You can leave your hat on...

>> Wednesday, 14 December 2011

No, please. Let me. Leave my hat on, that is. Because 'that' time of year has arrived — The Time Of The Eternal Hat.

I've never had an easy relationship with head-gear. Throughout my childhood I managed to avoid them as a rule. Sure, there was my uneasy truce with a dun bobble-hat when I was in the Brownies, and then the airline stewardess look-alike cap I had as a Girl Guide — the things I did for Queen and Country — but overall, I was always aware that generally, hats were not for me.

I'm not sure why that was. Oh, alright, I know exactly why that was. I have a big head and fine hair, a disastrous combination for any aspiring hat-wearer, and one that invariably tends to leaves me either looking like I borrowed my younger sibling's titfer (hat on), or (once I've taken it off) with hair so lank, straight, and flat against my head that I might as well have tipped a vat of cooking oil over myself. Not, I am sure you will agree, desirable outcomes in either case.

But, here I am in Moscow. Where the temperature for, oh, I don't know, five or six months of the year is so inclement that only a fool would venture outside without 'protection.' At times, it gets so cold here that if you are silly enough to set foot on the street without a hat, you will be accosted by well-meaning but more than a little scary babushkas berating you for your idiocy and prophesying doom in the form of cold, pneumonia and imminent death if you don't immediately put the woolly bobble hat your mum knitted for you back on. (Mind you, they make the same pronouncements about drinking beverages with ice in them, so...)

But this s the start of my third winter here, and having spent the previous two in an adequately warm but frankly unstylish wool confection from (name deleted to protect the innocent), I was determined that this year, THIS YEAR, I would find the perfect hat.

Reader, I promise you, I tried. It's not as if Moscow is short on hats. They come in every shape, size and material, and surely there must be at least one within my price range to suit? But therein lies the problem — the "within my price range" disclaimer. Certainly, I saw lots of beautiful hats. Some of them — in the right light and with half-squinted eyes — actually suited me. But amongst the ones I could afford? Nothing. Nada. Zilch. If only I could make like my sons and simply throw whatever happened to be warmest and fit me on top of my head.

Instead, I've ended up with a velour number that looks distressingly like the sort of thing your grandmother would sport on a trip to the dentist and which, whilst it fits, doesn't even keep my ears that warm. To add insult to injury, despite it's being too loose, it still manages by some Moscow static magic to glue my hair to the sides of my head by the time I take it off, leaving me with a daily dilemma: add 40 years to my age and keep my hat on inside like some misplaced Edwardian lady on sabbatical from a BBC drama, or remove the offending item and look instead like a drowned rat?

Decisions, decisions.

This post first appeared over at my other blog, 'Diaries of a Moscow Mum' , on The Moscow Times.


Expat mum 14 December 2011 at 15:13  

Ditto here. Haven't quite figured out the trick either as my hair is dead straight and sticks to my head in the winter with the dry air. A lovely look.
I found a gorgeous one, (velour actually), at a market last week but my head is so big that I can never buy hats off the rack, so it had to go back on the shelf. Right now I'm wearing a fetching knitted, multi-coloured thing with great big long ties that drape on either side like Heidi plaits. I think they're meant for teenage snow boarders, but what the heck.
(Current post mentions you BTW.)

MsCaroline 14 December 2011 at 23:21  

I really sympathize - I look awful in hats (round face, makes me look like a cartoon) and have successfully avoided them for years. Not quite so easy in Seoul, with temps at -2/-3 for the highs today. I've resorted to those earmuffs that fit around the back of the head, which is helpful for the hair but doesn't ward off the ajummas (Korean version of the babushka, only smaller; just as adamant about telling you what you're doing wrong.) Have you considered going with the youthful pop culture look? These things are to be seen all over the streets of Seoul, and worn by adult women as well as perky teens...

Nora 15 December 2011 at 01:49  

I think we all look bad in a hat that keeps us adequately warm. Mine makes me look like the village idiot. And yes, when I take it off, I have horrible hair. I avoid wearing my hat if I can. I have lots of sympathy for you, PM. You have to wear your hat more often than I do. There is no solution for the problem either. Just put a big smile on your face and dare anyone to think ill of you. XOX

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