Miss Norma is the junior fashion editor for a Kadorian magazine:

We here in Kadoria put great stock in hats: a Kadorian girl would not be seen in public without a hat any more than without any upper garment at all, so important an article of clothing it is. Don’t all you hatless pettes feel absolutely, well, um, vulnerable and exposed? A Kadorian girl has a large hat wardrobe, as a rule, and can quite easily spend a whole afternoon (or even a day) looking at dozens of new hats without finding exactly the right one!

As McCall’s junior fashion editor, it is my duty to educate all you hatless pettes from strange provinces on millinery matters through a series of didactic and racinating images from our fashion archives. So here is the first one – a pette in the opening phase of the complex ritual of Choosing the Right Hat, a sort of a dance between pette and shop girl. (This could be the interior of any milliner’s in any city in Kadoria.) First rule: one never selects the first hat proffered: it may be perfect in all respects save one: it is the first.

Choosing a proper hat has many nuances which every Kadorie girl who wants to be counted smartly-dressed should learn. First of all, hats change with the seasons – any girl knows that: a flowery April halo is not worn in autumn, just as a jaunty October tricorn in amber, set off, say, with a brush of pheasant feathers, could never be sported in spring without attracting glances or raising elegantly lined eyebrows. And, of course, one does not wear the same April hat to bridge on Wednesdays as the one one wears to church or to visit a new mother in the hospital. Further, what may be proper for a young career pette will not do at all for a grandmother of sixty, even in the same season and at the same social function. Then, to be sure, one’s mood often dictates which bridge, church or visiting-a-new-mother hat one might choose. Hats may be pert or staid, joyful or somber, flirtatious or forbidding, modest or proud. By these several examples one can readily understand why a Kadorian of impeccable taste might have a fairly large collection of hats, running into the dozens, constantly changing as she grows older. As I explained earlier, a hat is an essential item of feminine apparel, like dress, stockings and shoes, not a mere “fashion accessory.” Indeed, one’s hat is often the central element of an outfit, providing the desired éclat.

But to complicate matters further, there are other, at times vague or almost sub-conscious reasons besides season, occasion, age and mood that dictate wearing a particular hat. Should her wardrobe suddenly prove deficient when such reasons make themselves felt (though often not known), a pette may find herself irresistibly drawn to the milliner’s shop, like an iron filing is to a magnet, for still just one more hat. Take Amanda R., brunette, for example, shown in the accompanying picture, seated before the milliner’s mirror, a possible hat on her head, two more on her knees (note the stole on her lap, by the way). Amanda has been recently disappointed in love, she recently lost a most eligible and delectable blonde to another brunette (there was quite an ugly scene late one afternoon at the office). Amanda fancies that a new hat – a new look, a millinery make-over – will help her hold on to the next blonde, even as far as the altar, she secretly hopes. Perhaps she is right, though her look is not the reason her blonde went astray: it had really to do with some little imperfection of character, something out of harmony within herself, (look carefully at her expression), which she will no doubt discover in time. Amanda is seeking consolation in hats, another ancient ritual, but one suspects she is ignoring the truth and wants to believe a new hat may answer her prayers.

Also see: Part 2 and Part 3 of the Millinery Primer

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