” to the door as we passed by…..but of course I wouldn’t know.  My fingers are usually quite well-behaved in public.  And I was rather more intent on seeing what treasures were on the other side of that door that would spark my enthusiasm.

Well, as it turns out, there was plenty to spark my enthusiasm, but little that was actually affordable…unless one had a couple thousand dollars worth of disposable cash floating around in one’s wallets that day.  I saw pairs of Staffordshire dogs for the mantle, beautiful burl wood chests,  genuine early 19th century portraits done by itinerant artists, antique crystal, silver, flow blue china, and plenty of large old transferware pieces, and the most gargantuan andirons I have ever seen.   Where oh where were the chickens and kitsch, I asked myself?  There appeared to be a little bit of fine costume jewelry tucked in here and there, but otherwise it was a rather “hoity-toity” affair……until I spied one forlorn old Good Housekeeping magazine under a pile of books in the corner of one of the back booths!  My interest peaked, I uncovered it to reveal the year…1952….mid-century….I knew it could hold great photos and illustrations.  I asked the price.  “Oh that?” said the boothkeeper. “That was in the bottom of one of our boxes, and I just put it there to get it out of the way.  You can have it for two dollars.”    Well, that was all I needed to hear!  I handed over my whopping two dollars and all the secrets of the mid-century good housekeeper were instantly mine!  And look…it promised a big article on hats!

That was my big purchase at the show.   While others were spending their thousands, I had my little two dollar magazine.  But it delivered on its promise…many good photos, wonderful illustrations and funny old ads…and the hat article makes you realize how much thought and attention was given to overall personal appearance back in the day. Even when one was casually dressed, one was still supposed to appear polished. I like that.  I also like those big hat boxes that apparently came with many store-bought hats!  I remember my grandmother had some, and I suspect that my mother did as well.

Here’s an example from the article about hats and face shapes, along with a rather pretty, very feminine hat.  This style is for the “pear-shaped face”.  If you can read the text, it’s interesting and at times funny….

Here’s another hat specifically for oval-shaped faces…..also very feminine with flowers.  Note the gloves too!

And this page shows the many steps to a good appearance as well as how to work with hats to fit and flatter.  Looking finished and put together was of utmost importance…..

I also came across this old clip touting the hair artistry of one of the mid-century hair stylists.  Not sure I’d have let him near my hair!  I love birds, but I’m not sure I’d love “The Parakeet”!  HA!  Here it is, just for a laugh..

Bad puns and all!!

Enjoy your day.  I think I’m going to make sure I look polished when I go out the door today…no parakeet feathers though.

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Of Bonnets and Spring Hats   Leave a comment

Today’s wet and rather dreary weather is tempered with a good old-fashioned cup of tea.  In my particular case,  since I’m still sporting some battle scars from my recent digestive free fall,  I’m relying on some newly purchased chamomile  and lavender tea to soothe my soul.  Drinking herbs and flowers sounds like a good alternative right about now, since I’m certainly not seeing any of them out in the garden yet!

At any rate, as mentioned yesterday, today’s quest was to seek out some visual curiosities in the world of women’s headwear, i.e. hats.  Hats that somehow covered or enhanced all those hair extravaganzas I came upon in yesterday’s visual trip down memory lane….not my memory lane of course, but someone about a hundred years older than myself.  The little numbers below are from a slightly later date than the hairstyles previously mentioned, but as hair was still fairly complicated in the 1880’s and 1890’s, I think they will qualify.  However….they only get bigger and better after these….

Having new articles of clothing at Easter is a custom that shows up in documents from as far back as the late 16th century.  Wearing a new outfit for this important time of year symbolized a renewal, the beginning of a new year and spiritual renewal as well.  The wearing of flowers also represented Spring and the rebirth of the year, so it seems natural that flowers and bonnets would find a common home…in this case, on a lady’s head!

In fact, there is early documentation that it was even considered ill luck not to have some new clothing at Easter….so of course any self respecting lady could not possibly go without at least a small article of something new!  So why not a wonderful and gregarious (if hats can be called gregarious, which I think they can) hat!  And why not just segue right into June with the same theme!  Why..but of course mes amis!  Voila!  June 1898!

Frankly, I don’t blame the ladies at all.  I think that I would have been one of the wearers of those hats, and after seeing all the wonderful vintage millinery materials still out there on Etsy sites and the like, I might even be tempted to try to construct a hat at some point in my life.  Maybe it runs in the blood.  My father told me that we had milliners in our family a few generations ago.  Perhaps they were constructing some of these very designs.  Food for thought while I take another sip of tea….

And leave you with some  Easter postcard images….and yes indeed, a couple of Easter hats have sneaked their way in too!

Long live hats!  Even if no one wears them any more!  They still inspire me!

And many thanks to www.costumes.org for some of the neat hat images!