In honor of World Hat Day, we thought we would share this wonderful story, written by the Red Hat Society's Founder and Exalted Queen Mother Sue Ellen Cooper about how she discovered her first red hat. This is an excerpt from her book: The Red Hat Society Fun and Friendship After 50:
One evening, in the fall of 1997, my husband and I, both Californians, were visiting old friends who had moved to Tucson, Arizona. On this Friday night, in the "artsy" part of town, the shops were open, brightly lighted, and the street was full of strolling window-shoppers and diners. Among the shops was a thrift shop, the type of place that has always attracted me. You never know what treasure you might find in such a store, you know-- so much more exciting than "ordinary" shops. What does it say about me, that I would rather hunt for the prize than have it presented to me on a platter? Probably that I possess the notorious feminine gene for shopping.
There is was. Such a beautiful, brilliant color! Such a jaunty, devil-may-care attitude! Such a serendipitous find!
I didn't need it...
I had nowhere to wear it.
There was no good reason to buy it. This requirement that everything one does must be done for a "good reason" was ingrained in me from my childhood. One must have a good reason everything one does, don't you know?
I might look silly in it. (I guess there are worse things than looking silly.)
People might think I was weird when they saw me in it.
It would be an unnecessary expenditure. Surely that eight dollars could be put to better use. Waste not, want not!
It would have to be squashed in my suitcase to get it home.
Women don't wear hats anymore. I would be out of style.
Obviously, I thought, I should turn around, walk out of this thrift shop, and put that hat out of my mind. One must not indulge in flights of fancy. Who knows where that could lead? I might get totally out of control, and then, who knows what I might do?
On the other hand....
I was feeling lighthearted.
The little girl inside of me, who barely managed to survive, isolated in the closet, so to speak, for years, was begging me to buy it. (Usually, I managed to drown out her pleas.)
It might be justifiable to give myself just this one teensy-weensy treat.
It probably wouldn't matter to anyone else one way or another. Generally speaking, people are concerned primarily with themselves. It was unlikely they would be interested in my finances or apparel.
I could wear it "just for tonight." If it turned out to be a terrible mistake, I could always quietly dispose of the hat.
I found myself standing in front of the cash register, digging into my wallet. Before I knew it, that bright red fedora was perched on my head, dipping daringly below one eyebrow. As far as I know, I caused no one a moment's pause. The sky did not fall. The only real result was that I experienced some moments of genuine pleasure and managed to surprise myself a bit. (Maybe I am a little less dull than I thought.)
We love this story, and we were inspired to share it after so many Members posted pictures of themselves in their hats on the Red Hat Society's Facebook page. We've included some collages of these pictures below. Enjoy!
Do you have a photo or story you would like to share? Post it on our Facebook page or leave it in the comments below!