Vintage Hats and Some Family History

elen wearing vintage hat
Vintage Dior hat

About two years ago my mother-in-law passed away. She was a little over 100 years old and had seen a lot of change in her life. She came from a poor family, borrowed money to go to nursing school during the tail end of the Great Depression, and became a Registered Nurse just before the beginning of World War II. She loved clothing and dress and always looked “like a million bucks” as my husband’s Dad used to say – able to indulge herself as she climbed the economic ladder. When we went through the house after her passing, there were three large bedroom closets filled with clothing sorted by style, and at least 10 full bags hung in the cellar from the steel floor joists. There was a lot. A lot. We sorted through the items, assessing each as to its wearability, style, etc., donating or trashing as required. I kept a few of the items. The hat I am wearing in the photo above is one of them, along with the mink stole (a little harder to see). The stole is comprised of two mink skins, face, paws, and all. I am sure that any PETA person would have fits, but those little guys were dedicated to a life of fashion. They also have been dead a very long time. The hat has a DIOR label in it, though I am not sure it is an original. I’d like to think it is.

My mother-in-law, Anne, found a lot of joy in being well-dressed, and was lovely to look at. When I go to the wholesale shows or other places where I shop, I am inspired by color, line, fit, and all the things she loved about fashion. In that way her spirit lives on.