Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Matchy Matchy

Several weeks ago, you will recall, Valerie found one of those tiny little tight fitting hats from the '50s - the kind that goes beautifully with very sleek hair, and not at all with curly hair.  For Valerie, the attraction lay not so much in the shape of the hat, but the shade of purple, which seemed to match a purple checked jacket she'd bought more than five years ago. She bought the hat with trepidation, but if worse came to worst, after all, it didn't mean she couldn't wear the hat - it only meant she couldn't wear the hat with the jacket.

Above, Valerie wears the hat '50s style - the little curlicues (they look like insect antennae, actually) are on the side, the hat is worn toward the back, and all the bangs are swept away, to give the illusion of very sleek hair.  As it turned out, the hat is houndstooth and the jacket is classical check.  There is a hair's shade of difference between the two purples, but they're in the same blue-purple family, so they don't swear.  For extra fun, Valerie adds black and purple checked socks, which she's also had for years (and bought to match the jacket).  For extra extra fun, Valerie attempts the chilly supercilious '50s face and adds a Lisa Fonssagrives-like accessory: the cigarette in the cigarette holder.  (Actually, it's a straw accented with black electrical tape.)

Above, the hat on a hat block, without its human accessory. It's not a very appetizing picture (especially with Rush Limbaugh in the background), but this helps demonstrate that some inanimate objects need your cooperation and your imagination. If you look carefully, you'll see it comes with a charming pair of matching cloth hat pins.

Just for reference, here's a classic '50s hat - very small, worn toward the back of the head, a bit of sleek hair peeking out from underneath, and the focal point on the side. Notice that this woman has mastered the supercilious look, and needs no cigarette holder.

We've already mentioned in previous postings that one should experiment with hats. Just because the tag indicates it should be worn side to side doesn't mean you have to do that. This hat has a fair amount of wiring in it, so it hugs the head just as nicely when worn front to back. In this photo, Valerie wears the hat the non-standard way. A little fringe of hair is allowed to peek out from one side. And continuing in the contrarian vein, why not add a pair of pants instead of a skirt?

In this final picture, all the hair is swept under the hat. Some style mavens have apparently taken to saying "matchy matchy" the way a parent might say "naughty naughty" to a mischievous child. To that Valerie says "phooey phooey", and adds a black and purple scarf to her outfit.

Fifties hat from the recent Stella Pier Show, labeled Annette Importer; scarf by Tadashi Shoji, jacket by Spitalnick, black sweater from the late great Charivari, pants by Issey Miyake.

(When I am an old woman, I shall wear purple.
And while I'm at it, I think I shall sit in a purple chair...)
[With apologies and endless thanks to Jenny Joseph]


  1. Oh, that outfit is amazing! Perfect blue!

  2. May I say what an excellent 50's supercilious face you have in the first photo - did you practice in the mirror ;) I really like the hat worn back to front, as you did in the photo from the Pier show when you bought it. I can't wear hats that way because of my hair.
    That is an awesome "curling up" chair!

  3. Lovely, lovely! I so agree that "matchy, matchy" as an insult is absurd.

  4. the whole ensemble...including chair and the hat worn front to back looks so much classier than the way we wore them back in the day...have a photo on the wall I'm looking at right now where I'm wearing a similar style of hat...would have looked so much better re-positioned :)

  5. AMEN!! Matchymatchy is not a curse word, and I adore the artistry of this outfit. Those cunning little hats deserve to be played with, rearranging their trajectory for a modern tilt, which you demonstrate brilliantly.

    I have the "When I am old..." book, so I smiled at your reference. I probably won't wear purple, but instead I'll substitute "harem pants", or "caftans". Oh wait, I'm already wearing those. Well, I am 60 after all. Does that mean I'm old? Frankly my dear, I don't give a damn.

    P.s. The next time Judith and Shelly come to town, I want to hang out. I'd love to see those purples in person.