September 20, 2008

Hats at Mount Clare

One of the very first posts I did was about the historic house, Mount Clare Mansion, just a few blocks from where I live. The house museum is run by the Society of Colonial Dames in America of Maryland, of which my mother is one. They have exhibits throughout the year, and the newest one, Hats Off to History, just opened this week. And the best part is that Mount Clare has free admission for everyone during October.
I was lucky enough to be invited over for a tour and tea this afternoon and it was a great exhibit. Mount Clare is fortunate to have much of the original furnishings from the house and even some of the clothes from the Revolutionary War-era owners. The exhibit traces the history of hats for both men and women, in the Carroll family who owned the house, and in Baltimore, which was known for its hat-making industry.
The decline of hat-wearing for men dates from 1960 when John Kennedy was inaugurated and didn't wear a hat, even though the day was bitter cold. And while Jacqueline Kennedy was known for her pill-box hats, women stopped wearing hats by the mid-1960's.
In the UK, there are still many hat-wearing occasions, including Royal Ascot, where both men and women are expected to wear hats. At weddings, almost all the women wear hats, and there are even hat agencies where you can rent a hat to match your outfit. That's very handy when you're flying from the US for a wedding!
I love a nice straw boater. They're just so classic, and remind me of my "brother-in-law", M, who looks great in one!Everyone was asked to wear a hat and one woman really got in the spirit by wearing a vintage dress, with gloves and a great 50's style handbag.
Someone else had a wonderful vintage handbag which she'd left on the table. I thought the bag and sunglasses looked so classic, so I snapped a shot of this vignette.
I have a few hats that I like - a pink straw hat, a rough weave straw hat, a polar-fleece glen plaid hat and a great rain hat. Oh... and a baseball cap or two! Do you wear hats?


  1. How fun! I love hats and wear them...straw, baseball, felt, whatever! My mother still wears big statement hats for special events.

  2. only when it is very cold

  3. Meg -- great photographs in the last two posts. I love the shot you took looking through the window. Such a pretty fence.

  4. I LOVE hats. There are 10 hat boxes on display in my sitting room (they store summer and winter), baseball caps and summer crushables are in the armoire, about 8 summer straw hats are on shelves in the closet and a dresser drawer is packed with berets and winter woolies.

    I have a couple that are big statement hats and one that is handmade felt with a fabulous matching scarf.

    The purse and sunglass photo is great — what a combo and what a perfect image to snap at such an event.

  5. I love the look of hats, but hate wearing them. I always think they're itchy! Part of me thinks I don't like wearing them because as a child I was always TOLD to wear one.....don't tell me what to do! haha
    That said, hats are a tradition I would like to see again.

  6. I always worry about "hat hair" when I wear hats, but I love them!

    I was at the Farmers' Market yesterday and someone commented that I wasn't wearing a hat!

  7. I LOVE hats too! Ever since I decorated a Louise Green form for my wedding day, hats have always held a very special place in my heart. I wish we all still wore hats as everyone did before the sixties. We would inhabit a much more civilized world. When I wera a hat, a stand straighter and say 'please' and 'thank you' much more readily.

  8. I hadn't anticipated going to the tea, so I didn't dress up or wear a great hat. You can see it HERE.

  9. Do I wear hats? I am KNOWN for my hats. Love them. I have gloves too. :x

  10. Love wearing berets in the winter. Hate wearing any hats in the summer--even though I try to wear some sort of sun hat at the beach. Looks like a really interesting exhibition.

  11. When I was in Edinburgh, I couldn't help but take pictures of the hat display at Jenner's. Two ladies were kind enough to model for me. My one regret is not trying any on myself.

  12. They just don't suit me. I keep trying though. I know one day I will find a style that does.

  13. Love that vintage handbag w/the sunglasses. Interesting hats - enjoyed reading about them.

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