Friday, January 15, 2016

January 15 is National Hat Day: Fashion and Function

January 15 is National Hat Day. Since I was born in the 1940's in Southern California, hats were only part of my life on special days like Easter Sunday, or, later on if I visited the snow in the mountains. On Easter Sundays, women wore hats to be fashionable and traditional. When I wore a hat in the mountains it was functional in keeping my head warm.

People in California, except in some of the cities, dressed pretty casually, and most of the time we did not need hats to keep our heads warm. We needed them more often to keep the sun out of our eyes and prevent sunstroke and sunburn. The picture above was taken one year at what was then the Paso Robles Festival of the Arts, now known as the Paso Arts Fest. If you click on the photo to see it full size, you will see that many of the people working on the sand sculpture and those around them are wearing hats. Most of these hats are more functional than fashionable.

The basic function of a hat is to cover the head and protect it from excessive heat or cold. Most of the following photos were taken at the Festival of the Arts, an outdoor event in Paso Robles at the end of May. It's usually very warm, and many of us are outside for most of the day. That's why many of the vendors, artists, and attendees wear some sort of hat to protect them from the sun. I went through my files to show you some the hats worn by people I had photographed for other reasons. Perhaps you've met some of these people, many of whom are artists. I'll identify them if I can. I can't see the name tag on this artist. It appears her hat is the type that keeps the head warm. She is participating in the Plein Air Quick Draw which starts at the very beginning of the day. The artists only have a couple of hours to finish their paintings.


Next we have Anne Laddon, without whom we would not have Studios on the Park or the art festivals in Paso Robles. She has lots of help, but she got the ball rolling and does a lot of the work. I had to look at a few more photos to be sure this was Anne, since her face doesn't show here. She is also working on a Quick Draw painting.  I chose this view because it shows off her hat, which is both fashionable and functional.





John Partridge is teaching a watercolor workshop in this photo. I was watching his demonstration.  You can see John's paintings hanging in public places all over Paso Robles. He paints a lot of the most historical and famous places in the city.  His hat serves well to keep the sun out of his eyes.


Julie Dunn, on the right, is one of the many artists exhibiting her art in the park. I liked her hat. Like Anne's it's both fashionable and functional.  It does a good job of shading her face and protecting her head from the heat.


I'd like to show you a couple of other men who were at this event wearing hats. The first is a model for one of the plein air artists during the Quick Draw. I believe the finished work had the word "Cowboy" as part of the title. Do you like his hat? I don't have his name. You can click the photo to enlarge it for a better look at his hat. I didn't crop for just the hat because I just couldn't leave the tree out of the picture.