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Lady Violette

The Romantic Lifestyle

Vintage Hat of the Week – the Goldenrod by Midinette for The City of Paris

February 9th, 2011 by violette

Goldenrod Hat by Midinette for The City of Paris

The Goldenrod is a yellow French fluffy fur felt beret/cloche, New Look 1950’s hat, designed by Midinette for the grand old San Francisco Department store, The City of Paris, and labeled accordingly. Inside the hat is stamped Empress Body, made in Western Germany. The brim trim and bow are made of a stiffened knit fabric. There is a lot of elegantly executed hand sewing and hand work on this lovely little hat. I worked in NYC  with a couture hat designer in the 1990’s (then known as Mindy Fradkin Important Hats, now working under the name Princess of WOW!,)  and learned to appreciate these specialized millinery techniques.

I also learned how to wear hats in many heretofore unimagined imaginative ways! Thus in experimenting with this elegant little number I found it could be worn in it in at least 20 different ways! All of these on my head – just in case you are wondering! I was only limited by my imagination and the fact that I needed to get some other things done. I have photographed it in all the ways I found to wear it, but I have not figured out how to post all these pictures in a gallery on my blog yet. As soon as I learn how to do it I will post all the pictures so you can see the many charming ways I found to wear the Goldenrod. In the meantime, I’ll describe them.

I tried tilting and turning it in every direction I could think of. It is very versatile, for example, the bow can be worn in the front or the back, It is darling either way. Or, you can position the bow to be worn on the side, tilted forward, up or down – front, back or sideways! It can be worn over French roll if you have long hair, or with a bob – tilted like a saucy beret. It would be darling over a short haircut too!

I photographed the Goldenrod Hat in many positions and from many angles to give you ideas on how to position it on yourself. I was having so much fun figuring them all out. The sky seems to be the limit with this versatile piece! It has loads of personality! And I think it would work for many women of many styles and ages! From a Gigi Ingenue to a Sophisticated Socialite, to a First Lady! I could see it on one of the stylistas of Man Men with a belted black sheath and matching goldenrod yellow gloves, or on Michelle Obama with a black pencil skirt and chic yellow and black silk print blouse!

You can tell, as I write, that I name my hats! Somehow I started naming them, whatever came to mind. It helps me to keep track of them! And they have so much personality they just seem to want their own names. I put their names on the outside of their boxes so I can keep track of them and find them when I am pressed for time. It helps!

Goldenrod would look lovely accented with gold jewelry! I think it is important to remember that this hat comes from the era in which women never went out without hat, gloves and jewelry! Perhaps take that into consideration when creating your own New Look with such a vintage piece. I decided I would wear it myself as a stiffened French Schoolgirl Beret – think Madeline of Paris – with black capri pants, red patent or suede flats, and a short black and yellow 40’s swing jacket. I figure out ways to wear such pieces with other pieces I already have. And I recommend doing that. It is amazing how many interesting combinations one can find just “shopping” in one’s own closet! I figured out that it would also make for a jaunty look with a red 40’s swing jacket that I have combined with the same pants and shoes above! And I could wear it with an Issa London jersey wrap dress in a geometric Vasserali print from the 70’s, topped off with a blue swing jacket from the 40’s and vintage yellow alligator pumps.

When one gets going the possibilities seem to be almost endless! A hat like this is positively inspiring! Hats in general are like that which is one reason I love them! They are often charming and can be disarming. They are always entertaining. So much so that my friend, the hat designer, formerly Mindy Fradkin Important hats, has ended up becoming an entertainer, Princess WOW! using her hats in her comedy routines and performance and

I promise to write about that soon!

Both the wearers of hats and the people who see them benefit from the experience. Hats can make people happy – I often see someone smile when they see me in a hat they like. And I enjoy that! I smile back! They are definitely conversation pieces. People will come up to you if you are wearing an interesting hat and ask you about it, or tell you they like it, or start a conversation based on the fact that they initially admired your hat! Hats often break the ice! You never quite know what to expect! You’ll see! If you wear them in interesting ways interesting things will happen to you that didn’t happen before! Try it, you’ll experience it yourself!

The ways you could wear this little beauty are only limited by your imagination…I can see the right person wearing it to church with an elegant matching suit or an artsy bohemian type wearing it to a gallery opening with wide flowing pants and long flowing hair….like flower child Penelope Tree might have done in the 60’s, wearing this hat in a completely unorthodox way in a different fashion time period than it originally came from. New images of women in this Midinette Goldenrod Hat just keep popping into my mind – like flowers popping into bloom in a meadow overnight! Regarding hats, vintage or new contemplate this:

It is important, in my opinion, when wearing vintage, to co-ordinate your looks in your very own original way, so you have a truly individual style. That way you will use what suits you best choosing from any eras and mixing whatever you like and think works well together. Sometimes that will be completely unorthodox assemblages and other times it may be the exact rendition of the way a piece or an ensemble was originally meant to be worn. You should do whatever you like best and whatever you feel works best for you. True style is achieved when you know yourself and choose accordingly. It has nothing to do with fashion of the moment. We are always changing too, so something you might have worn a certain way, three or four times suddenly doesn’t look so great to you and you want to change it or combine it somehow to create a different effect. I experiment constantly and I encourage everyone to try it, try to be more creative in the way you dress. It is an art form. We can either be dynamic living moving sculptures – thus walking works of art, or shadows of darkness who recede into the background not wanting to be seen! We all have days that we might feel like doing that, of course, but hopefully we have more days on which we want to be beautiful or colorful or intriguing or interesting and dressing up is one way we can project that! It can actually help us make connections with other people. I think people acknowledged this more in other eras when there was more emphasis on considering how you came across to others.

I, for one, truly appreciate it when I see a person artfully dressed. I appreciate the artistry of it, the care and choices and effort that went into it, the beauty and the color and the line. I enjoy seeing them. I am benefiting from their efforts at self expression. They are giving me a little pleasure in my life just because I get to see them! It needn’t cost a lot of money to dress well. What it takes is creativity, an eye for the details and the components. And a good imagination. Vintage clothing is good for this because it is often interesting and unusual and well made. Those of us who love hats know that hats, of course, are especially wonderful in this way!


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