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Advice from Emily Post, 1951: Hats

StateLibQld 1 205152 Two women enjoying a drink, 1940-1950


Shall I Wear a Hat?

Notwithstanding the continued practice of certain younger women to go hatless on all occasions, best taste exacts that in a city a hat be worn with street clothes in the daytime. In fact it is impossible for a hatless woman to be chic. With an evening dress a hat is incorrect—except on the stage in a musical review.

 from Etiquette: The Blue Book of Social Usage, by Emily Post. Funk & Wagnalls Company, 1951.

Reading excerpts from Emily Post's 1951 guide made three of us laugh til we cried. Hatless! Horrors. 

Image digitised by the State Library of Queensland, and provided to the Wikimedia Commons as part of a cooperative project. The original photograph is in the public domain. The metadata has been released by State Library of Queensland under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.5 license.


I've been to Graceland a couple of times, and even wrote a little gift book about Elvis for a book packager years ago. The following passage, though, which comes from Darcey Steinke's memoir, Easter Everywhere, strikes me as about the truest thing I've ever read about E.P.

In Graceland light seems to come at you from all directions, as if the sun has liquefied and flowed into the floor, walls, and ceiling. I recognized in the glittery decor a longing for transcendence that is often labeled as tacky.

"A longing for transcendence." Beautiful.

Educational Bonus

9780553211801She [Rosamond Vincy] was admitted to be the flower of Mrs. Lemon's school, the chief school in the county, where the teaching included all that was demanded in the accomplished female—even to extras, such as the getting and and out of a carriage.

I laughed when I came across that passage in Middlemarch; "the getting in and out of a carriage" was just too delightful. I've recently begun George Eliot's novel for the fifth or sixth time, but this go-round feels like I'll read all the way through. My copy, a Bantam Classic paperback, features an introduction by Margaret Drabble, but I'd like to finish the book before reading Drabble's words. Sometimes authoritative opinions can color what I read. At any rate, a literary classic seems just right for the cold spring that usually constitutes April around southern New England.

Image courtesy of Powell's Books

Quoted: Wild

"I'd loved books in my regular, pre-PCT [Pacific Crest Trail] life, but on the trail, they'd taken on even greater meaning. They were the world I could lose myself in when the one I was actually in became too lonely or harsh or difficult to bear."

from Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail, by Cheryl Strayed (Knopf, 2012). I highly recommend this new memoir/quest story.