Some of the many replies to Dora Sanders’ "My Hat!"

July 15 1933


Some of the many replies to Dora Sanders’ "My Hat!"

July 15 1933



Some of the many replies to Dora Sanders’ "My Hat!"

In Maclean's June 1 issue, there appeared an article, "My Hat!" in which Dora Sanders went into convulsions over The Fez. The Turlran, The Little Sailor, The Postillion and The Clown, the latest millinery inspirations. Herewith we present extracts from a selection of readers’ opinions.

I WAS proposed to in the gay 'nineties in spite of wearing a hat like that in the lower left illustration, and I remember my mother looking lovely in one like that at the lower right. Now my eldest granddaughter perches a small, smart creation perilously on one ear at an exact angle of forty-five and looks simply adorable. So there you are!— (Mrs.) O. S. Batchelor, Vancouver, British Columbia.

Good for Business

The new model 1933 hat, which received such a drubbing in your June issue, may be all the cock-eyed, goofy creations Miss Sanders claims it to be BUT "The season just closed has been one of the most successful the milliners liave had for many years.”

Our last year's hats are so obsolete we’ve had to buy new ones. We’ve spent money. We’ve pepped up the millinery trade. The thousands engaged in the hat business have paid their grocery bills.

The fez, the turban, the jxtstillion. the clown hat! Gracious, milliners have been tumbling out new ideas at a wonderful rate. The well-served public has fairly gobbled them up. What if some of us do loox)k dippy? We have the satisfaction of knowing that other fashionables are keeping us company.

I’m telling you we need a few more people with new ideas; ideas which will make us sjx*nd money in spite of ourselves. It’s this inertia, this drifting along, this "it’s good-enoughto-get-by” attitude, which is holding us back. The milliners could show other industries a thing or two.

My father has worn the same felt hat for three years. It’s still in style. He is wearing a suit he bought six years ago. It’s still in style. But he’s bought a new car because the old model looked like thirty cents when this year’s came on the scene!

We need radical changes in fashions, crazy or not. It’s the biggest factor in urging on industrial activity. It’s our bread and butter.

The 1933 hats have gone to our heads. That’s what they were intended to do. The designers have done a good job. And Miss Sanders may have the satisfaction of knowing that today's hat styles are not here to stay. The milliners are much too clever for that. Next year, next season, perhaps next week, we .will have something brilliantly new

and we’ll buy it no matter what it is! Margaret Brown. Toronto.

“Mutely Don Their Crown of Thorns”

It is surely encouraging to discover that there are women who still have common sense in regard

to fashions and who, like Dora Sanders, are not afraid to express an opinion in revolt against fashion’s tyranny. Her outburst leads one to think that there must be many common-sense women suffering in silence while vainly trying to look their best in a “monkey-hat” and ready to back any daring leader among them who has the courage to fight for a woman’s most sacred right—the right to be beautiful.

Some bold woman, either from the desire to attract public attention or for purely mischievous reasons, adopts an outlandish hat. Other women, anxious to be noticed, also adopt the “new hat” until it has become the fashion - this because live per cent of her sex wear the things and the other ninety-five per cent are afraid to seem out-of-date and mutely don their crown of thorns, a hat that spoils every pleasing line in a woman’s figure by its absurd grotesqueness. Like some oil paintings framed in ornate gold frames, the attention is drawn away from the masterpiece because of the too conspicuous frame. A woman’s charm is apt to be missed when her hat commands the focus of attention to the exclusion of all else.—J. R. Ildstad, Quatsino, B.C.

Fifty Thousand Ladies Can’t Be Wrong

For heaven’s sake, let me get into the fray ! Having just bought a copy of the latest Sarsaparilla—pardon me, Schiaparelli down hat, I rise up in righteous defense of the new hats. I have worn them all, enjoyed them

all. and been entertained in them all by various “Mr. Browns” whose pulses seemed to flutter in the approved manner.

Miss Sanders mentions that the milliners have enjoyed an unusually successful season. Splendid ! More power to them. If they had offered to our carefully guarded depression purses merely hats instead of “inspirations,” we would have clutched our purses firmly and marched past millinery stores with the thought uppermost that a yard of pink ribbon and a feather would make the old one as good as new. But you could never do that with the new hats. Who could march past the fez, the turban, the little sailor, the postillion or the clown hat without stopping to look at them? Who could resist the urge to go and try them on to see how they would look? Noth And once inside a milliner’s store.

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only strong-minded females like Miss Sanders could resist the urge to buy. Nor do 1 stand alone. Fifty thousand ladies can’t be wrong!

And Miss Sanders —shaking my forefinger gently at you—if 1 see a lady, a fat one, with .several chins that support a head which supports one of the new hats and I do not like the combination, 1 do not blame the hat but the chins.

Hats are on the up and up. So is business. The milliners started it. A wave of buying commenced with the new hats. Hairdressers were kept busy. Department stores were, and still are, reaping harvests by such ads. as, “Just the accessories to go with your new fez or what have you.” And so on ad infinitum. Hail to the new hats! Old Man Depression got socked right on the nose by a hat—not your hat. Miss Sanders, but My Hat. Come on. Do your part. Be a Pagliacci, buy a clown hat and laugh with us!—Mary Howlett, Montreal.

“Hall to the Little Hat”

Now, what’s all this commotion about?

Hats? Oh, yes, the men are wearing those stuffy felts, poor dears!

You mean our hats? Why, what’s wrong with them? I grant you can’t make over last summer’s hat to pass muster for a new one unless you are an artist at the job. So much the better for your milliner.

The designer of hats so distinctive as these should be recorded in history. Hasn’t it brought the millinery trade out of the depression? Our great statesmen have held innumerable conferences and failed to inflate even so trivial a branch of industry as that of making headgear. (Who knows but what it may be that their style of hat hampers their great thoughts?)

Then, too, each daughter of Eve who purchases one of these much discussed head ornaments does her bit for the world as well as satisfies her own vanity.

And they appear ridiculous? Nonsense!

Of course you can be strong-willed or in

ordinary language just stubborn, and order your milliner to make you a hat. One of those big. concealing, awkward things may satisfy you today, but later you may regret it.

When you are an old. old lady your greatgranddaughter will be sitting by your knee. She will stop in her picture-book at the sketch of a lady. This lady will wear a tiny hat perched jauntily on her dainty head. Under the picture will appear the date 1933.

“Did ladies really wear teeny, cute hats like this, granny.”

“Yes. dear.”

“All of them?”

“Why, yes. most of them?”

“Did you, granny?”

“No. dear. I—well, I—didn’t.”

“Why not, granny?”

And then you are stuck ! Why not? One might as well be on a desert island as out of style. So—Hail to the Little Hat!—

Mary O. C. Tingey, Whitewood, Sask.

“The Half Not Told”

More power to Dora Sanders! She has put into print what has been seething within me for some weeks. 1 heartily agree with what she says and think “the half has not been told.”

i I wish she would write similarly of the ! present crazes in shoes, dresses and coats.

Women’s clothes have always been more or less ridiculous, but it seems to me that this spring we have excelled ourselves; and the maddening thing about it is that the sensible person of limited means who cannot afford to go to a first-class dressmaker or ladies’ tailor and boss the job of having made for herself a becoming modification of the prevailing styles, simply has to choose the least freakish apparel she can and then know that she does not look “smart.” But what can we do about it? The old saying “Might as well be out of the world as out of the fashion” was never truer than in these hectic days.— Perplexed Dresser. Toronto.

Heads, You Win

I agree with Horace. Miss Sanders really gives her whole case away in her second paragraph. She wrote: "When these preposterous abnormalities were first introduced —right on top of the depression, so to speak —it looked like a bad thing ...”

It is only fair to say that the gay insouciance of the 1933 models with their bright

colors and the jaunty, chins-up attitude which their wearers have adopted, have given the men a much-needed dig in the ribs. The day of droop is done; they seem to say, “Chins up!”

On Miss Sanders' own admission, too. there is at least plenty of variety. She lists five separate and distinct types. No cause for complaint here! As a humble but untechnical observer who recalls MerryWidow hats so large that their wearers had to enter the omnibuses of London, England, sideways, and yet other specimens of headgear which might have been a section of any suburban flower garden, I am sure that the dryads and nymphs of Sherbrooke and St. Catherine Streets, of Yonge and Bloor, not to mention other localities, have cause for thankfulness. The same goes for the men. who, in spite of all, still look at them.

Actually the designers of women's hats seem to have become conscious, almost for the first time, that hats are headgear, not head extinguishers, and have given the hair a chance to show itself such as it has not had since bobbing first came in. And won’t the dear little scalps and hair roots benefit! At last it’s a case of “Heads, you win!”—Eric Muncaster. Montreal.

An Appeal for Masculine Protection

Miss Sanders hits the nail on the head— or on the hat. She is humiliatingly right, and I blush for the appearance I cut when I wear my own atrocity. But I shall continue wearing it. The situation really has nothing to do with hats at all, a thing Miss Sanders overlooks.

Women have always got what they wanted, and for some time now they have been wanting old-time chivalry, tenderness and protection from men. They want their men to feel toward them as their grandfathers felt toward their grandmothers, and, if looking ridiculous will get it for them, they will even wear those hats.

The first time I saw a fez hat, it was worn by a glamorous motion-picture star now past her first youth. It was hideously unbecoming, perched hopeiuiiy on the top of her head, sheltering tiny curls at the back of her neck. Even her beautiful smile did not redeem it. Do you know I felt sorry for

her. Poor little pathetic thing! I felt an impulse to protect such innocence that would thrust such a horror on her head and not even know' it. This w'as my reaction in spite of the fact that the lady had already had four husbands.

Now. I am a woman. If I can feel that w'ay, how much more so can a man feel, even though he hates these hats. Aside from the grieved tenderness he feels, his masculine vanity will prompt him to “take her in hand” and—well “look after her.”—(Mrs.) B. A. Marshall, Halifax, N.S.

Reaction After Stress and Struggle

Designers have painstakingly studied the development of headgear since Aspasia strolled the streets of Athens in a veil. They have pondered long hours over the fabrics, colors and feathers which the world had to offer. They have considered the strain of these depression years, and the effect on women. And they havç laid at our feet one of the most interesting assortments of hats ever placed there before. We have proved it !

Any student of human nature knows that the clothes of a period reflect to a certain degree the mood of the times. Some of us see in our hats a faint lightheartedness—the reaction after the stress and struggle of past years. When we pause thoughtfully before a mirror, easily adjusting one of these really bewitching creations, we are tempted to hope that the year and our luck may be as “different.”—Dorothy E.Watford. Gormley, Ontario.

Ridicule is an Educator

In Britain, they are still striving to have DORA (Defense of the Realm Act) put away, but here, in Canada, we must strive to have Dora carry on.

Two young fellow's who line up at the same counter every morning ready to serve young and old, happen to bach together. On a certain morning recently, a local belle who usually disdains headgear breezed in. w'earing the latest model. Without thinking or caring about giving offense to a good

customer, Tom hissed: “Say, Jim, see where our darned old frying-pan went.”

Ridicule is a great educator, and in the matter of these so-called hats, a fair admixture of common sense and ridicule will keep the fair sex on an even balance. For instance, I am not a milliner but sell hats as a “line.” and have refused to stock the monstrosities. Have I lost sales? Possibly; but as far as money goes these days, I have made ready sales of hats—real hats—to those who, thank heaven, represent nearly 100 per cent of our Canadian womanhood.

Keep up the good work. Macleans, and give space to the Doras who will fearlessly tackle the travesties of our present-day life. —Farwest. Port Alberni, B.C.

Give Men a Superior Feeling

Would Dora Sanders condemn us to one eternal, monotonous style—the same we have worn for the last five or six years because it w'as sensible and covered our heads well? Oh. Dora ! You must be a real bluestocking, wedded to things of the mind alone, far above the vanities and frivolities of ordinary women.

The other night I went to see “Cavalcade” and overheard a girl say. "What a lovely bat!” A fashionable hat of 1901 was being shown—a huge affair that must have taken at least a dozen hat pins to keep it in place.

But it was picturesque, and what woman does not long to be a living picture?

When I was a child I was taken to a milliner’s and told to choose a hat. I chose a '''Black straw with a wreath of daffodils around it. They tried to persuade me it was not exactly suitable for an everyday school hat, but I would have no other. The memory of my joy and contentment in that hat remains with me still.

Dora says that women have been the laughing-stock of the world lately, but did it ever occur to anyone that in a philanthropic moment they may have sacrificed their feelings to cheer a depressed world in these trying times? By our hats ye shall know us! We can express our personalities in our hats much more than in our faces, for we can pick and choose them, whereas our faces are given to us and we cannot look a gift horse in the mouth. When we are glad, some bright jaunty little affair is just the thing; when we are sad, something along Dora’s line will do.

So, my sisters, wear your “glad rags” and rejoice in them, for “Oh. it is not always May,” and I know the men enjoy seeing us break out into freaks occasionally. It gives them such a superior feeling.—N. M. G. Jackson, Winnipeg.

Cheerful Hats for Cheerful Souls

I live in a modest little town where I have not had an opportunity of being fed up with hats of various shapes and sizes, wise or otherwise,

Well, on May 24 we visited the Woodbine racetrack, and while the races were in preparation I got a good deal of pleasure out of inspecting the ladies’ headgear. Nor did it ever occur to me that our sex was headed either for perdition or the insane asylum. I did think they were doing much by their variety in apparel toward helping depression around the comer which leads to oblivion.

Most of my thoughts, however, were turned to pictures that hang on memory's wall. One lady had on a hat which immediately caused me to recall the good old days when brother and I were kids and made dunces’ caps and wore them. The picture quickly changed, for a smart little lady passed wearing a white hat, and my husband said, “Just like the napkins at the restaurants.” And with this a flood of memories came to us.

Soon another lady passed with a hat reminding one of a flat-bottomed boat, and now I was no longer in the grandstand but on Rice Lake, happy with my thoughts of many pleasant hours spent at a summer resort some years ago. And so on. It seemed as if each hat brought a memory, and each memory a delight.

And, if you will believe it, although no one knew me, truly I felt embarrassed, for my hat, with a brim sufficiently broad to shade my eyes from the afternoon’s sun and to prevent the raindrops from trickling down ‘my neck in the morning, must have dampered all those cheerful souls with recollections of Noah’s Ark.—Flo Taylor, Co bourg, Ont,