Saturday, March 16, 2013

hats off...or on

At Thursday’s chemo session I grabbed a copy of TLC, a catalog of women’s cancer accessories published by the American Cancer Society. It includes lots of hats like this:

Everything's coming up, I mean, generic flowers.
And turbans like this:

In this case, "royal" means "Come into my moldering mansion and watch silent films starring meeeee."
And wigs like this:

The "Amanda" wig. Don't hurt yourself on its pointy ends.
Okay, so the American Cancer Society is a nonprofit that does a lot of good work, and I would rather they put their resources into finding a cure for cancer than finding a cure for the humiliation-on-top-of-humiliation that is cancer fashion. But the latter is at least highly treatable, and I’m here to do my part.

Tip 1: Own it. In previous posts, I’ve discussed the cringe-y nature of anything that looks like it’s trying to pass. That’s why these models have got to go. I hate it when plus-sized fashions are modeled by regular-sized models—the size-double-zero models look lost in their baggy, pinned-up clothes, whereas size-twelve models would look healthy and unconfused. Similarly, the models above scream, I’m a twenty-nine-year-old dressed like a fifty-five-year-old who’s not letting cancer keep her from her job as an executive assistant.

Fashion is inherently aspirational, so I’m not suggesting we should employ actual sick people in these ads. I also don’t expect everyone to embrace a naked skull—there are matters of age, weather and head shape to consider.

Although if you do go the naked-head route, you might as well have fun with it.

Real tits (I think), fake spikes (I think).
But there’s a way to wear a hat or a scarf that doesn’t say, I’m desperately trying to convince you there’s hair under here. Why not take a cue from our Muslim sisters? I’ve long loved the way Malaysian girls mix prints: colorful, bold and not a strand of hair showing.

I know part of the point is to not look sexy...but I think they look totally sexy.
Tip 2: “Edgy” and “wacky” are not the same. A long time ago my sister told me I had a tendency to over accessorize; this was during my Rent days, when a typical look might include at least two layers of shirts, fingerless gloves, a big knot of friendship bracelets and silver earrings marching up the side of my ear as if making a pilgrimage to my favorite two-tone chenille hat.

Now I try to follow the “take one thing off” rule, but I also firmly believe that getting older shouldn’t mean all black plus one piece of tasteful jewelry. Some women negotiating this tricky balance fall victim to the Red Hat Society phenomenon—accessories that say, Just because I’m old, doesn’t mean I have to go quietly into that good night. In fact, I’ll TAP DANCE mah way there!

The tram might be one accessory too many.
This post by Carrie Leilam Love from the Ironing Board Collective archives (which I am clearly mourning, as evidenced by this post) showcases hats shaped like seashells, in colors like mahogany-and-teal, but their wearers maintain their dignity.

Like so:
Funky beanie + sober houndstooth = yes.
Even Easter colors work when the lines are clean, the fit is good and the background is downtown grit.
Tip 3: Learn from the pros. Some people (see Muslim ladies, above) wear hats and scarves all the time. They know how to do it without looking costume-y or over-accessorized or strangely surprised to find themselves under a hat, as if a flying saucer just landed on their head.

People like old-timey people:

I started streaming Meek's Cutoff last night. Their full-coverage bonnets help them spy on the men folk and prevent melanoma.
And hiker people:

I've been a bandana fan since my days as a UniCamp counselor. It's the best way to control fly-aways and screaming eight-year-olds.
And detectives and dames:

Suits always look good with hats.
And people who live where it’s hot:

This image keeps popping up in various episodes of Nat Geo's Taboo. But I don't see anything taboo about great makeup and Dr. Suess head pieces.
Can you tell I'm into the mixed prints thing?
Or cold:
These kids keep warm in the Andes with help from their Alpaca friends.
Don't worry, I'm sure this fur hat was sustainably raised and died of natural causes.
And animals (okay, animals don’t normally wear hats—but they look great, because they have the ultimate accessory: confidence):

Small hat, big presence.
Vogue meets Cheezburger.
You can get, like, a cheerleading outfit for your dog these days--but this guy keeps it cool with one simple accessory.
Her head is covered, but her tail is bald and proud.
Admiral Smoky McWhiskerton.
From the 2013 resort collection.
And finally, the hat so good-looking it grew right out of his head.


Claire said...

Excellent tips! I always used to wear baseball caps when I was working on film sets to keep the sun out of my eyes without needing to wear shades.

The chicken picture is great. I read a book full of crazy chicken photos last year and some of their head adornments are epic and/or epically strange. But they own it! :)

Cheryl said...

Chickens know where it's at.

Sizzle said...

The description of you during your Rent period is cracking me up. I am all for mixing patterns. I think that's trendy right now too? I don't know as I am not as hip as I used to be.

Cheryl said...

Totally trendy! Or so the kids on Polyvore tell me.