There’s a new face in town! Meet professional model Hedy Hatstand. She comes to the land of Ms. Jeannie from a traveling trunk show that toured the country for years and years. Now anxious to be rooted for awhile, Hedy’s happy to be in long-term employ in the bookshop of Ms. Jeannie Ology as the official face of all things vintage head and neck-wear.
Named after Old Hollywood siren turned brilliant inventor Hedy Lamarr (1914-2000), who is still considered to be one of the most beautiful women to EVER hit the big screen…
our Hedy Hatstand comes with her own dramatic beauty face. From afar she sports a milk-tone complexion…
but up close she’s cleverly tattooed in music and lyrics…
from her favorite 1920’s jazz song Nobody’s Sweetheart.
Like Hedy Lamarr’s tumultuous six marriage love life, and like the you-don’t-fit-in-anywhere song lyrics of Nobody’s Sweetheart, Hedy Hatstand’s had her own tragedies in the romance department.
You’d never believe how much frolicking goes on behind the scenes in the hat industry. Between the fedora salesmen and the stocking cap sewers it’s a veritable web of heart strings passing from one head to another. Hedy doesn’t like to talk about it too much but, as is true with any tattoo, the story is all there permanently written on her face…
…wedding bells and vices, dreams and changes, kisses and catastrophes…
Luckily all of that amorous experience, all that life of long-living and layered love has built up quite a beautiful face that makes our dear Hedy just perfect for expressive, one of a kind style. She can model both men’s….
and women’s hats…
with equal aplomb and can even manage a striking bowtie…
The song lyrics for Nobody’s sweetheart include passages like this:
You’re nobody, nobody’s sweetheart now, There’s no place for you somehow, With all of your fancy clothes, silken gowns, You’ll be out of place in the middle of your own hometown, When you walk down the avenue, All the folks just can’t believe that it’s you.
With all those painted lips and painted eyes, Wearing a bird of paradise, It all seems wrong somehow, It seems so funny, You’re nobody’s sweetheart now!
Hedy’s daring neck tattoo may read Nobody’s Sweetheart, but she definitely has one champion in her corner – Ms. Jeannie and she definitely has a place forever to stay if she likes in the bookshop. Of course, life is always changing and there’s no telling how long Hedy will stick around (she could very well follow in the footsteps of Christmas Pig) but for the time being, for this Fall anyway, she’s holding down the hat fort in the shop of books. Because she’s definitely somebody’s sweetheart now.
Look for more images of Hedy and her vintage hats coming to the bookshop this Fall and Winter. In the meantime, you can find her in the bow-tie aisle here right now.
When Ms. Jeannie first started doing her genealogy research, the holy grail of success for her was finding the faces of her ancestors. She worked close to a year before she uncovered any. Ironically, that first photo that opened up the pictorial floodgates, was right under her nose… in an album Ms. Jeannie’s mom had forgotten about in the back of a closet!
The day Ms. Jeannie looked at the face of her great great grandmother Martha, for the first time, she was so overcome with emotion, she cried!
Silly but true. Ms. Jeannie is not really the weepy kind, after all. Anyway, she just got caught up in the moment. All those months of researching Martha’s life – her 11 kids, her journey in covered wagon from Indiana to Ohio to Iowa, her husband’s military service in the Civil War, her farm life in Iowa… all those details rolling around Ms. Jeannie’s head for all that time. And then suddenly – there was Martha! There was the shape of her face, the evidence of glasses, the style of her hair.
Since then, through help from online forums like ancestry.com and genealogy.com and the kindness of sharers, Ms, Jeannie has found handfuls of family photos. Her family. Spread out over many trees, many lines and many countries. These are some of the more recent finds…
Had she never done the research, Ms. Jeannie would never have known what any of these people looked like. With the exception of great grandmother Juna, these were all brand-new faces of family.
Ms. Jeannie likes to look at these pictures and think about the context in which they were taken. What was great Aunt Leona thinking about? Why were Juna and Hannah wearing paper dresses? What was the pin on the lapel of J. William? Noticing small details like this paints a vivid picture for the imagination!
In the same vain, whenever Ms. Jeannie comes across old photographs for sale, she can’t help but do the same exact thing – she thinks about the back story surrounding each image. She has several examples of this in her Etsy shop… let’s take a look…(click on any of the pictures for more information about each photograph)
On first glance, you might just see a picture of a girl on a bench…
But crawl inside Ms. Jeannie’s head and she’ll tell you this story…
“Nina waited patiently for Spring. Well, technically, she was waiting for summer – but you had to get through spring in order to get to summer, so she had to dream in order. This summer, she’d be done. Done with high school. Done with wearing plaid skirt uniforms and done, done, done with all that homework, thank goodness. Sure, she was going onto college in the Fall, but that would be different. There would be boys, and classes she wanted to take and parents that she only had to see on breaks. At college, her preferences for life would bloom and Nina couldn’t wait for that. She’d study literature and she’d become a writer and her very first piece would be about the suffocation of long skirts and loafers.”
Here, you see two bathing beauties…
And Ms. Jeannie sees Rose and Evelyn…
“Rose and Evelyn stayed in their swimsuits the whole entire vacation. And who could blame them? With that ocean stretching out behind them and the infinity pool disappearing in front – it was all they needed. This was the vacation where Evelyn perfected her dive, and where Rose realized that she was now technically old enough to flirt with boys without looking ridiculous. It was an ego-booster for both of them, this vacation.”
This one is a school scene from the 1920’s…
Sometimes, Ms. Jeannie sees many stories in one scene. Such is the case, with this one! Here is all she imagined…
“There’s the obvious one, of course, about how smiling Dorothy is in love with Gilbert and absolutely thrilled that her crush of the past two years is now sharing elbow space with her.
There’s the story about lively Pauline (in the forefront) and how she talked her way into getting the traveling photographer to stop by her Biology 101 class. “You’ll want to document the budding scientific genius occurring in room 9, sir. I guarantee you that.”
There’s the story of Mr. Whipple, first year science teacher, who doggedly fought the school board for months over the right to buy 37 microscopes so that each student in his class (not just the boys) would have use of their own scientific study instruments.
Then there is the story of three friends, who spent all summer in the science lab researching why the bullfrogs in Tillman Pond were genetically bigger then the bullfrogs in every other pond in town.
And let’s not forget about humble Pauline who was the first girl, in the state of Texas, to win first place in the national science fair, which yielded not only a cash prize for her, but new textbooks and supplies for her school.
Oh, Ms. Jeannie could practically write a novel with all the situations going on here! Now it’s your turn to look close and see what stories you see…”
This one is a miniature portrait…
Ms. Jeannie called her Marion and wrote about her neighbor, Arnie (short for Arnold)…
“Marion’s got a suitor in her neighbor, Arnie, across the street. Well, technically he’s not really her suitor yet – but one of these days she’s going to fall head over heels for him. He just knows it. In the meantime, he does his best, on a daily basis, to try to impress her – nothing’s really gone gangbusters so far. Most of the time she stands there, with her arms crossed and that same as ever are you kidding me expression. But Arnie’s of a hopeful mindset…one day, she’ll see it.”
Ms. Jeannie got a little help from the inscription on this photo postcard…
This is what she thought was going on inside Bobbie’s world…
“Oh that Bobbie – she’s quite a clever kidder, calling her beau a schnook like that. She hopes this subtle Merry Christmas postcard tactic is all that she will need to make handsome Dean realize that she is quite over the moon for him. It’s only taken her the whole semester to get her nerve up – but what the heck does she have to lose now? It’s Christmastime and she’s feeling hopeful. She’ll just slide it under Dean’s dorm room door before she heads home for the holiday. Let him stew on that during winter break!”
Of course, all these photographs are open to interpretation,. You may see something totally different in the bathing beauties or in Bobbie’s cheering stance, but that is sort of the fun of these old photographs. Don’t you think?
Following this train of thought, Ms. Jeannie came up with a fun little challenge for all of you dear readers!
Here it is..
Now it is your turn to come up with the back story about this picture above! Write your own quick little story snippet about this photograph and email it to msjeannieology[at]yahoo.com
It doesn’t have to be long… just a few sentences is great. The most creative entry, as determined by Mr. Jeannie Ology (for fairness, of course) will win the picture! The challenge will be open for one week so be sure to get your entries in by midnight on Tuesday, February 26th. Winner will be announced via blog post, and also email, on Wednesday, February 27th.
Lucky for you – there’s a little extra help with this challenge! On the back of the photo, written in pencil, it says…
“Grace & Me. I have on Grace’s hat and she has mine on.”
Here’s a few more close-up views of the photograph. In case you want to know the size – it measures 2.5″ inches x 3.5″ inches.
Funny enough, this is Ms. Jeannie’s second post dedicated to hats and her fifth mention of them in previous fashion related posts. You see, dear readers, Ms. Jeannie has a great love affair with hats, which she is just now realizing.
She only owns three herself: a bright green celery colored garden hat, a wide brim, floppy, shoulder to shoulder straw beach hat and a fancy derby hat which she recycles every year through the magic of ebay – hardly the dynamic collection of a hat lover!
But what Ms. Jeannie has come to realize is that the thing she might just love most about a hat is the ability to subtly express oneself through a color, an adornment, a slight placement of angle. Whether you want to hide from the sun under your big brim or show off your flamboyant style in an eye-catching fascinator – a hat can speak volumes about its wearer without her having to say anything at all. Magical! So when Ms. Jeannie came upon this quote by Martha Sliter – she could completely relate:
“A hat is a flag, a shield, a bit of armor, and the badge of femininity. A hat is the difference between wearing clothing and wearing a costume; it’s the difference between being dressed and being dressed up; it’s the difference between looking adequate and looking your best. A hat is to be stylish in, to glow under, to flirt beneath, to make all others seem jealous over, and to make all men feel masculine about. A piece of magic is a hat.”
Well said Martha! A piece of magic is a hat! This got Ms. Jeannie to thinking about the past – back to nostalgic times when women (and men!) wore hats everyday and millinery shops lined the streets of every city. Now those physical brick and morter shops are few and far between but thanks to Etsy, we can still enjoy vintage hat shopping in our new and modern way – online!
Lucky for us – one of Ms. Jeannie’s readers is Cindy – the dynamo behind The Vintage Hat Shop on Etsy. With over 100 hats currently for sale and over 700 hats sold in just over two years, who better to sit down with to discuss the state of the hat union than her?! Enjoy this stroll through fashion history as Cindy gives us all a glimpse behind the curtain of a true vintage hat shop….
Cindy from The Vintage Hat Shop: I get asked that question a lot. I knew that when I opened a shop on Etsy I wanted to concentrate on just one item. Hats just seemed to work for me—they are unique, ship easily, and I like the types of folks that buy hats. I love hunting for unusual and stylish hats.
MJ: Explain a little bit about sourcing your hats – do you have to do a lot of mending and cleaning to do or do you look for hats that are only in pristine condition?
TVHS: I have my own certain criteria for hats—I won’t buy a hat that has a foul smell, is soiled or needs a lot of repair. I do replace elastic back bands, remove veils, do a bit of minor mending. I iron a lot of ribbons. And I go through many lint rollers.
MJ: Your shop spans many decades – do you have a most favorite time period?
TVHS: I like the ’40s hats myself. I just think it was such an interesting era and the hats are a reflection of the times. The styles were rather “gutsy” and dramatic. So many supplies were in short supply during the war and innovation was the key. I admire and respect that. Such a variety of fashion styles are available from that time period.
MJ: Are you just as interested in hat related paraphernalia, like hat pins, hat boxes, etc as you are hats?
TVHS: I am interested in hat related items but I seldom buy them. I have too many interests and I make myself concentrate on just hats. The hat pins that I have were passed on to me by family members.
MJ: Kate Middleton seems to have brought some new attention to the hat industry, are most of your clients from the U.S. or overseas?
TVHS: I have clients all over the world. I have sold hats to folks in 27 countries—(yes, I keep a list!) About a third of my sales are international. I have hat dealers in 3 countries that buy from me for their shops. Australia is the country to which I ship the most hats.
MJ: If you could put one of your hats on any famous head, living or dead, who would you choose?
TVHS: Some of my hats would look great on Lady Diana. Can you imagine!
MJ: What is your most popular selling style of hat? And most popular decade?
TVHS: That’s a good question, but I haven’t quite figured out the answer yet! There doesn’t seem to be one decade that is consistently popular. Right now I am selling 1960’s cloches that look like they came from the 1920’s. For awhile 1940’s tilts were very popular. The tilt/slouch look from the 1930’s consistently sells well.
MJ: At the moment, there seems to be just a few men’s hats in your shop – is it harder to find men’s hats then women’s, do they sell more quickly or do you just have a natural affinity for a more feminine style?
TVHS: I like men’s hats but I don’t seek them out. Men want their dress hats to fit exactly and it is very hard to size them. Most of the fedoras that I find are a small size. So I rarely list them anymore. I do sell newsboy caps which can be worn by either men or women.
MJ: In your shop bio, it reads that one of your buyers was Polo Ralph Lauren – how exciting! Have you seen your hats in any of their campaigns?
TVHS: No, but I haven’t been looking . Guess I should check that out.
MJ: What is your most favorite hat currently available in your shop?
I like the 1930s maroon tilt slouch hat. I like the quiet simplicity with a touch of classy style. But my favorite changes often.
MJ: Tell us a fun hat buying story in regards to one of your customers…
TVHS: Last week I sold two hats to Loretta Young’s daughter-in-law. Loretta Young loved Lilly Dache’ hats and one of the hats purchased was a black velvet Dachette turban. The hats will be used at a Loretta Young 100th anniversary exhibit at the Hollywood Museum in LA that runs from December through April. She even encouraged me to attend!
Two of my 40s hats were purchased to be worn by extras in the movie “42”, the Jackie Robinson story starring Harrison Ford now being filmed in Macon, GA. You can bet I will be going to see that movie!
Many of my hats have been purchased for vintage weddings, theatrical productions, professional photo shoots and to women that like to dress in a vintage style. Today I sent a hat to a woman that is going to a Gatsby themed wedding and wanted a vintage cloche. You just never know! That’s what makes it so fun.
MJ: Do you have a favorite “hat” movie? “Hat” actress? “Hat” actor?
TVHS: I like the 40s movies and actresses—Bette Davis, Katherine Hepburn, Ingrid Bergman. I can’t pick out a favorite hat movie! What guy wears a hat better than Frank Sinatra?
MJ: Why do you think women’s hats fell out of fashion as a regular, everyday accessory?
TVHS: A lot of people attribute the demise of hat wearing to hairspray! When women get their hair all “dolled up” and put on hairspray so it stays in place. They don’t want to ruin their “do” with a hat. I know on the days when I go hat shopping by the end of the day I have “hat hair”. It isn’t pretty.
MJ: What do you look for in a vintage hat?
TVHS: I look for a hat with class and style. Sometimes I buy hats I don’t like because I know there is a market for them. But usually if I just don’t like a hat at first sight, I don’t buy it. And I love most any hat that tilts.
MJ: Do you wear hats yourself?
TVHS: Now you would think so, wouldn’t you? But in reality I seldom wear hats. They just aren’t in fashion in this area. (Which makes them available for hat buyers!!). But I do come home and try on every one that I buy. Shhhh. Don’t tell the family, they already think I am hat possessed.
MJ: Can you tell us something a little “extra” about these 5 hats from your shop (Ms. Jeannie’s favorites!)…
This hat has a great memory. I purchased it on a trip to see my family. We had such a terrific time that day. Now it is off to London.
I purchased this hat because the color was unusual. And the feather looked like a bird!
There is an antique shop that I stop at often, they don’t know my name, they just call me “The Hat Lady”. I found this hat there. Could anyone pass up a 1920s cloche in this condition?!!
Turbans are very popular right now and this is such a great color. It has more of a structured shape than other turbans that I sell.
What a classy way to do a winter hat! That beading adds just the right touch of interest.
MJ: What was your most exciting hat acquisition story?
TVHS: Last summer I went to a local estate sale. A widow had died 15 years ago at age 90 and her nephew was just cleaning out her home. She was meticulous about her belongings. Her hats were exquisite! I got some from each decade 1910s-1950s. One of her hats was made by a local milliner, that will go to our county museum. I have two of her hats that I just can’t quite bring myself to list. I am a sentimentalist at heart. I had such a great time that day! And I was so honored to pass her hats on to collectors that would also treasure them.
MJ: You have lovely models in your shop! Tell us a little about them.
TVHS: I had searched for months for a new mannequin. I had been to antique shows, and every shop in our area but just couldn’t find a mannequin that suited my style. I had decided to order a new one on line and just make it work. My husband and I decided to go out to a small town for a Friday night dinner and parked next to a tiny gift/antique shop. The mannequin gal with the dark brown hair was in the window! The shop was closed for the night and the next day was the last day for the season. You can bet that I took another trip back to that store early the next morn and purchased her. I went to the same shop again this spring and bought the redhead. Oh, and of course many hats, too! It makes me happy each time I use them. I have named them both Jo—after a classy aunt.( yes, she wore hats and loved them!)
MJ: What style advice would you give to the first time vintage hat buyer?
TVHS: Buy hats you love of course. But the real secret is to give your hat a good tilt. For the “oo-la-la” factor.
Other interesting tid-bits from Cindy’s world:
Currently on her bookshelf:
Currently listening to: Country music on the radio.
If she could luncheon with anyone famous living or dead, she’d choose:Eleanor Roosevelt
Of course Eleanor would be the one in the hat!
This interview is part of an ongoing interview series that Ms. Jeannie is orchestrating about artists, writers and musicians and their inspirations. To read other interviews in this series, simply click here.