Today I'm launching one of my big projects for 2015, and I'm pretty excited about it. I hope you will be too, and will maybe join me.
While researching vintage hats, and the 1960s in particular, I became familiar with the idea of a "whimsy". My grandmother, Wendy, first mentioned it when I asked her about her memories of hats in the 1960s. Since then I've seen plenty of vintage whimsies for sale online, and pictures in the Australian Women's Weekly while researching.
What is a whimsy?
Essentially, a whimsy is a veil with some kind of trim. It might be, at its most simple, a flower atop a gathered veil. More often, there are decorations on the veil itself - rhinestones, felt cut-out shapes, more small flowers, chenille dots, or feathers, for example. Flowers and bows seem to be the most popular "main" decoration at the top.
Some styles with a bit more structure are also called whimsies by some people. They might have a small wire frame structure to hold the whimsy to the head, or the fabric-covered "rings" that sit around the head. Ultimately though, the veil is the main event on the hat, and it lacks a traditional crown or brim.
My research shows the first hats that resemble whimsies appearing in the late 1950s, as in a few of the images in this 1950s millinery research post. They were, however, at their most popular in the 1960s.
The #bringbackthewhimsy Campaign
How cool are whimsies? Right? The correct answer is "Very cool, Tanith, now that you mention it."
So my idea is that it's time we brought back the whimsy. The word itself says it all; whimsies are about fun and silliness in your head wear. I'm sure we can all appreciate that and use a little more of it in our lives.
I want you all to join me in having a go at wearing a whimsy, sharing the photos on social media with the hashtag #bringbackthewhimsy.
I know many of you won't already have a whimsy, but the cool thing is that they are both easy and cheap to buy, and also fairly easy to make if you have some basic sewing skills (and we're talking hand-sewing, here, and nothing fancy). I'm going to do future posts on both making and buying whimsies.
Or alternately, if you want something a little different, there is another option...
The Tanith Rowan Designs Whimsy Collection
Each month, I'm going to release a new whimsy design that will be available to order. This is the first design, for February, called simply "Bumblebee".
I wanted to have a little fun project to work on as well as my other design collections, and this is it!
You can order yourself your very own "Bumblebee" from my online store.
Since genuine vintage whimsies are easy enough to find, I wanted my
collection to be different and move beyond the simple styles
traditionally found. And since I love fun themes, each one will explore a
theme or idea. I became a bit obsessed with creating bees recently, so
that had to be the first theme!
I have a lot of fun ideas for the future, with inspiration from animals, plants, movies, colours, prints, foods, and more.
Although I do have a lot of ideas, I'm also really keen to hear any suggestions you have? What theme would you like to see me explore?
I hope you will join me in bringing back the whimsy!