My mother--Mimi to her grandchildren--is a very stylish person. There is nothing the least bit tomboyish about the way she dresses; in fact, most of her outfits absolutely scream "girly-girl." She loves to have an excuse to get all dressed up--or as she might say, "all dolled up." She favors bright, vibrant colors, and fancy feminine touches like ruffles, sequins, feathers, fur, and sparkly costume jewelry. And she loves hats, the bigger and more ostentatious the better. (She would have fit right in there with all the mad hatters at the royal wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton.) I used to think that she was way too "out there" and theatrical with her hats, and I myself was always much too self-conscious to wear them. But you know what they say: the older a woman gets, the more like her mother she becomes. Oh no, it's happening...because (yikes!) all of a sudden in my fifties, I have become a bit of a hat person.
The hats I wear have nothing on Mimi's, though. As an example, I give you the one she wore to my oldest son's high school graduation about a decade ago.On that special day, the graduation of her oldest grandchild, my mom wore a hot pinkish/purplish/ fuschia? (I'm not sure what to call this color) silk suit that was comprised of a jacket and cropped pants. We would have called those pants "highwaters" when I was growing up, but they were actually very chic* (translation: chic) and en mode* (translation: in style). Mimi topped the whole ensemble off with a wide-brimmed straw hat in a matching shade of purple. She was hands down the best-looking grandmother at that graduation! She looked fabulous that day--very purply, to quote Buddy the Elf--and she stood out in a staid New England crowd that was dressed, for the most part, in beiges, navy blues, and blacks.
My #2 son was watching the proceedings from a balcony in the gym that resembles a choir loft in a church. A friend asked him which of his family members had come to the graduation, and he named off all of his brothers, his parents, and then Bigfoot--stopping to explain that, yes, that's what his grandfather was called...and then he looked down and spied a lone spot of color amidst the hundreds of hatless heads in the crowd. He paused and shook his head. He'd been taken by surprise, because he hadn't seen Mimi's get-up before this moment. "And see that gigantic purple hat?" he said. "That's my grandmother." (This story is a lot funnier when my son tells it himself. The way he describes his reaction to seeing Mimi's big, crazy hat is hilarious.)
My mother is so beautiful, and she's never just a face in the crowd. She's a huge, brightly-colored hat in the crowd. You can't miss her. And you wouldn't want to.
*Excuse my French, as they say. I'm very rusty and I'm trying to brush up; because on Friday, I plan to accompany my husband on a four-day trip to Nice! It's going to be impressionnant (translation: awesome)!