Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Fashionista or not?

I am so jealous of ladies that can wear hats. I love hats, but sadly I cannot wear them. I don't know if it's the shape of my face, the type of hair I have or what, but hats, all hats look stupid on me. I wish I could wear a small hat with a slight tilt for a sexy look. I wish I could wear a hat with a wide brim to protect my sunburn prone skin. I wish I could wear a large Church style hat that is so snazzy and says I am so proud to be me. I wish I could wear a baseball cap when our family goes to games or a park. Heck, I wish I could wear a simple winter hat, but the static cling drives me crazy. So, what's a lady to do?

When I was in undergrad studies in Central New York in '87-'89, I went to a smaller SUNY school that was not very artsy. I think I was one of 5 people that were remotely punk. The most expensive thing I wore were Purple Docs that I bought at Trash & Vaudeveille in NYC. They were my favorite article of clothing. Everything else pretty much came from the antique and second hand shops.

Winters there were killers. Sure I was used to the snow, but hiking between buildings throughout the day tended to get one very chilled. So not only were the Docs a luxury, they were a necessity. With two pairs of socks, thermals, long wool skirts and my Dad's long overcoat, I could stay pretty warm. Well, except for my head.

At that time my hair was pretty much shaved except for a riot of curls from the top that hung down low enough to look normal (somewhat), but could be put up with toothpaste to look more punk. Either way my ears were exposed to the elements.

My earliest class was 8 AM German at the top of the hill. Unfortunately, I needed it to graduate. So let's see, 7:30 am, 0°F with a windchill of -20°F, hell, it was freakin' freezin'. My poor ears were so frostbite that they burned for days. My only salvation was a nifty thing my Babci used to wear- a babushka.

The babushka has been worn by Eastern European and Russian women for many years, and actually means Grandmother in Russian. Babushkas are scarves, not to be confused with the nesting dolls that are improperly called Babushkas, these are Matryoshka dolls. My Babci and most of the older Polish ladies of my childhood wore these to cover their hair from bad weather, or to cover wet hair or if their hair was not done. Typically bigger than a bandana, it's folded into a triangle and tied under the chin. Larger scarves can be wrapped around the neck. I prefer these as they have longer tails and can double as second protection around the neck under a coat.

Most any type scarf will do and can be found at most stores, although current fashion right now has the goofy long flimsy, skinny scarves that have no seeming practicality. There are many styles and colors to pick from and you should be able to find one for under $25. If you want to spend the big bucks for the "now" thing you could try a babushka from "Valeur from Tokyo", for a cool price of $129. Totally not necessary for a simple Polish girl.

So anyway, back in school, I wore two layers just to give my ears some comfort. To this day my ears are sensitive to any cold weather. And to this day, I wear babushkas. Rico Suavé gave me a beautiful pashmina shawl last year for Christmas that works wonderfully. I had finally found something I could wear on my head and I never gave them up, to my daughters' amusement and chagrin. They run away from me when I try to put one on them, but they have the Polish in them, and I know it is just a matter of years before they start wearing them!

I really don't care if babushkas are fashionable or not. As a cute Polish girl, I can identify with my heritage in this small way that makes me happy and comfortable.

Although I really do wish I could wear a hat, any hat, just once.


Estellye said...

I don't know, I can picture you in any number of hats, but I love that you wear a babushka. My mother wore a scarf babushka-style over her hair practically every time she went out. It is one of those things like the smell of lipstick that always reminds me of her.

Dan said...

Now I'm going to be singing that Kate Bush song all day. Not necessarily a bad thing...

Chippy said...

Estellye- funny- the smell of Bloody Marys and lipstick remind me of my other Grandma. Thanks for reading.

Dan- Love Kate Bush, and that song gets stuck in the head at weirdest moments...less creepy than "Waking the Witch", that's the one my kids love...