Originally created 02/25/03

Women get hat-titude



It was all about the attitude.

Flowers bloomed and feathers flew during the hat fashion show at Thursday's Augusta Newcomers Club meeting.

Aiken maven Sissy Brodie brought herself, and just a few dozen of her favorite toppers, across the river to show the local ladies how to wear a hat with style.

"Attitude, attitude, attitude! Come on ladies, say it with me!" Mrs. Brodie said, as she stalked the floor with the fervor of a self-help guru.

Mrs. Brodie's words were laughingly repeated by the crowd of club members, many of whom had accented their ensembles with hats - fanciful hats, classy hats, even a rabbit-lined bomber hat.

Mrs. Brodie used her friend Tamara Cannon as a model as she wove stories about the various hats she brought with tips for personalizing the accessories.

"Hats are to be enjoyed," she said before plopping another example of milliner expertise on Ms. Cannon's head.

TIP: "For goodness sake, hats should not be worn on the back of the head - unless we live in the era of Jackie Kennedy when we wore the Pillbox."

Mrs. Brodie's hats have come from a variety of sources. Some she's collected over the years, while others have been bequeathed to her from other hat-lovers.

Ida Crawford Stewart, former vice president of Estee Lauder, sends Mrs. Brodie shipments of hats nearly every month.

"Some of these were from Estee Lauder's personal collection," Mrs. Brodie said.

"You can look for hats everywhere," she said emphatically.

And if you don't like the way it looks now - change it.

TIP: A glue gun, inexpensive fake flowers and some ribbon can give an older hat new life, or a new hat a better personality.

"There are so many ways you can take a Wal-Mart hat and make it more elegant," Mrs. Brodie said. "It doesn't matter what you spend."

After Mrs. Brodie's talk, members of the Newcomers Club descended on the table displaying more than 60 hats. The women laughed and preened as they tried on hats ranging from quirky berets and cocktail hats to elegant - and large - picture hats.

They also spent time admiring their own contributions to the festivities.

"I just sewed this boa to the hat before I came here today," said Betty Bernard, who's green-feather-topped hat was a striking focal point in the crowd.

Jane Ann Sundberg's rabbit-lined bomber hat was a contribution from her husband.

"I didn't have anything to wear today and my husband said, 'I've got a hat you can wear"' Mrs. Sundberg said.

"But we lived in Wisconsin for 10 years, and if you're caught in a blizzard and stuck in your house for a week, would you rather see Tom Cruise or some big Swedish guy riding a John Deere tractor and wearing this?" she laughingly said as she waved the furry cap in front of her.

TIP: Anyone can look good in a hat.

"If you can find it, a straw hat with a shallow crown and a slightly turned-up brim is one of the best styles there are," Mrs. Brodie said. "Ninety-nine percent of women can wear that."

Ultimately, Mrs. Brodie said hat-wearing isn't an art form, it's just fun.

"I think it's the finishing touch. It's the icing on the cake," she said. "I mean, cake is good by itself, but when you put a little frosting on it, it's so much better."

TIP: Anytime is a good time to wear a hat.

"A hat is a part of your ensemble," Mrs. Brodie said. "I wear a hat to the grocery store. I wear hats everywhere."

IN WITH THE NEW

WHAT: The Augusta Newcomers Club is a nonprofit organization that is designed to help new residents acclimate to the area. People who have had a lifestyle change, such as retirement, also are invited.

WHEN: The club has luncheon meetings every third Thursday of the month.

COST: Membership dues are $15 a year; luncheons are $13.50.

INFORMATION: For membership information, call Deb Peery at 854-0492; for luncheon reservations, call Lynda Guy at 855-5898.