Bibliotheca: Headwear pt. 1: Mini Hats, Proportions, and a Defense of Camp

It's headwear time at Bibliotheca, and that means it's time for me to cart out the hottest of opinions. 

I am a serial mini-hat apologist. This will never change, because I am unashamed of my tackiness. But there's so much more behind the strength of my commitment to kitsch. 

First of all, although I do wear lolita frequently, I am just as devoted to ouji as I am to lolita. Cuter styles of ouji are highly dependent on the mini crown as hair accessory. Furthermore, I like to visit the classier substyles of lolita, but my true home is punk, not mature classical or elegant gothic. Punk is arguably the tackiest style of lolita, and so tacky mini hats are more than par for the course-- they're practically required. 

My first mini-crown, produced by Spica for Putumayo

A Putumayo coord with a mini hat from GLB 39

Honestly, looking at brands like Putumayo, BPN, or Maxicimam, the idea of a mini hat controversy seems bizarre. They're integral to the (admittedly out-there) style. 

Now, I personally can't blame people for not liking mini-hats on themselves, or preferring not to wear them. But categorical rejection of all miniature headwear in lolita is historical revisionism. 

On a fundamental level, lolita is camp. Even the most underwhelming casual lolita coord is instantly recognizable as something different, something more than mainstream fashion. A good part of that lies in the exaggeration of the silhouette-- although many styles of skirt have some flare from the hips, the signature petti-supported flare (in its many forms) is one of lolita's defining traits. Lolitas also play with proportion and silhouette in subtler ways, like overlarge blouse collars, exaggerated puffs and frills, or sweeping princess sleeves.

This BTSSB Double Collar Cutsew Blouse has a lot of collar


Maxi hats can also be a thing
Mini hats are just an extension of this campiness. The mini hat, long a staple of grandmotherly craft projects and weird dolls, has its place in this fashion because of its playfulness. Mini things are cuter than large things: this is a law of the universe.

Mini hats are also completely impractical. A full-size hat can warm a person's head in the winter or protect them from the sun's glare in the summer. Mini hats are entirely divorced from the practical considerations that rule actual hats. As such, the mini hat structure is a postmodern sign which signifies nothing-- the round shape of the hat and the rise of the crown, which normally are molded for an actual head, contain nothing useful, and the protective brim of the hat doesn't provide any useful coverage. It's just too small. Being impractical is ridiculous.

Not a functional sunshade

I also believe that the aversion to mini hats comes from the oversaturation of the mini hat market with cardboard mini hats sold at a steampunk booth at anime conventions around 2012. This cheaply made, disproportionate, gear-festooned items make my skin itch. Like many steampunk things, these are a time machine to my cringiest phase, and I refuse to respect them.

This brings back memories.


Fortunately we're safe from steampunk. For now.  

Still, there was a certain time period during which mini hats were synonymous with low quality, and that isn't lolita in the least. Just like black dresses with white raschel lace, a bad enough experience with a bad enough piece can turn people away from a good item. On the other hand, I am very much grateful that few people fight over the dwindling mini hat supply, because I can collect them for cheap.

BPN hat I got for under $40
Anyhow, in conclusion, mini hats are stupid, and they're tacky, and I love them dearly. You can take my ridiculous mini hats from my cold, dead mini hands.

No comments:

Post a Comment