When the weather is frigid, and the snow just keeps on coming, and there’s at least six more weeks of winter, if we’re lucky. Well, a girl has to do something to survive. Psychologically speaking.

I’m sick to death of my sweaters, most of them anyway, and my ski wear. I’m in need of some major fashion diversion, but it would be too cruel to start dreaming of spring already.  So, as I pedal my exercise bike on days when it’s too cold to ski, or it’s freezing rain and entirely too miserable to go out, I’ve been dreaming of hats. 

And perusing my Pinterest board dedicated to hats. Vintage hats, high fashion hats straight from the catwalk, edgy urban hats, dressy ladylike hats, casual berets, lovely cloches, cool fedoras. Whatever. All headgear welcome. Except for toques. No toques allowed. I see enough of those already.

woman in a 1920s style cloche


All week I’ve been thinking about hats, and reading about hats, and looking at hats. Gorgeous 1920s style cloches, like the one Michelle Dockery as Lady Mary Crawley in Downton Abbey is wearing, above. She looks divine, doesn’t she? This whole outfit is so chic, I wish I could just magic it off the page and into my closet.  
Audrey Hepburn in a green hat
And this hat , above, worn by Audrey Hepburn in the 1957 film Funny Face. I wish I could wear a hat as well as Audrey did. Now, would this hat be called a bucket hat, do you think? Lampshade, maybe? Ha. I love it whatever it’s called.
model in a cream sweater and a cream newsboy hat
Then there’s this creamy, Chanel newsboy hat from Karl Lagerfeld’s 2017-18 “Métiers d’art Paris-Hamburg” show. You can watch a video of the show here, if you’re interested. I adore this hat. We call it a cabbie hat where I come from. 
models in blue outfits and black leather berets
Leather berets at the Dior Fall-Winter 2017- 2018 show   source

And while I’m not necessarily a fan of the leather beret, which reminds me too much of Marlon Brando, I am a fan of the beret in general. And based on this shot from the Fall-Winter 2017-18 Dior show, the beret is back. That makes me happy because I own a couple of berets. Including this vintage one, below, which I’ve shown on the blog before. 

woman in a cream sweater, plaid scarf and a brown beret
And I own a newsboy/cabbie hat as well. I bought this orange hat in Fredericton during the winter of 1983 when I was back in New Brunswick for a year supply teaching. I remember that winter as long, and somewhat discouraging, and this bright hat, with the matching scarf and mittens, picked up my spirits no end, and made me feel fierce. And trust me if you’re a newbie supply teacher on winter playground duty, you need to be fierce. Because… ah… snowball fights. So you see, hats were making me happy even way back then. 
woman in an orange newsboy hat and scarf
This beautiful summery confection worn by my friend Rosie at her daughter Jessica’s wedding in France last year makes me happy just looking at it. Rosie showed me this photo last fall, the morning we had coffee when I was in Stratford. I love Rosie’s soft grey dress with the cream shawl. So chic. And that hat is perfection. Jessica looks adorable too, don’t you think? 
woman in a cream fascinator, grey lace dress and cream shawl, with young woman in a wedding dress
Photo courtesy of Rosemary Cook
Thinking of hats in general, ones I covet, and ones I already own, sends me digging into the stash of hats in my spare room. Some of which I’ve never shown on the blog before. Mostly because I never, ever wear them. So the other day when the snow stopped, and the sun shone, and the blue sky beckoned, I ventured out in this lovely creation. I bought this little bowler hat in a wonderful shop called Oddacity Designs in Bear River, Nova Scotia, many moons ago. It’s a bowler style, black felt covered in khaki and black pattered satin, with a black tulle hat band and a fetching little tulle bow on the side. 
woman in a green and black bowler hat, a green scarf and a black sweater
I dream of wearing this hat with a deep forest green, fifties-style woollen skirt suit, with a short fitted jacket, a full midi-skirt, and black knee high boots. And since I don’t own anything remotely like that, I had to make do with my Lafayette 148 jacket, my black Vince leggings, and this double-faced green, turquoise, and soft brown animal print scarf. 
woman in black pants and jacket and a bowler hat, outside on a sunny winter day
It was a gorgeous afternoon when I took these shots, but sadly, not conducive to getting a great picture of my hat. The front lawn with the frozen river in the background would have been nice, but it was knee deep in snow. Our little street was awash in rock salt underfoot, and a surprisingly large number of very unscenic wires overhead. Who knew all these impediments existed before one started blogging? 
Still if it’s scenic I want, it doesn’t get much more scenic than the little town of Bear River where I bought my hat. I happened upon it one day when Hubby and I were travelling in Nova Scotia in the nineties. Early one morning, I dropped Hubby off at the golf course in Digby, and on the advice of a friendly man at the tourist bureau, I set off to explore Bear River a few miles inland. 
The town might have been built just for me. I browsed a used book store, an antique shop, an art gallery, and then stumbled upon a wonderfully quirky shop called Oddacity Designs, which sold amazing hats. With the encouragement of the owner, and two very enthusiastic customers, I tried on a ton of hats and bought two. Then I decamped for lunch to the cafe built on stilts out over the tidal river. Salmon cakes, iced tea, and a long quiet read… as the tide came in and the restaurant seemed to suddenly be afloat. Amazing. I’d lived away from the east coast so long I’d forgotten all about the Fundy tides. What a wonderful day that was. 
You can see Bear River for yourself in this little video made by Bear River resident Tim Wilson. Watch this and tell me you don’t want to move there. Or at least visit for a month or two. 

Now, I don’t know if it was all that dreaming and talking about hats, or if it was thinking of that lovely little town, but oddly enough, I feel much better about facing six more weeks of winter. 

Ha. Six weeks if we’re lucky. Verrry, very lucky.

What have you been up to my fine friends? Do you dream of hats… or something to help wile away the winter? Unless it’s summer where you are. Sigh. 


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From the archives


Life of the Substitute Gardener

This week Hubby is away canoeing. And I am substitute gardener. Looking after our large vegetable garden, and trying not to get it wrong.


All About the Socks.

My new socks are making me happy to get dressed again this winter.


Voices in Our Head

In a recent phone call, my mum told me that when she first wakes in …

49 thoughts on “Hat Dreams”

  1. Sue,you look great in your hats and berets and cabbies-you should wear them all the time,they are so lovely
    Berets and cabbies (I even wear one old leather cabbie) are my choice for rainy,snowy and hair-do hostile weather. I love hats with wider rims too,but didn't figure how to drive with them(maybe one should have a driver,don't you think?). During the summer,straw hats are so nice,but ,beside the driving,when I take it down,my hair looks like mess.
    When I was thinking about my son's Master degree graduating ceremony in London outfit,I was told (by my friends who never attendend one) that I should need to wear a hat. I was dreaming about a fascinator,but at the end,consulting old photos of graduations and rules about wearing hats after six o'clock inside-I decided against it (now I have a lot of dear ladies who I could ask,but back than,I didn't read blogs ). There was nobody with the hat

    Rosie,you and your daughter look gorgeous-every detail is absolutely perfect and you are beautiful and shine with happines!

    I'm mesmerized with Bear River and Nova Scotia!


    1. You're so very kind Dottoressa, it was a day filled with happiness and laughter and the photographs captured the moments perfectly. We're very lucky that the photographer is one of my daughters closed friends.

    2. I never knew there were rules about wearing hats after 6 o'clock. And wide rim hats… how do people who don't have long hair or a nice bob wear them? I've never figured out how to be able to take it off if I'm inside.. or driving… and not have horrid hair. Rosie and Jessica look lovely, don't they? Totally agree.

    3. Guess you realised I meant "closest friends" Dottoressa
      Sorry Sue, feel as though I'm high jacking your blog with all my comments!! 🙂

    1. Is bakerboy hat like a newsboy hat? I tried looking up the names of several hats on Google images and came up with the exact same pictures. You say tomato… I say…whatever.

  2. Great hat! And berets! I totally love berets and all sorts of hats and wear them whenever I can. You've got a face for hats, they really suit you, so should wear them more, on the other hand, I guess because it's Canada you just have to wear some kind of a hat most days in the winter. What gets me is when I see reporters on the TV (in the UK) out and about in the freezing weather without a hat! Brrr!

    1. Thanks, Penny. What I can't understand are the people showing up at New York Fashion week without gloves, with their coats shrugged off their shoulders. Some days I don't wear a hat… but I always wear gloves.

  3. So much to comment on here . Lady Mary , I could have watched Downton for the costumes alone , matching the craftsmanship of the time marvelously . I always had to try not to think about the poor seamstresses of those days working in candlelight for next to nothing . Your fabulous hat collection , you should put on your own exhibition – well perhaps you are , here . You really suit them . I’m getting weary of my little , woolly, dog walking hat – much needed here this winter . Bear River , it was lovely to see small town Canada . I prefer small town anywhere but Canada seems to have such variety . Over here we only hear about the big cities & the Rockies . Then Rosie , what a lovely picture . Great outfit Rosie , not stiff & weddingy , just beautiful & your hair is just right too . The matching smiles are the best part of the picture for me . How am I spending my time whilst the garden is asleep ? I’m researching the history of the House I was born in . Your comment that our present house , built 1927 was old made me smile . The house I was born in was built in the 1760s & I’m trying to trace the various occupants , their ages , families , place of birth & occupations . It is in Knaresborough , a small town just 10 miles from here . A very old town , the place we held our wedding reception was built in the 1200s & it was given it’s charter for a weekly open market at that time , but that’s another story . Sorry if I’m going on but history is a passion – rather like your hat passion .
    Wendy in York

    1. What a lovely thing to say, Wendy. Thank you! Especially the part about our smiles … although your compliment about my outfit is appreciated too!

    2. Hi again Wendy! as you mentioned my hair and may know from here, that like Sues it has a mind of it's own and has caused me a lot of stress over the years! 🙂 It was so hot that day … I applied my make up at 6am in front of an open window! No air con 🙂 Then got ready with my daughter and her bridesmaids. They and my great niece did "hair and make up" 🙂 no hairdressers etc and we had such a lovely time. I'm so grateful to all those girls for enabling me to have such a stress free morning.
      Btw, so lovely to hear about Knaresborough, it was my favourite place to visit when I worked and lived in Leeds … Interesting to hear that you had your wedding reception there. Thanks for mentioning it.

    3. I'm laughing that your laughing, Wendy. A 1927 house would be a treasure over here… where old buildings are hard to maintain, mostly because of climate and so many of them where I come from being made of wood. Lots of stone houses here in Ontario, though. Old ones too:) I must look up Knaresborough.
      Not sure if I ever mentioned it, but when we came home from the UK in 2005, my stepfather was so interested to see the pictures of Helmsley in Yorkshire because that's where he was demobbed from in World War II. When we showed him one picture he even said, "and there's a church right over here, isn't there?" pointing to a bit of the snapshot. And as far as we remembered there was, it wasn't shown in the photo.
      When you're done your research, you'll have to write a book on the life of your old home.

    4. How funny that your stepfather knew Helmsley , I do like little coincidences . Helmsley is a pretty spot too . Do google Knaresborough – it will make you want to visit 🙂

  4. I have the exact opposite problem that you have! Living in Sunny Florida, all I wear most of the year is tee shirts and shorts! It is so frustrating! We have had a short "winter" spell here where the temperatures have dropped to 40'fahrenheit in the mornings. I got to wear velvet leggings, and sweaters and scarves! I was so happy! Now, the weather has turned and we are back to low 80's Fahrenheit. Yikes. We are going to the theatre later this week and I so wanted to wear a sweater, but will probably have to wear a lighter top and crop pants. So enjoy your sweaters and coats a little bit longer for me!!!

    1. Poor you! And I don't mean that sarcastically. I'd be sad if I couldn't wear my sweaters and scarves and boots. You must grow weary of your hot weather wardrobe. I was just complaining to my husband this morning that we need more in between weather, suitable for sweaters and shoes, and maybe a blazer, but not needing a heavy winter coat. Fall is much too short!

  5. Thanks for the great hat pictures. I love hats, but lately my warm dog walk/snow shoveling hats are in rotation. I'm about over winter, too, but we have weeks left. Maybe months. :-p This post was happy and uplifting, so thanks!

  6. We are having bright, cold and sunny weather here in southern England at present which is very bracing for the spirits but my go-to for getting through the tail end of winter is always just to read books, lounge in the bath and start to think of spring flowers. I am not a hat person, it must be said, but I do like a sensible pair of boots which help to make things better. I also went swimming today, along with all the other old people at the early session and intend to go for a run tomorrow, well wrapped up. And if it all gets too gloomy, I go to bed early. Not long now before the good weather returns and we see the bulbs appear.

    1. Oooh swimming. I tried to take swimming lessons one winter, but after a few weeks couldn't face the idea of changing into my swimsuit when it's -20 outside. Not that the pool was -20. Ha.

  7. Love hats! I remember in my mother and grandmother's day a person didn't go 'out' without a hat….a hat completes an outfit. We have, in many ways lost the 'art of dressing' and jeans and a t-shirt seem to be acceptable to wear whether gardening or going to the ballet. I am fighting this trend…keep enjoying and wearing hats! It is a blessing to me that we live in a country that boasts 4 distinct seasons and we are able to dress for each in a most pleasurable way….Cheers, Alayne

    1. I remember my Mum saying that when she was a girl one didn't venture into town without a hat and gloves. Remember summer gloves?
      I'm happy to have four seasons as well, I'd just like spring and fall to be a bit longer. In Ottawa we seem to go straight from frigid to humid.

  8. I love hats. There is not a day that there is not one on my head. I feel naked without one of my many colours of hats. Sometimes I’m not recognized without my hat. Yes, there is the hat head problem. I carry a small tube of hair goop in my purse and when mon chapeau is removed, I rub some into my hair. I have even been complimented while traveling in France for my funky head gear. Hats and sunglasses, that’s would be me…

  9. I am a hat person too but living in this part of the country, it is not usually cold enough to wear a winter one often (or maybe it's me – I get too hot). Instead I often wear my ear muffs when out walking. Or my rain hat!
    You look great and those hats of yours are lovely.
    We have been enjoying some nice weather for the last few days so between binge watching the Olympics, there's been some quick outdoor walks. What did we do without our PVRs??? Skipping the commercials, repeat coverage and fillers, a four hour Olympic coverage can easily be watched in two hours (or less).
    Suz from Vancouver
    BTW- I didn't comment on your previous ski post but I really appreciated it, I felt very emotional reading it, thank you

  10. Love you in the red newsboy cap! I've been thinking about hats as well… Have always had hats, but only for summer, but Diane Keaton, of all people has me looking for bowler hats. I want one with a taller crown, not a small one and a wide brim would be welcome. I haven't found any as nice as hers.

  11. Ah I also have a weakness for hats. I wear them often.

    You have some wonderful ones.

    Next time you are in Toronto try to visit the Saucy Milner at the Distillery District. I've bought some great ones from her. She is originally from out east.

    I love that newsboy hat on you with the bright scarf.


  12. Love all your hats and they definitely suit you but my favourite is the red. Just what the doctor ordered to cheer oneself up on these cold winter days which seem as if they will never end. Loved the video you posted to, particularly the cherry stone spitting contest. What fun to do something we would normally encourage our children not to do.

  13. I love hats too! Lady Mary's is my favourite shown here, but I also like the Chanel newsboy and your adorable bowler. I think it looks great with the outfit you're wearing it with. Audrey Hepburn's reminds me of an upside down flower pot!

    1. Michelle Dockery looks gorgeous in a hat, doesn't she. That 1920s bob doesn't hurt either. My husband said the same thing about Audrey Hepburn's hat.

  14. Hi Sue! You definitely suit hats and own some gorgeous and quite unique ones! If a had to choose I think my favourite would be the bowler. Great details! I adore the one Audrey Hepburn's wearing … It's very "her" I wouldnt say I'm a "hat person" Until fairly recently I didn't think I suited them and I always struggle to find one that fits! Apparently I've a big head … this was initially announced to anyone that was there to listen by a sales assistant when I was trying on wedding dresses ( many years ago! ) I wanted a veil anyway not a hat, but the rather intimidating sales lady put one of those floppy, wide brimmed hats in white organza on my head, or rather tried to. It just perched on the top! "Oh you've got a very big head, haven't you ?" Who knew … and to be honest who cared!! ?
    Now, I love to wear torques, as you'd say or a knitted bobble hat with a wool or fake fur pom pom. These have saved my hair from a frizzy nightmare on many a wet or snowy day!
    Thanks for your compliments about my wedding outfit, as you know finding something that "felt like me" wasn't exactly the fun and relatively easy experience I'd anticipated!! On the day this worked so well and was extremely comfy, which was perfect, as all I wanted to do was focus on the happy couple, family and guests. I pretty much popped the hat on my head ( more a fascinator really, fixed to a headband) and forgot about it! Adorable is a good description of my daughter but then I am biased! Along with her husband to be she researched, planned and then organised everything and the day was an absolute dream … plus her dress was my "secret favourite" I couldn't quite believe it when she chose it!! One very happy and proud mum, here!
    Thanks for another well written and interesting post Sue, I'll be in touch soon.

    1. I can't do the bobble hat, but I love them. I have the wrong hair and definitely the wrong shaped face for those.And a big head!
      Jessica's dress was so lovely, Rosie. I'm happy that brides are not going strapless so much. Her dress is so much better than a strapless one. Really simple and chic.

  15. Oops me again! I got carried away … Wedding dreaming 🙂 and forgot to mention Bear River! What a great find Sue, it's absolutely gorgeous and the video just seems to capture the essence of the place! It's now added to my ever growing list of places to visit … If only! It's often the places we don't know about, when planning travels, that turn out to be the best! We talked about visiting Nova Scotia, the time I met you in Ottawa, but as always too many places, too little time! 🙂

    1. We planned our Nova Scotia in general that year, but not the small specific places which are often best to discover as the trip unfurls. Bear River was a real find.

  16. Wearing a brimmed hat in swamp or jungle country is handy because if you step into quicksand your friends will at least know where you went in 🙂

  17. I positively adore hats, so I truly enjoyed reading this post. Audrey's lampshade hat is so Fun! I have a collection of varied styles, but since I cut off all my hair I think they look weird on me. Since you also have short hair, you are inspiring me to give them another try! Thanks for linking up, Susan.

    A Pocketful of Polka Dots

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