Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Ugly Hats and the Women Who Wear Them

If what you want to see is the hat Aretha Franklin by Detroit milliner Luke Song-wore to the inauguration of Barack Obama- link to http://www.thestyleinsider.com/king5/tag/aretha-franklin-inauguration-hat and view the engineering marvel. Now, with Ms. Franklin's priceless "pipes"- she can sing anything she wants- wearing whatever she wants. Nothing can stunt the beauty of that magnificent voice. Still, I hope that big studded bow-thing on top of her head is not going to catch on.

Don't get me wrong. On a day as cold as it was in Washington D.C. today, I might have smuggled some kind of heater in that head-contraption in an effort to keep warm. It isn't that my taste in hats is haute couture. I favor baseball caps. Wearing one signals my nerve cells to get ready to have a good time. Ditto cowboy hats. Especially the really-tacky red one.

Then there is my garden hat. The one my son Trevor took one look at me in and asked, "You're not going to wear that in public, are you?"

Hammacher Schlemmer sells this similar model. Anyone who gets obsessed with projects out in the garden ought to own one. With a brim and back-flap to cover the neck, it protects hair from the fading power of the sun and prevents sunburned neck. It is a barrier to marauding mosquitoes and could be guaranteed to prevent attracting members of the opposite sex. It's roughly the price of one five-gallon patented rosebush at a better nursery.
So why would a woman who graduated from the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising LOVE this admittedly ugly hat? Because of the image at the top. Pruning isn't work. It is gathering bouquets. The image of the lovely ballgown full blooms above are from a mature cluster of the David Austin Rose- Tamora. This morning they adorned the garden. Tonight my kitchen counter. Tomorrow, my mother's apartment.

Most of what I've read about Tamora led me to expect she would bloom sporadically after springtime's first flush. However, in this mild climate (today's low was high was 58°F and the high was 76°F) frequent waves of scented blooms until the annual stripping of leaves is more accurate.

My hat was purchased from Blue Hills Nursery in Whittier. Check out their new homepage at http://www.bluehills.com/site/index.php . Tamora is listed in their rose index.

The Hammacher Schlemmer homepage can be accessed through http://www.hammacher.com/main.asp?promo=top_nav

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