Archives for posts with tag: Fashion


My Hat
by Melanie Feeney

It was yellow felted wool with a brown trim. An approximation of a cloche. My parents had bought it in Paris, so it carried a glamor that made it all the more special. I wore it every day during my first few years of university.

Dublin in the 1990s was not a glamorous place. It was dreary, gray, and we had yet to see signs of the “Celtic tiger.” I was in college and had an hour-long bus trip each way. My hat was so warm and cozy. It covered my ears and my forehead and because it was felted, it kept anything but the heaviest of rain out. It defeated that misty rain that seems to be a daily occurrence in Ireland, all year round.

It was soft and warm. I could roll it up in my college bag, and it would magically regain its shape when I put it on to go home. It was my constant companion and added the prettiness I needed, as I have always been someone who likes a pretty flourish — perfume, a scarf, red lipstick, or a hat.

In 1992 I went to Italy and brought my hat of course. Bologna was freezing that January, and I was so grateful for my hat and wool coat. By the end of my semester abroad, it was a well-traveled hat: Venice, Florence, Pisa, Livorno. I wore it on the beach in Livorno with the winter waves crashing nearby. I wore it on a freezing cold day when we went to Venice the day before Martedi Grasso and the cold fog was rolling off the canals.

It finally fell apart in my third year of university, and I have never managed to find a replacement that I loved quite as much.

AUTHOR’S PHOTO CAPTION: This picture was the closest approximation I could find to what my hat was like — mine was gray and yellow.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: As soon as I read about this call for submissionS, I knew I wanted to write about my Parisian hat. The 300-word count made it seem less daunting, although once I began to write, I suddenly felt the need for 1000 words. I could have said so much more about that hat. How much I loved it, how pretty I felt in it on freezing winter mornings. How it was admired by so many of my Italian friends, making me feel very sophisticated. I focused on those early years because wearing a nice hat was not that common in Ireland, least of all by college students. We were a practical bunch in our waxed jackets and Doc Martins, jeans and oversized woolly sweaters. Glamour was in short supply and felt unnecessary as we discussed Sartre and James Joyce, drinking black coffee or Guinness. I am only 5’1’’ and I was easily spotted in a crowd thanks to my hat. Once I focused on the hat, it didn’t take much for my piece to write itself,and I was instantly transported back to those halcyon days in college.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Melanie Feeney has lived in Utah for the last 18 years and is originally from Dublin, Ireland. She is a project manager for an IT consulting company and loves to write in her spare time. She has written many novels, poems, and essays, although she has yet to find the courage to put them out for public consumption. She is currently working on a memoir about her battle with breast cancer.

AUTHOR PHOTO: Melanie Feeney, Salem Pond, Utah (November 2016).

Version 4
I Have a Hat, a Red Suede Cowboy Hat
by Alice Morris

purchased in a southwestern shop miles from my seaside setting.
I’m fond of my hat, but seldom wear it past my yard,
perhaps because I fear the red is too dazzling, and the cowboy
style too out of touch for my nautically themed town.

Lately though, I’ve learned my lifetime of rodeo, and cattle herding
cowboy of an uncle, was inducted into
The North Dakota Cowboy Hall of Fame, which means
true cowboy blood must also run in my veins, which would

explain my long ago attraction to a flashy–red–western hat.
So now that I know my bold red hat is linked to proud legacy,
watch out — I’ll be busting free. No more — only-in-my-yard,
beautifully bodacious cowboy hat for me.

PHOTO: The author in her bold red cowboy hat. (Photo by Alice Morris, 2016.)

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: It was clear that I needed to write about my neglected red cowboy hat. And I knew my uncle’s being inducted into the North Dakota Cowboy Hall of Fame would be key to this poem, but I did not realize that writing about Me, in a Hat, would lead to such a direct connection with my uncle, or put me so in touch with my heritage.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Alice Morris is a Minnesota native with a BS in English Education from Towson State University and an MS in counseling from Johns Hopkins. She comes to writing with a background in art — published in The New York Art Review and a West Virginia textbook. Her poetry is included or forthcoming in several themed collections and anthologies, a shared chapbook, The Broadkill Review, Silver Birch Press, The Avocet, The Weekly Avocet, and Delaware Beach Life. Morris is an active member of Coastal Writers and the Rehoboth Beach Writers Guild.

Hello Yellow
by Virginia Lowe

No yards of tulle
No orange blossom
No tiara woven of flowers

No floor-length gown
No satin no lace
No train or bearer

Not ivory or white
though silk it was
Sunny yellow

An impossibly wide
floppy straw hat
in yellow
No coy veil

A non-princess dress
On a day far too important
for playing dress-ups
Symbolising practicality
Portending happiness and contentment
for forty-seven years
with a beautiful partner

PHOTO: The author and her husband on their wedding day.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Dr Virginia Lowe has had poems published in seven paper anthologies, several journals and Australian Children’s Poetry, Write Now Magazine and Silver Birch Press. She has just completed her poetic biography A Myopic’s Vision, with one poem per year of her life. She has been the proprietor of a manuscript assessment service, for twenty years.

Following My Grandmother
by Jennifer Finstrom

“We’ve found another hat,” my aunts tell me. And they send it in a box full of my grandmother’s books and scarves and bits of jewelry.

I’ve written about my grandmother before—her career as a library director, her memory loss, her life as a divorced mother of three—and my apartment houses stacks of her books, other hats, mountains of bright scarves, a metal tray piled high with clip-on earrings like a glittering assembly of beetles. When I take the hat out of the box, I imagine her removing it for the last time, not knowing that I would be the next to wear it. It’s possibly not a hat I would have noticed in the window of a boutique, brown with a white brim that can be worn up or down, but it’s both stylish and practical.

I feel a different connection with my grandmother since my own divorce: she is more to me now, a woman walking alone by choice, always a bit ahead of me in her good coats and well made shoes—but if I’m wearing her hat, I might just be able to catch up.

AUTHOR’S PHOTO CAPTION: Me wearing the hat in the poem.


NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: I love hats (and all accessories), and the fact that I have—and wear—so many different accessories that belonged to my grandmother make me always feel close to her independent spirit. Of all of the things that I have of hers, though, hats seem the most special.

AUTHOR’S PHOTO CAPTION: Me with my grandmother during one of her visits in the early 1980s. This was taken at my childhood home in West Allis, Wisconsin. My grandmother lived in Marquette, Michigan, and I saw her a couple of times of year when my family went there or when she came to visit us.


Jennifer Finstrom
 teaches in the First-Year Writing Program, tutors in writing, and facilitates writing groups at DePaul University. She has been the poetry editor of Eclectica Magazine since 2005, and recent publications include Autumn Sky Poetry Daily, Escape Into Life, NEAT, and Gingerbread House Literary Magazine. For Silver Birch Press, she has work appearing in The Great Gatsby Anthology, the Alice in Wonderland Anthology, IdesA Collection of Poetry Chapbooks, as well as the Nancy Drew Anthology. 

Isolde in Flight
by Joanie HF Zosike

Like a denizen of Dearth
I can’t, for all I’m worth find
A suitable emulsion to shield
My skin from curse of wind
That pounds me as I plumb
The heavens on my broom

I look, with dreary doom
With my yellowy eyes tuned
To check if my hair’s askew
Curls atop my head renew
Like an ice cream pushup bra
Feel her reign of splendor hew

In her glory, my haughty hat
Lacy, sprightly, sparkled bat
Perches on my peak so lithe
She crowns me, dancing with
Splendor; my Systers sou’wester
Like a sequined Queen Esther

Mary’s confectional haberdashery
Elicits oohs and whoos and many
“Where’d you get that hat?”’s
Besides its beauty, it’s functional—
Helps me render from on high
Octaves in the Halloween sky

PHOTO: The author, as Isolde Sigrunde, prepares to sing octaves and take flight (October 31, 2016, Theater for the New City).

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: I love hats, all sorts of hats, and I have many. Even a red hat, mind you. But my favorite is the one depicted above because it is, after all, a witch’s hat, and a magical one at that. It gets more compliments than all my other hats combined!


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Joanie HF Zosike appears annually in the persona of Isolde Sigrunde, an opera-singing witch, with The Wycherley Systers in New York City. We are not certain who wrote the above poem—Joanie or Isolde. You can find Joanie’s poetry and prose in At the Edge, Bastille,, Dissident Voice, Heresies, Jewish Forward, LaMia Ink, Levure Literraire, Maintenant, Nessuno Tocchi Caino, Public Illumination Magazine (PIM, under pseudonym), Silver Birch Press, Womannews and Zeitriss, among others. She is a member of The Living Theatre, director of DADAnewyork and co-director of Action Racket Theatre, as well as People’s Life Fund, THAW (Theatres Against War), and War Resisters League.

PHOTO: The author  in a somewhat studious moment, Fiorenza, Italy.

My Fancy Fashion Hat
by Kathleen Robinson

I am a fancy hat evangelist—
yes!—by bold example and design.

It takes a certain sense of self
to wear a fashion hat with ease
these days. And some would say
a sense of place: the Derby, not
a football stadium. I am more liberal,
and wear mine when and where I want.

This frothy topper makes a statement—
that I’m happy in my skin,
and confident—but more than this,
that anyone can wear one if she dares.
Many times someone has said she loves
my hat, and wishes she’d worn hers.
I almost hear her thoughts: If she
can wear a hat like that, then so can I!

CAPTION: The author  in one of her fancy hats, before a painted backdrop of a Paris street (where she wishes she were).

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: What fun to explore the underpinnings of one of my passions that could be easily dismissed as frivolous by someone inclined to superficial judgments.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: After a career of straightforward wordsmithing as a technical writer and editor in government, university, and contract work, Kathleen Robinson has emerged as a poet through the University of Illinois chapter of the nationwide Osher Institute for Lifelong Learning. She identifies with metaphysical poets and celebrates the role of intuition in daily life. She is assembling her first collection after strong encouragement from listeners who describe many of her poems as luminous and evocative, yet completely accessible.

More than Metaphor
by Susana H. Case

My father, his tears dropping
onto the dresses in her closet
as we selected my mother’s
burial clothes,
the man I had never seen cry.
Stooped, wracked man,
blinded by macular.
This one? I asked, holding each close
to his face. This?
He was the wound and I was the balm.

The break in his heart, a ballooning
ventricle shaped like an octopus trap.
I can’t remember
what we decided for her, most likely
something in black and white,
her favorite color combination.
He died exactly six months after.

I kept her feathered hat.
It works only as costume
with this life
in which I’ve scratched my orphaned way.
Made of birds shot by plume hunters
in spring, when colors
were most vivid.
They left behind bereft partners
and chicks, as parents do,
became a cespitose pile of feathers,
in those hat-years,
exist only as memory
worth more than its weight in gold.

PHOTO: Author with Feathered Hat

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: I’ve only worn the hat in the poem a few times in the last 23 years. It’s hard to find the right occasion and there’s a certain political incorrectness to using feathers in this way, given what we know now. But when I have worn it, I’m very aware of it, very aware of my mother, who definitely had an affinity for hats.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Susana H. Case’s newest and fourth poetry book is 4 Rms w Vu (Mayapple Press, 2014). Author of  four chapbooks, including The Scottish Café which was re-released in a Polish-English version, Kawiarnia Szkocka, by Opole University Press in Poland, and re-released in its original version by Slapering Hol Press. She is a Professor and Program Coordinator at the New York Institute of Technology.

Me in My Mother’s Hat
by Margo Jodyne Dills

My displeasure at being molded into
my mother’s vicarious perfection
made our connection
rocky and often turbulent. At different stages
of my life she
dressed me, sometimes
in antique garments
of her own,
which were worn for
birthdays and
blessed events. My Danish costume,
hat included,
worn to perform traditional song and dance,
was donated to a museum
decades later, causing a horrid family
kerfuffle. Among these garments,
made of heavy wool;
highly starched muslin;
prickly, irritating crinoline… were
her hats
that defied placement on my
downy head. My hair,
which refused to do anything but
fall straight as a straw, rebuked
almost anything
that was placed there. My scalp was
slathered with
chemicals (eyes
tingling) (tips of ears
burning), the likes of which
today are likely banned, outlawed…
Nothing struck more fear in my
heart than seeing
a box of
on the kitchen counter. My first wave
was applied before I was barely able to walk on
my own two fat little
legs. Thick elastic
under-the-chin bands, long pins
that caught fair hair and held a
hat in place, exasperated me
from every age until I
a foot clothed in crocheted woolen
socks and buttoned leather
kidskin mary-janes.
All these things and
Hats be damned.

AUTHOR’S PHOTO CAPTION: This photo was taken in our front yard in Enumclaw, Washington, when I was about three years old.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: A series of photos exists displaying me in my mother’s mothballed clothing, including leather shoes with pearl buttons that I eventually and thankfully outgrew. I wasn’t often forced to dress for occasions, as much as having photos taken, but my resistance involved defiance and discomfort. Many of these little frocks are still preserved, some worn by dolls, and when I look at them, I consider my own mother as a child, now gone several years, and regret the constant battles I had with her until we found our common ground. So much time wasted. My own blog is It’s Always Somethingand I would love to post something there every day but that usually doesn’t happen unless I’m doing a PAD Challenge, which I don’t always have time for, because it IS a challenge. I love having a good prompt but often words pop into my head uncontrollably that manage to find their way to paper, if I’m lucky. I am currently working on the editing of a novel that has been accepted by a small press. I used to tell people I’m a writer and do property management on the side but lately I seem to be doing the writing on the side and something needs to change there; wish me luck.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Margo Jodyne Dills is an active member of PNWA and Hugo House in Seattle, former staff writer for Banderas News, Puerto Vallarta; writes as a guest blogger under the names of Jake Diego and Adam Garcia in Panama, Colombia, and Mexico; works as an editor, web script and travel writer on both sides of the border. She keeps busy writing poetry and editing a soon-to-be-published novel The Boys. Seattle is her permanent home but she keeps her condo in Mexico and runs there to hide when the weather gets too unbearable up north. Her friends call her Jodi.

There Was a Red Hat
by Esther Cohen

I am
buy them
while ago
in Flushing
for a foot massage
walked through
perfect Chinese
shopping mall
pressed duck
healing teas
there was a red hat
unlike any
of the many
I already have
a red hat I could
wear forever

PHOTO:  The author reading poems at the Ace Hotel in the Red Hat.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: I love this particular Red Hat and have written many Thank You Hat poems to and for it.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Esther Cohen posts a poem a day on A few of them sing. She teaches Good Stories, writes books (Breakfast with Allen Ginsberg, her new book of poems) and she is a life-long cultural activist.

Mexican Hat Dance
by Betsy Mars

Golden, capped in the strong sunshine
against my father’s shoulder I stood tall,
and between my parents I felt alive

in this land so distinct and familiar.
The air was redolent with chocolate and spice,
electrical with lightning storms and surging hormones.

Taking the leap, cliff divers descended
in sheer drops for my entertainment
as I ate up the scenery and the sensation of being weightless.

My hat perched at a jaunty angle,
confident in a way I never felt
at home in a strange land.

Between pulpy bulls and bleeding fruit
proffered from vendors at the beach, I felt
like Hemingway discovering his muse —

but much less courageous,
cowering at night in the hotel room,
thunderstruck and hatless.

AUTHOR’S PHOTO CAPTION: Me in Mexico at age 13. This is one of very few photos that exist of me in a hat. Hats were my mother’s domain, and she wore them well. I have no idea where this hat came from or why I was wearing it, but this photo captures a side of myself I rarely see in photos.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR:  I hesitated to write for this prompt because, to me, hats were something that only my mother could pull off. When I wear them, I usually feel like a fraud, as if I am taking on a fake identity. Someone more bold. This photo brings back one of my favorite memories involving my parents. We took a trip to Mexico which was perhaps the first time I was abroad since leaving Brazil at age six.  It was an exciting and sometimes disturbing trip, but fueled my love for travel and experiencing other cultures.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Betsy Mars is a writer, traveler, mother, animal lover, and educator who is wearing a number of hats these days. Her work has been published in several anthologies, by Silver Birch Press, and soon will be published in the California Quarterly Journal and by Cadence Collective. Her writing is a means to define her identity after many decades of blurriness.