Friday, April 9, 2010

Dress-up and Old Hats

What is it about girls and dress-up? Little girls carrying purses as big as they are, sporting long dresses that fall off at both shoulders and whose hems are tripped over each step, even though the young wearer uses her free hand to hold up one side.

It's beautiful, really. And I'm not the only one who has thought so. I remember reading Grandma's Attic and Little Women, wishing I had the same selection of shawls, lovely gowns and fans... even the corsets sounded like great fun. And we haven't gotten to the hoops. Who of Arleta Richardson's readers doesn't remember Sarah Jane and Mabel's adventures with the old hoops they found in one of their attics? I vividly remember my Mom reading that story out loud to us for the first time because she laughed so hard while reading it that she had tears running down her face. :-)

But it isn't only the authors who have immortalized little girls dressing up, many artists have captured the innocent fun and glory of the brief time we have as children. And for most of us, some of that time is parading around in Mom's or Grandma's old clothes. Scattering shoes as we go and getting our trains stuck as we go around a corner.

[Note to newer mothers: never let dress-up girls around anything that's glass. The girls are innocent but the clothes have a mean sense of humor.]

Norman Rockwell and Paula Vaughn are two artists I especially think of when the words “dress-up” come to mind. Both artists' work is excellent but in different ways: Norman Rockwell caught the innocence and the humor of it; Paula Vaughn caught the dreaminess, sweetness and beauty. Both understood how vital dress-up is for little girls... and boys, in some cases. :-)

Now me, well, I'm still not quite an adult. I haven't got that solemn, mature aura that exudes from those fortunate beings. No... not really, I'm afraid. I'm quite in love with dressing up and I've just had a wee bit of a taste of how in love I am.

You've heard me mention “Ladies Time Out”, an outreach of our church for ladies in the neighborhood. This year, it's about the 50's and people from our church are all trying to scrounge for everything they have from that era. (My Grandma is bringing her wedding dress!) I was talking to our neighbor about it and she said that her grandmother saved everything she ever wore. Instantly, I was all ears.

1: How does anybody do that? [When I'm finished wearing something, it's because it's falling apart at the seams.]
2: Could I please borrow anything she might have had from the 50's?

Our neighbor said, of course and just recently, she sent over a bagful of lovely hats. I am in heaven. :-D And so are my little sisters and one of my brothers (Hannah, Ellie, Lydia and Martha are excluded from that number, being inducted into the grown-up sphere long ago) (Jesse and Zeke... well, what can I say?). This morning, I decided that Ruth, Uriah and I were going to have a photo shoot with these hats just in case there is someone else out there who likes them as much as we do. I have two I especially like... a cream one (my favorite) and a black velvet one.

Most of these hats, to my surprise, were made to be worn resting on top of a bun or twist. I find that charming... I hadn't thought of hats being made that way since the early 1900's. I love wearing these hats. The way they shape to the head, with the netting daintily falling over over the eyes and gently brushing the bridge of my nose makes me feel very feminine. The hats of this time are also very demure. I've never cared for hats that have huge brims... for all of their usefulness in keeping the sun off, they simply scream, “Look at me!” But the 50's hats, if worn with the proper apparel, allows the wearer to feel attractive but not as if she were the attraction.

We took some of our pictures downstairs, then Ri and Ruth went outside to play, so I decided to go upstairs and use a mirror to help me take some self photographs. Lydia has a junk fan in her room that lets the air be circulated. It's so wimpy that it isn't a problem... usually. I've always gone around it before but this time, with my arms full of hats and camera, I got tangled up in it. I stopped the fan and me. It shredded the deluxe President's Choice white plastic bag I had the hats in and somehow almost broke my big toe. I'm still not sure what happened, other than my toe still hurts and by the time I finally managed to make it upstairs (I hate those stairs!) I was crying/laughing because 1: it hurt so bad and 2: it was so ridiculous. Pure Naomi. You do not want to be me. Lol!

[Note to self: when arms are full and in vicinity of fan, refrain from going about stocking-footed on cement floor.]

But I recovered sufficiently to pose and take pictures of myself. The fact that none of them are phenomenal shots can be blamed on my suffering member. Aren't the hats darling though? :-)

Does anyone have a favorite era of hats? Do you get to wear hats on a regular basis? Can you order hats new from somewhere or do they all come from our grandmother's attics? Does anyone else out there over the age of 20 like to play dress-up? :-) :-)

Now, I must digress. If it wasn't for the fact that I have so many young siblings who love to dress-up, it wouldn't be half so much fun for me to act immature. :-) But I'm so glad I have I have a chance to have fun like this. Not many people have been given the gift I have been given: 10 brothers and sisters who love me in spite of me. :-)


Jenni said...

My favorite kind of hats are berets, tams, or generally 'slouchy' hats. :) My personal favorite hat is my black w/ grey flecked beret that I knitted. :) (link to pictures: )

You and your sibs are funny, Naomi. :)

Cheri said...

What fun! You wear that style of hat very well, too, if I might add! ;)

Jessica said...

Sounds fun Naomi! This year, my youngest sister Katie is having a toenail painting party for her 10th birthday. She's invited me and Remember and I'm looking forward to an evening full of sharing the fun of dress-up with my sisters and my little girl. :)

Naomi said...

Oooh, Jenni! I love slouch hats, too. :) I'll have to look up that link. Thanks for sharing.

Aw, thanks, Cheri! :)

Jess, ya'll have a ton of fun there. There's nothing like being girly. :)

Anonymous said...

What fun! I must admit that I'm not a hat fun but looking at your photos and reading all about them was fun! :)

bekah said...

What fun! I have never really had the opportunity to dress up in old hats, etc. but when I was little, I had a few old bridesmaids dresses that I wore, accompanied by my Mom's wedding boquet (sp?) and fancy shoes! :) And your article once again made me laugh. :)

Well I am sure a lot of people don't realize just how beautiful things like rosehips, weeds, thistles, or chives can be! :P Unti you pull out a camera and start shooting close ups. * giggle*

Singing Pilgrim said...

I love dress up too. My favorite hats to where are probably berets, but I don't really discriminate. Except baseball caps. I look awful in baseball caps, but they're not exactly dress up anyway.

Naomi said...

I love berets!!

Anonymous said...

i love those kind of hats and dresing up