A writer’s haberdashery

Dear debonair reader,

Unlike my grandmother, I’m not much of a shoe girl. I buy them when I need them, and I don’t generally appreciate them on an aesthetic level. But hats are another thing. I have an embarrassingly large collection, and I’m always on the look-out for new acquisitions. Because of my lifestyle, they are mostly of the felted/fleeced/woolen ski hat type. But over the years I have branched out into sun hats and even a few dress hats.

But it is a lonely endeavor.

For inspiration and emotional support, I went in search of famous hatted (not HATED, but HATTED) writers, and mostly had to go to previous generations. But weren’t they gorgeous?

Karen Blixen, pen name Isak Dinesen

F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald

Among more modern authors, men seemed to be the most likely hat wearers.

Stephen King

Chinua Achebe

Ball caps and berets are all fine and good — but I own a few already.

Looking to the poets, I hoped to find a new hat that would speak to a certain writerly style and “je ne sais quoi.”

Mary Oliver

I’m pretty sure I already have that one, Ms. Oliver.

I did find one of my very favorite authors wearing some surprising thing on her head that might be a hat. I’m not exactly sure what to make of it.

Louise Erdrich

Isn’t that a crow or raven on top of her head? Ah well. I think, for now, I’ll stick with my knitted ski hats.




  • Sue Mathis says:

    I too love hats but they don’t look as good on me as they do on you Eowyn. Remember my red hat?? Lydia says it makes me look like “Grandma!” But I am a grandma so here’s to hats!!!!

  • Eowyn Ivey says:

    Oh Sue, I love that red hat! And all the fun we Betties were having when you got it!

  • mrs r says:

    I think Erdrich’s piece falls into the category of “fascinator” – a whole new hat category that it seems we only get to see in photos of the Kentucky Derby and royal weddings. America certainly needs more fascinators!

    When I was a teen I used to collect hats and have, somewhere, a few of the pillbox variety that are pretty cool. I looked for excuses/ways to wear them but found few. I have a fascination with hats but lack the courage (or patience) to wear them. We should have a “Hat Day!”

    • Eowyn Ivey says:

      I LOVE some of the hats I’ve seen in photos of the recent royal wedding etc. They are art unto themselves, or kind of turn a person’s whole head into a piece of art. I don’t know if I’m brave enough to be a walking piece of art. But I agree, we definitely need Hat Day!