Now, I know that at least two of my blogging friends are Red Hat Society ladies, you know who you are over in Oregon, but at the weekend I met a real live one myself. Carol, whose Hatter name is Countess Caroline, had a table displaying her gorgeous handmade fascinators, many of which she has created for mellow hatters (I just invented mellow because fellow sounded too masculine for Hatty ladies). Once Carol told me she was involved in this craziness I just had to learn more.
She began by telling me that they are all show offs! ‘You almost have to be’ she said, ‘and I’ve always been a showy off person myself’, I don’t know about that, but she is certainly a very attractive and outgoing lady who loves to chat. As well as the red hats they wear purple clothes when they meet up in their ‘Chapters’. Most of them are middlies but you can still join in your forties, then you are a Pinkie with lilac clothes and pink hats. At fifty you are invested with scarlet sparkles or a wand. Carol is one of the one hundred members of the Riviera Royals, whose leader is Princess Cockington.
When the ladies meet up they go on a ‘Hoot’, days out, concerts, shows and balls, and men are never allowed. Occasionally other chapters are invited to a soiree, to which they often travel using their bus passes, fully hatted and gowned. They have big conventions and she has been known to attend as a St Trinians girl.
During a ladies birthday month, they dress in reverse, red clothes and purple hats. There’s a whole world of red hatters out there with dedicated internet shopping sites. Some hatters have appeared on the Vanessa show, I would imagine Ms Feltz would be in her element.
Carol told me that she went on her own to her very first meeting and that from the start she felt welcome. ‘I’ve found that women can be bitchy, but never felt that in the Red Hatters. I think it’s because of our age, there are no grudges, it’s a sisterhood. No one minds disgraceful behaviour. Even out for coffee we wear our hats. It’s supportive as well as fun, caring for each other through bereavement, watching out for each other’s well being and remembering little details.’
For last year’s Royal Wedding they celebrated at a lovely local restaurant. They watched together, all dressed to the nines waving flags, as if they were actually there. Carol has immaculately painted nails and not a hair out of place. Last year the chapter went to Ladies day at Ascot, what a sight they must have been, but as it was £3-400, this year they will be going to Newton Abbot. I have no doubt they will look wonderful.
They have a ‘Mother of the Bride’ evening planned shortly. This will be held at the Grosvenor Hotel, Torquay, as featured on a recent Channel Four TV series. This will be a major event for which Carol will be making a sash to wear and the high heels will be out in force – manageable because it will be ‘Car to bar’.
Carol said ‘I can’t promote the Red Hatters enough, it’s given me a new lease of life and I wouldn’t be making fascinators without the society.’ She taught herself to make these exquisite little numbers. I tried one on and looked incredibly silly, but she has made lots for her chapter.
Carol is a glamorous lady and even on holiday her style is maintained. She is ecstatic if she can sit in the sea, watching the sun glinting on her red glittery finger and toe nails. I am grateful to this fabulous lady for sharing her Red Hat experiences with me and maybe one day I might just join. Or not, because I’m too much of a scruff bag!
As well as the unnamed Oregon ladies, I’m sure there are more of you out there around the world, would you like to share some of the fun you have had? I would love to learn what you get up to around the globe!