I was taking a break, listening to the wind in the cottonwoods and looking at the contrast of red cliffs and blue New Mexico sky, when I was drawn to the shape of the hat on the wooden table. So I stood above it and snapped this shot.
I have heard that the styles we favor as we hit early adulthood tend to stick with us. If so, this may explain why I still prefer long skirts. And I really like hats. This despite the fact that I tend to look like a mushroom in broad brimmed hats, my favorite. I have a great many hats of all types of brim and fabric, and they all have wonderful memories stitched into them.
It started when I was a little girl. My mom had a couple hat boxes with her favorites of the early 50"s that my sister and I were allowed to play with. I don't know anything about hats, so I don't know the technical name for the style (pillbox?), but I remember a couple with little veils you could pull down over your eyes (not sure why you want to do this, but it seemed to work for Doris Day, even Jackie Kennedy) and a couple that were layered with feathers and would just fit over the crown of your head. I liked the hat box, too, that wonderful round shape, full of mysterious things to wear, emblematic of my mother's mysterious youth---although I had some vague memories (or photos) of her wearing these hats.
Men used to wear hats everywhere, back in the day. My grandfather wore a fedora before I knew him. Then somewhere in the 40's he switched to Stetson, felt or straw. My other grandfather wore a Panama hat. Fine hats. My dad wore different uniform caps or hats. I was always puzzled by those uniform fabric hats that folded into flat rectangles and then were pulled out for a jaunty (but now odd-seeming) stand -up brimless hat.
Other than the aviator's cap with the goggles that I always loved (and made one for myself for a "Come As You Want to Be" party I attended in high school as Amelia Earhart) I prefer hats with brims.
In college it was de rigueur to have a leather hat--- to go with the moccasins and leather vests and fringed leather bag--- and I wish I had kept my hat, but it was really hot.
One Easter visiting friends in New York City, we all bought wide- brimmed black felt hats in Greenwich Village Saturday night, then walked in the Easter parade uptown the next morning, and a grand parade of hats that was.
Oh, the hats. My long time favorite is my River Hat. I bought it in Old Town Albuquerque just before my first trip rafting the Colorado through the Grand Canyon. I bought it for its tightly woven wide brim and leather chin tie, so I wouldn't lose it in the rapids. Plus it was like having a personal tree for shade. That hat did lots of rafting and shading over the years and while nicely worn, it shows no signs of wearing out. I spent hours doing a pastel drawing of it one afternoon in Colorado, lovingly attending to the curves and textures of it, remembering canyon wrens, good friends and wild rapids in a cold river.
The only downside of the River Hat is it is hard to fly with, so I have had a succession of packable straw hats for painting trips, et al. They have been hard to break in, though. A good hat can be hard to find.
So last August I was back in Albuquerque, with need of both shade and loose weave for painting in the desert around Abiquiu. I found the Stetson above. It was perfect for the job, its bright white straw quickly weathered by the red dust and a few touches of cerulean and yellow ochre.