The Mad Hatter, as portrayed by Johnny Depp in this year’s movie, “Alice in Wonderland”, is certainly delightful, and he wears and makes some very nice hats.
You could say that I’m mad about hats. I have a substantial collection of them, for all seasons. (It almost rivals my purse collection, but that’s another story.) I’ve had people ask, “What’s with the hat?”, and sometimes I’ve been the only one wearing a hat at a function, but hey, I like, and sometimes need to wear a hat. I’ve had my head shaved to raise money for Breast Cancer Action Kingston. They gave me a hat that said “No Hair Day”, and my sons insisted that I wear it before they’d be seen in public with me.
I’ve discovered that there may be other merits in wearing hats, other than to compensate for a bad hair—or no hair—day, or add a fashionable accessory to my wardrobe. Wearing a hat can actually keep you healthier. In the warmer months, hats can protect you from the sun and rain.In the winter hats keep the heat in and the cold out. Did you know that you can stay 50% warmer, or cooler if you wear a hat? A good brim on a hat will also keep your head and face dry. I especially hate getting my glasses wet.
The Running Room sponsors the 20-Minute Challenge to encourage folks to get together with others to walk or run for at least 20 minutes. Guess what they give out to all participants? A free hat. Part of my collection comes from participating in a few of these challenges, which started in 2004. I’ve picked up blue, yellow, black, and green hats to add to the red and white ones I’d already purchased. This year’s event is on Wednesday, July 21. I’m not sure what colour the hat is, but I’ll be there to get one. Registration is free and ensures you get your hat. Seeing more than 100 people walking or running through a community all wearing the same colour hat is quite the spectacle.
The ball cap style hats from the Running Room don’t really suit me. I prefer wider brimmed hats like my Ontario Parks hat shown in this photo taken a couple of summers ago in our yard. The hat is similar to the famous Tilley hat, but a lot less expensive, and supports and promotes our provincial parks.
This hat is great because it’s wide enough to keep off the sun and rain, has a chin strap to keep it on in the wind–perfect for hiking, canoeing, camping, and walking around town. It even has a secret pocket.
Two of my favourite hats were gifts from my husband while we were on holidays.
This one was purchased in 2006 at The Beatles Shop in Liverpool, England and is the same style worn by John Lennon, my fave Beatle. (Ringo wore similar ones in their movies, “A Hard Day’s Night” and “Help!”)
When in Nashville, as we were in April 2009, one should wear a cowboy hat. Jim snapped this photo of me “hawking” the Tennessee papers.
I’ve noticed different hair colours and styles in these photos. The hats do a great job of hiding bad hair days.
There are many practical reasons for wearing hats, but I like the fact that the simple act of wearing a hat can help avoid skin cancer, and keep us healthier by helping to keep the body at the right temperature. The benefits of wearing a hat, and some tips on choosing the right hat “for form and function” are outlined in this article.
Are you a hat person? Or are you like some of my friends and relatives who definitely don’t have hat collections? (I’m not sure if some of them own even one hat.) Let me know about your favourites, or tell me why you won’t wear one, even though you know you probably should. (I have a friend heading to Israel who usually doesn’t like hats, but bought herself a sunhat because she knows it will be brutally hot there now.)
Lyle Lovett has a song called “Don’t Touch My Hat.” If you see me with a hat on—and you likely will—you can touch my hat, and you can even try it on, but please give it back. I’m mad about hats, and might be as Mad as The Hatter without them.
*All photos taken by Jim Peets