Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Jean's Escapade in San Juan - Women's Civic Club of Puerto Rico

And: We Are Declared Geniuses! (Scroll down for that.)

Jean says: Last week, I was on a business trip to sunny San Juan.  (I know it's a tough job, but somebody's got to do it!)  One evening, when I returned to my hotel, I was both surprised and thrilled to discover the lobby bar had been taken over by fabulously dressed women in hats. Be still my heart! What did I do? I whipped out my camera, of course!

I first encountered this "Lady in Red" with a fabulous hat at a jaunty angle and a twinkle in her eye. When I quizzed her about her be-hatted crowd of colleagues, she explained that members of the Women's Civic Club of Puerto Rico were celebrating the election of their new president. When I asked if I might take her photograph, she very sweetly agreed.

These ladies really know how to dress!  And they were so wonderfully obliging - they not only all agreed to be photographed, but posed themselves in various groupings. The newly elected President is second from the left in the back row of this group shot.  Her pearls and white chapeau perfectly matched her wonderfully textured outfit whose sleeves looked like little peaks of whipped cream.  She was the perfect counterpoint to her colorfully dressed friends.  These ladies wore serious, not ostentatious jewelry.  Check out the gold cuff on the Lady in Red in the previous photo.

The mood was joyous and everyone seemed to be having such a good time.  Many wore traditional pearls and gold jewelry (necklaces and bracelets and/or earrings) and most carried clutch handbags. Not wanting to interrupt their festivities and to be unobtrusive (no easy feat for yours truly), I moved quickly through the crowd. Although very few knew what a blog was, they were all polite and accommodating and truly lovely.

This was one of the younger ladies at the event, flanked by two young gentlemen who were getting into the spirit of the reception.  The ladies all wore high heels - but no platforms or stillettos.

The outfit of the lady in the center perfectly matched the banquet on which they were seated.  The lady on the right was one of only two ladies in the large group who were not wearing hats.  (The lady on the left is indeed wearing a hat - her black hat blended into the dark background.)

My favorite hat (after the black hat on the Lady in Red in the first photo) is the black and white striped number on the lady on the far left.   Doesn't it remind you of that Cecil Beaton hat Audrey Hepburn wore in "My Fair Lady"?

When I first approached these two grande dames, they politely declined to be photographed. However, after they observed all of their friends posing for photos, they changed their minds and asked me to take their picture.  Ari Seth Cohen  - - eat your heart out!

When I looked at this photo after I had taken it, I had to laugh out loud. The lady in the zebra print jacket is NOT wearing a hat. But the red chair in the background so perfectly aligned to create the illusion.  It was so convincing, when Valerie first looked at the pictures, she selected this one as her favorite hat!

This young lady's look summed it all up - colorful dress, wide-brimmed hat and high heels. Doesn't she look refreshingly chic and stylish in a very non-faddish way? She is the next generation, ready to follow in the tradition of the older members of the Civic Club.

Well, if I ever relocate to Puerto Rico, I know where I'd volunteer! Not only do the members of the Women's Civic Club give back to the community and support charitable events, but they also dress fabulously, drink cocktails and sip wine and champagne, and wear hats while they're doing it all! Bravo, ladies!

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Freaking Geniuses of the Month

Now, on a completely separate note, Valerie says:

It is said that Oscar Wilde, when asked by a Customs agent if he had anything to declare, replied "Only my genius." We would never declare that ourselves (although we'd LOVE a MacArthur Genius Grant on some pretext or other), but it turns out that Diane Gilleland, in her blog, Crafty Pod has declared us among her choices for "Freaking Geniuses of the Month", a title we are delighted to accept, particularly considering the people we're sharing the title with.

In case you think we're pulling your leg, click on the above link. We couldn't recreate Crafty Pod in a sophisticated professional manner (which alone probably goes a long way toward proving that we are not geniuses), so we have reproduced it below, in small chunks. You should be able to make out our title, Freaking Geniuses of the Month, in the second and third photos, if you click on the photos to blow them up.

Did you see that we share the title with Judith Boyd, the Style Crone, and with "All of the beautiful ladies in Advanced Style"? Of COURSE we want this title! Good thing you can't see us, 'cause we're blushing. Thank you so much, Sister Diane!

Do check out Diane's blog. You'll find so much more than just us!


  1. So nice to see a whole room full of stylishly dressed women - love the bright colours, and the gorgeous hats! Now you are not only "IFs" but "FGs" ;)

  2. A gorgeous group of women in their hats! Jean, you were definitely at the right place at the right time to discover this room full of beauties.

    What an honor to be included in Sister Diane's 'Freaking Geniuses of the Month' blog post, and in such remarkable company. Thank you for the mention!

  3. On behalf of all the members of “Club Cívico de Damas de Puerto Rico” we want to thank you for the wonderful cover you gave us – if we must say it – we all looked quite nice and fabulous! Thank You so much! Please do come back and visit us! The Lady in Red and all members of “Club Cívico de Damas de Puerto Rico”.

  4. I am always struck by the beauty and class of the locals in San Juan! Nice that you could capture this event.