Saturday, 6 October 2007

If you want to get a hat, get a head

My lifelong interest in hats (this will be my 24th post on the subject) stems not from their personal significance but entirely on envy, for I cannot wear them myself. At least, I can, but I look a complete idiot when I put one on. This is because the size of my head (largeish) is out of proportion to the size of my face (medium to smallish), so that any hat with a bit that sticks out (i.e. a brim or the floppy part of a beret) appears to be far too big for me, even if it is fitting so tightly that it will leave a red weal on my forehead when I take it off.

The French recognise that not everyone looks good in a hat. In fact, they have a phrase to describe a hat-friendly head: tête à chapeau. To illustrate this, here is a picture of our friend Blandine, who is French but has spent a third of her life in England. She clearly has not merely a tête à chapeau, but also what the critic Sarcey ascribed to the actress Réjane, an attribute which suits any headgear: une petite frimousse éveillée (a wide-awake little mug).

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