No Hats, Great Hat

Everyone else has waxed eloquent about the inauguration and I have cried my fill.  And laughed good and hard at Rev. Lowery.  When the serious work was done, however, I was waiting anxiously to see Michelle Obama’s inaugural gown. It might surprise those who know me – a real Frumperina –to find that I am an aficionado of inaugural ball gowns.  (I love the word gown.  I especially love old movies that have a credit for ‘gowns’ instead of costumes.  I know I’ll be pleased with that movie.)  When I was about 9, my best friend had a set of inaugural ball gown paper dolls from the Smithsonian.  The budding history nerd in me crossed brain circuits briefly with the little girl princess in all of us and swooned.  We played with them for hours, defended our favorites, drew new (highly derivative) designs for the dolls.   So, I was really thrilled to see the New York Times with an online slide show quiz on inaugural ball gowns.  What a rip!  It only had recent gowns, and my knowledge ended with Jackie Kennedy.  Where were Dolly Madison, Sarah Polk, and Mary Todd Lincoln?  Those were rockin’ gowns. Sadly, the only Mrs. Polk image I found:


Fortunately, I did come to eventually come to see that there was no relationship with drop- dead glamour in the First Lady’s gown and a successful/competent administration, however.  (James K. Polk?)

My other gripe about the inauguration –  where were the hand knits?  The president himself used the key words –  icy, storms, depth of winter.  That means it’s time for knitted warmth.

Oh, there were hand knits in the crowd; check out Gale being represented.  I saw none among the bigwigs, however.  This is a time of national crisis, we need to turn to our crafts, warm our friends, use our stash!  Don’t those little girls have someone who could knit them adorable hats to go with the J.Crew coats?  Why wasn’t Obama wearing Jean‘s scarf?  Merete thinks I should have made him socks.  (News flash, I went to check the link and I have WON yarn from her! Pictures to follow.)


The Queen of Soul, however, looked warmly dressed, and no hand-knit could compete with that crown!

Check out Dr. Strangelove wearing it, though.  Buzzfeed is providing a transparency so you can wear one, too!


6 responses to “No Hats, Great Hat

  1. Wait, that link is to the transparency, not to Dr Strangelove. 😦 (Of course, you’ll fix it and then my comment will look silly.)

  2. Thanks, Chris, I fixed it.

  3. I remember being amazed when I visited the Smithsonian by how much space was devoted to a display of First Lady frocks (frocks is a good word too, although not as good as gowns). If only I had known you could get paper dolls too.

    And I thought Aretha’s hat was just fabulous: she obviously wasn’t worried about outshining the bride / first lady 🙂

  4. Gown. You’re absolutely right. A gown is a much cooler thing than a costume. I’ve always wished for one myself… I do get to make do with academic regalia once a year, and how I wish I could wear it more often! (Very comfortable, you know…) I adored Aretha’s hat; someday I want to be the kind of person who can carry off a hat like that.

  5. And what did you think of Michelle’s gown? I think I would have been happier with more colour, but I liked the poofy bits all over it.

  6. Maybe they were in the shop getting repaired? I know they rotate them thru and the repairs/upkeep take quite a while.

    My absolute favorite, which I don’t think they display publically, is the dress Geo. Washington’s wife wore to his inauguration. It’s salmon-colored silk, striped with twill stripes, and embroidered with multicolored bugs – butterflies, ants, spiders – you name it. It’s really amazing.

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