Saturday, September 16, 2017
As a fashion accessory, hats have become one of the trickier options, for men as much as for women. It’s widely considered to be a rather eccentric part of the package we call outfit.
Once been a protective coverage, blocking heat and rain, as well as other threads to the sensitive head, the hat rose to become a flattering style element and finally was a hit- fashion item.
So why did hats disappear from our culture; our everyday life? Some people say the roots of this big shift in appearance, lie in the lack of necessity to cover the head. Due to the increased use of owned cars, instead of public transportation, men for example, did not feel the need anymore to constantly leave the house with a topping on their well-groomed hair.
And there is another reason to be found, deep in the fingertips of men and ladies who would rapidly cut back on their millinery-days: Was it common to clean your scalp once a week, washing your hair in increasing intervals, now made the habit of covering the beautiful and well-scented result obsolete.
The demise of formality may be as well a big reason for our almost hat-free society. Who would guess nowadays, that it was once even considered subversive, when a woman decided not to wear a head piece, as the common forms of etiquette required her to carry a hat in grace and acceptance of her place and role in life.
Transforming the imagination of men greeting by quickly lifting their hats, or women waving with theirs in sheer excitement into the here and now, seems almost comic. Then again, I have just recently witnessed a scene like that: A man in his early thirties who wore a laid back outfit, completed with a hat, that he tipped on twice as a gesture of friendliness, as he let a lady get ahead of him in line at the grocery store.
And I wondered: Why did this moment make me feel so warm and fuzzy? The lady smiled in delight, and none of this looked odd, or silly.
Then I realized that it was the way he carried himself, wearing this long gone fashion statement, that let everyone around him know how little important their understanding of proper looks was to him. Nothing in this man said ‘Look at me!’… ‘I am so different, I need to make it official’. All he did was just be. And be with pride and calmness.
That is the key, I thought. People in our time and age have often lost the ability to carry themselves with grace, which makes aspects of you that stand out, exactly what let you look harmonic.
Instead, showing off a hat that is not worn right on the beach or even presented in the city on a warm fall day, would be too ‘intense’ for many of us. As we have silently accepted that the risk to over-accessorize in our society seems worse, than to fade into the grey wall behind us. In fact, compared to past decades, our style has on too many occasions become as exciting as a wallpaper in a broom closet.
Up to the 1980s, ladies would enjoy their hats, often completed by matching handbags, shoes and gloves.
As Joan Collins first appeared in the hit-series Dynasty (1981-1989), she wore a big hat that first covered her immaculately made-up face, before the viewer got the first glimpse of the future bitch-goddess she played so well. Producer Aaron Spelling did get the intensity of that moment immediately, and said: 'Put hats on her, put a lot of hats on her!' And the millinery-marathon began, as thousands of women watching the series, got inspired by Alexis’ style manoeuvres.
Today, the hat has a little comeback that implies that it was never really gone, but still a thing for either super young fashionistas, or eccentric contemporaries. But as fashion trends also change as quickly as the weather in London, a revival of this simple, yet flattering item is in sight. I’m already waving with my hat, to welcome the trend back in our midst.
Friday, September 1, 2017
Growing up in a farm town near the Baltic Sea in Germany, was an experience full of adventures, created by us kids in our own little cosmos. In our eyes, the fields became the wild desert, explored by horse. A small farm became a giant ranch to be taken care of.
Although I personally did not live on one, I spent many of my teen days with my friends on working farms, helping and being with animals, which was the best part of it all.
There was this old farmer, who we made a deal with: If we help cleaning out the stables and gathering in the harvest, we would be allowed to jump from a high point of the timbered framework, into the haystacks. And since money wasn’t half as interesting at this age as that prospect, we agreed.
After a long day of gathering the crops I heard every bone in my body yelling at me. Yet, jumping into the giant haystacks was the highlight of the summer. We screamed and giggled, climbed up to the beam again and dived into the itchy material again, like Scrooge McDuck into his money.
I am not exactly sure if our parents would have approved of these risky adventures, but we kept the focus on our labour and how wonderful the nature was, when talking about our farm days at home.
These beautiful memories come back every time I dress (up) for a weekend or day in the countryside.
Back in the days, I actually wore jeans and t-shirts, sometimes with holes in them, from playing; rider boots and my hair gathered in a messy ponytail.
Nowadays my interpretation of a vintage country style leans a lot more into the 1940s and 50s.
A soft skirt and blouse, button up dresses and cozy pants, provide the perfect country-feeling with little effort.
Today, I don’t explore the world on a horse anymore, nor have I yet found a farmer who would let me jump into his haystacks. (And I assume this would lead to even more risky situations than back then.)
But there are still days that bring back these memories quite vividly, when the sunset dips flora and fauna into a warm, golden blanket of colors. And the apple trees let me harvest their precious fruits while the cows friendly gather in a half-circle. Yes, they do that. Cows are smart and wonderful animals. So are pigs and geese…
I can’t wait for the next time I can dress up for a visit to my childhood, enjoying a few hours of peace, merging with nature. Then my batteries will be recharged for some time at a place that is far from that reality. My desk.
"...Don't sit under the apple tree, with anyone else but me..."
Vintage dress with rose print & sandals