Going to church is an incredibly old social tradition, and, as it happens with social traditions, there are some rules to follow –even in cases when they need to be adapted for modern times-. One of this rules, and actually one of the very few social rules that concern attending church that has its basis on the bible –instead of just cultural tradition- is that women and men must wear hats while at church. This tradition comes from the book 1 of the Corinthians, chapter 11, as we can read in the verses 5-6:
“But every woman who prays or prophesies with her head uncovered dishonors her head—it is the same as having her head shaved. For if a woman does not cover her head, she might as well have her hair cut off; but if it is a disgrace for a woman to have her hair cut off or her head shaved, then she should cover her head”. Applying this social rule to the modern day, when the options in clothing and accessories are almost endless, results in quite a few trends and designs when it comes to hats. Here are the latest and most fashionable of them:
Ribbons are timeless when it comes to Sunday attires, as they are seen in dresses, shoes and hats. But, recently, they have become one of the most frequent styles we see today in church hats, coming in all sorts of fabrics –satin, lace, cotton-, colors –in the same tone as the rest of the hat or in a highly contrasting one- and patterns –solid colors, dots, stripes-.
Hats with ribbons tend to be very versatile, since they don’t look as serious as a plain hat, but still are formal and elegant enough to be part of an adequate church attire.
Not real flowers, of course. Since church hats are used more in the Southern United States –a region famous for its hot temperatures- than anywhere else, it makes sense that hats include flowers made out of ribbon or lace, symbolizing at the same time the spring/summer seasons that remind us of the warm weather and also the fertility and life that, in catholic religion, are always connected to women.
Who said that dignity and respect can’t be mixed with luxury and style? One of the last trends in church hats, and one that has gained enormous popularity among upper-class women all over the country, is hats with precious stones, metals or diamonds on them. There are several brands that offer a wide range of designs that take the luxury to the next level and give a classic fashion piece like a church hat, a new meaning.
Women like wearing church hats ornamented with precious stones, metals or diamonds because it symbolizes the richness of god in their lives –the same way that golden chalices and utensils do at church-.
4. Asymmetrical designs
Centuries ago, when they first started to be worn, church hats used to be fairly simple and symmetrical. Because of the limitations of the hat industry, that often made every hat by hand, in small batches and didn’t offer a lot of different designs, hats were limited to what the little technology and development of the hat-making process could deliver. Nowadays, thanks to the enormous factories, the hundreds and hundreds of different brands and designers and, mainly, the huge advances in technology, hats can be produced in virtually any form conceivable.
In an effort to bring a little more playfulness to church hats without loosing their characteristic dignity, hat brands in the past years have started to become a little more daring and create asymmetrical designs that look different when viewed from the left, right, front or back.
Just like we mentioned in point numbers 2 and 3, church hats aren’t only an accessory or part of an outfit; they frequently also try to symbolize things, as they are perceived as a particularly spiritual part of the church attire –belief is that God watches us from above while we are at church, so the main thing he sees is the head and whatever is covering it-.
Feathers –more commonly synthetic than natural- are a clear allusion to birds, and birds are a very appropriate animal to allude while in church: not only are they a representation of life just for the fact that they are animals, but the Holy Spirit is represented by a dove. Wearing a church hat adorned with feathers, thus, is a fashionable way to symbolize and honor important aspects of religion.
Fascinators are very fashionable and lightweight headpieces that attach to the hair using a clip or band. While fascinators were originally conceived as an alternative for hats, the modern trends in church hats styles have merged both of them –the regular hat and the fascinator- in a headpiece informally called a “hatinator”.
A hatinator resembles a regular fascinator –lightweight, wild and eccentric design often based on lace and mesh-, but incorporates a little base –both fascinators and hatinators are supposed to be smaller than the diameter of the user’s head- that makes it look like a wildly ornamented and very little hat. Hatinators are probably the most chic new trend in church hats.