Top 5 Reasons Why I Love Those Crazy- Popular Red Hatters

When Red Hat Queen Eleanor Rollinson asked me to perform my Retrospective Millinery Fashion Show at her district branch convention, I was thrilled and a little intimidated. In a room full of 200 red-hat, purple dress-wearing women, would my various millinery museum pieces be noticed? Even Evelyn had her concerns; she asked me to cut my presentation time by half as she was concerned that her audience of red haters might become bored.

Bored? At a retrospective millinery fashion show? In my 19 years of presiding over Mobile Millinery Museum events, it’s never happened. I was confident of my ability to hold these hat-loving women in thrall as six of their companions modelled beautiful couture hats from each iconic fashion decade. These fun-loving red hatters did not let me down.

Here are the top 5 reasons why I love those crazy- popular Red Hatters:

1/ The Red Hat Society identifies itself as a “play group for women”; and true to their tagline, hanging with Red Hatters makes you feel like a girl again. Dressing up is iconic girls’ play, so why should we give it up when we’re grown. No one does dressing up better than these purple-dress-wearing women who top their outfits with the zaniest red confections possible.

2/ The Red Hat society is bringing hats back, albeit one colour at a time. Since the Red Hat society was founded in 1998, the group has done much to boost the manufacture and sale of red hats and have now designated pink hats for members under the age of 50.

3/ Nothing stands out like black in a sea of red and purple. As I travel to present the Mobile Millinery Museum’s signature Retrospective Millinery Fashion Shows, I try to wear a different hat on each occasion, and I am partial to black.

person woman model vintage
Photo by Pixabay on


4/ The red hatters can take a joke. I never tire of telling members that it wasn’t always easy to find a red hat; in fact, it was rumoured in Victorian times that a woman in a red hat might not be wearing any knickers. And sometimes, our Red hatter models raise their skirts to prove the red hat/no knickers rumour wrong.

5/ You have to love the irony. Though not licenced to the Red Hat Society, the poem “Warning” (an ode to non-conformity) by Jenny Joseph was the inspiration for thousands of women worldwide to dress alike in red hats and purple dresses.

Published by Norma Shephard

I'm the founder and director of the Mobile Millinery Museum & author of five books on vintage fashion.

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