Hat People

I have been looking for some sort of summer hat. In my daydreams, a floppy-brimmed sunhat does the trick nicely. I went as far as to visit a hat store a few weeks ago, plucking hat after hat off the racks and, inevitably, sighing and returning hat after hat back where it belonged – far away from my head. The last hat I tried on could have, I think, been perfect – but in the end I returned that one to the shelf, too. I wondered if it would be the sort of thing I bought while feeling hopeful and brave and then, once I was at home and faced with actually having to wear it out into the world, would chicken out.

I bought a hat this past winter. It was a little burgundy cloche and, at the time, it seemed like a nice way to ease myself into the hat world – it wasn’t too conspicuous, and it made me feel pretty classy. I wore it often and I felt stylish more than I ever felt uneasy. But, even then, every time I stepped out the door I was suddenly acutely aware of the fact that very few people wear hats anymore. My philosophy when it comes to fashion is, generally, not to care too much about what other people think – but where hats are concerned, maybe because hat wearing seems like some sort of lost art, I can’t help it. I care.

I think my obsession may have begun with my hat-wearing neighbour. I visited with her one night last fall, and watched in awe as she pulled hat after hat out of her closet, full of stories about where they came from and where she wore them and who she was with when it happened. I was amazed at how, decades and decades later (she is well into her seventies), every hat was still in excellent shape. I kept thinking, I wonder if I’ll ever be able to do this with my grandchildren (or grand-neighbours, as the case may be). I decided then and there that I was going to become a hat person. But it’s proving to be more of a challenge than I thought.

As far as my elusive summer hat goes, my most recent decision on the matter is this: I am going to ease myself into things all over again. I have started with the headscarf. So far, it’s working out rather well. Headscarves, too, are a form of headgear I’ve always admired from afar but been a bit wary of trying out on my own. But, depending on the day, a scarf makes me feel like a pirate or a biker or bohemian or some terrifyingly awesome combination of the three. I could get used to this.

And, if I can get used to this, I will get used to a sunhat, too.

It may take a while, but I’ll become a hat person yet. Just wait.

- Hailey Siracky