More Kids With Lids

     In our last thrilling installment, we were discussing how boys, on postcards but also outside in the world, would pretend to be grown-ups by donning a grown-up hat, most usually a silk topper.  Well, girls were liable to the same strategy.

     Little girls tended to wear bonnets, like the girl at the top of this…well, maybe not exactly like hers.  She’s overdoing it a bit.  But you get the general idea.  Something close to the head without elaborate brims of decorations, was the norm for lasses with single-digit ages.  A big, fancy hat was meant to draw attention, to show off a grown woman’s style and fashion (and availability and, to some degree, general uselessness.  Fashion designers understood early the assertion of Oscar Wilde that anything useful could not be a work of art.  A really big hat made movement slower and more calculated, particularly on windy days.)

     So a little girl in a big hat was cute and funny, as was this young lady who is confident in the work of her dressmaker, though her hatmaker is really more responsible for the effect.

     This young lady, now, understands that it’s really all about the accessories.  These things worked when her older sister went to a dance, so why shouldn’t that bow and parasol and, especially, that hat, do the same for her?

     You simply couldn’t help but impress the opposite sex if you had the right hat.

     Though the fashionably set-up young lady, like that supposed older sister, could not be too careful.  One had to take at least as good care of one’s reputation as one did of one’s look.

     The men would certainly flock around one once that hat was donned.  A smart girl kept an eye out for sharpers like this lad, who has also put on a hat worn by his elders.  He isn’t pulling the hat over HER eyes.

     Of course, as this lady with a 1920s style hat suggests, impressing the opposite sex isn’t the whole point of looking good.  A hat can be a serious reflection of one’s self-image and a gauge of one’s self-worth.

     Only once she has those important commodities assured can a lady confidently use her smile…and her big grown-up hat…in the battle between the sexes.  This hat-wearer advertises that she’s looking, but her attitude and big umbrella show she’s perfectly comfortable going for a walk with little more than those.  Male companionship might be entertaining, but isn’t essential to a lady with the Right Hat.

     Our cartoonists, in fact, sometimes worried that the young man would be swept away by a woman with a big hat, someone who would ensnare the poor innocent lad, who would find himself left at home to mind the children while his mate headed back into the world, hat on head, to enjoy a busy life in the world.  The lesson was clear: Be the wearer big or small, a grown-up hat could do it all.

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