Wednesday, July 10, 2013

The Best Dressed: Hat, Gloves, and Eau de Off

I love hats. Years ago my best friend Patricia Rose and I loved to take the bus to downtown Denver. During summer vacation, we’d drive to the county line bus stop at Sloan’s Lake in Lakewood, where we would board the city bus to ride to 16th Street, the shopping district of the mile high city. We’d get off the bus at Woolworth’s where we’d have lunch, a sandwich and a Coke—a real treat for two country girls. We’d walk 16th Street up down one side and up other, taking all day window shopping in all of high-end department stores that we could never afford to shop in: May D&F, The Denver Dry Goods, Joslins, and the most exclusive, Neusteters  I guess we got a bit carried away because the stodgy old sales clerk kicked us not only out of the hat department, but told us to leave the store. We went, our laughter echoing throughout the store. Our day would end at the candy store where we would buy a decadent piece of fudge to enjoy on our bus ride back to the car.

. Trying on hats was our favorite. We’d pose in the mirror, laugh, reach for another hat, laugh some more. (No cell phone cameras or Facebook posts in those days—just good old memories preserved for life). Patti started the laughing fit when she told me: “You’d look good with a bucket on your head.”

My mom and dad in their later years shopped every Saturday morning the Mile High Flea Market outside of Denver. Dad would buy tools; mom would buy fresh fruits and vegetables, trinkets for her granddaughters, and hats that she would wear to the flea market the next Saturday.

I display them on the wall in my guest room—a sweet reminder of  mom.

This one is my favorite, with the Neusteters label still intact. You can imagine the garden parties this hat must have attended as it made the rounds in Denver summer society.

The best dressed woman in the ‘50s and even into the ‘60s never left home with out her hat and her gloves. Remember Jackie O.? Women dressed elegantly and formally when they left home. While I didn’t wear a hat to church, I did wear gloves as a new teacher in small town where I thought that I had to appear properly.

I still try on hats, especially in the thrift stores. I like to wear a hat when I garden to keep the sweat out of my eyes and the sun off of my aging face. I found this one at a thrift store in Ft. Collins. It has character.

As a gardener now, I wear gloves not so much to protect the manicure, rather to guard against certain bacteria that live in the soil that might enter my hands through a hangnail or bit of open place in the skin. Really, I am not paranoid or a hypochondriac. The Head Gardener has a problem with two fingernails that have a fungus that he picked up pulling weeds. He has tried everything to cure the fungus. His dermatologist put him on a potent and potentially dangerous antibiotic that did nothing. He has tried everything from home remedies to products he has ordered online: oils and ointments, even Vick’s to get his nails to grow normally.  He did notice a slight improvement in the nails after spending time in the chlorinated swimming pool in Texas, so he may try another concoction. We buy cheap gardening gloves by the bag. He doesn’t always wear them though, and I have to remind him if is going be digging in the dirt to put on his gloves.

Every year for Christmas I’d receive my favorite perfume, but I stopped wearing perfume because it just came so over powering. Now, especially in the evenings, I don’t leave the house without a good spritz of Eau de Deep Woods Off.  It’s disgusting stuff, but necessary. My mother-in-law swore by a Downy Dryer Sheet tucked in her pocket to ward off nasty mosquitoes. Others recommend Avon’s Skin So Soft with a scent so strong that it would ward off vampires. Nasty as it is, every best-dressed gardener will use some sort of bug repellent that contains “Deet” to protect from mosquito bites. Here in northern Colorado (and not just here), the nasty creatures carry West Nile (read about West Nile here: We hear the horror stories about those who have contracted the virus suffering a variety of symptoms from mild flue-like symptoms to paralysis, blindness, even death. And once infected with virus, one has it always, so we suffer the Off.

Sunscreen has to be another must; my dermatologist and MD both insist on it; however, I have never used sunscreen much I guess because I tan easily. (Faulty logic, I know). I do insist that the fair-haired grandchildren are properly protected. Yes, I know. I should be wearing SPF 50 or higher, for as I age my skin is becoming less tolerant of the sun, thus the hat and the gloves at least.

The Head Gardener even has his own gardening 
hat that he pretty much wears most 
of the time when he is outside; it doubles as his fishing hat.

Together the two hats garden.

So how do you dress when you go out to garden? Do you take any special precautions, or do just throw your cares to the wind and enjoy the sunshine, the fresh air, and the breeze in your hair, sweat in your face, and the bugs a buzzin'?

(To spruce up my photos, I used Picasa with textures from Kim Klassen Cafe. She offers free textures and has great tutorials).

Good gardening this week, dear friends.


  1. I really enjoyed that part about your wonderful new scent( bug spray toilette), its a necessary beauty regimen for Greeley folk. My daughter lived in Greeley for a short time and used loads of woods off because of those blood suckers.
    I love hats! You just feel glamorous wearing them gardening.

  2. I really enjoyed that part about your wonderful new scent( bug spray toilette), its a necessary beauty regimen for Greeley folk. My daughter lived in Greeley for a short time and used loads of woods off because of those blood suckers.
    I love hats! You just feel glamorous wearing them gardening.

  3. A really wonderful post mom. With some funny parts too!

  4. Love this post Ann. It brought back many memories of wearing hats and gloves, not to mention pearls, which you pictured. Being from the South, all Southern girls have at least one nice set of pearls! Still! Like you, I basically wear hats now in the garden, but I do wear one in the swimming pool because I don't get my hair wet, I just exercise. And being a red head, I know all about sun screen and bug spray! And Skin so Soft is a great product. I used to pour a quart of rinse water with 1 tablespoon of Skin So Soft on my dog and he never had a flea! Which is like a miracle in Florida. Your photos were really neat, too.

  5. The textures are beautiful for your photos! I love big pretty hats, too and remember wearing gloves on Sunday. I put on a baseball cap to be outside here in Florida. Hats tend to blow off! lol Not the best look! Sweet hugs!

  6. I love your post, I'm a big hat person too. I always admired the ladies at church that wore hats and gloves. That seems to be a by-gone era now. It's nice that you have your mom's hats displayed and collecting dust in the attic or garage. I try to wear a hat in the garden as well. There are times that I forget both the hat and gloves. I hope your husband gets rid of his nail fungus. That's the most difficult fungus to get rid of.

  7. You are getting very creative with your photography, and the textures are a nice touch.

    I'm loving your hats, you seems to have quite a collection.


  8. Hi Diana,

    I enjoyed your post on hats. On hot days I wear one in the garden as well. I wish they would come back in fashion again. I wouldn't mind wearing more often. I have good memories of my grandparents who always wore hats when going outside. It looked so stylish!

    Wishing you a lovely new week!

    Madelief x

  9. I don't wear a hat unless it's cold in the garden. I hear you on the gloves though. I really need to start wearing them as I've a few cuts from the past week and one taking a while to heal. Plus if I'd been wearing gloves at the weekend my right hand wouldn't have so many blisters after trying to weed in brick hard soil. Lovely to see so many hats - I love them and I've always admired the old photographs from that generation. Have a lovely week Ann.

  10. I wear a hat, but which hat depends on how bright the sun is. I also wear spf 50 or higher although sometimes I am guilty of running outside without it. Tell your husband to try an herbal nail fungus product sold at I used it and it actually works when nothing else did. I also wear gloves to protect my hands but half the time I end up taking them off. Love your gardening hat! It's much classier than mine. :o)

  11. I like your interesting photo shots. I have old garden clothes I use when outside and usually a baseball cap. I have some lovely hats so I must look them out and set a new trend!

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