There have been quite a few hat-worthy occasions lately – Easter, the Royal Wedding, and the Kentucky Derby. So one of my friends suggested that I should have a tea at which everyone could wear a hat, “because everyone’s got one in their closet that they’re dying to wear!” It’s a great idea, but it made me think – which teas would complement all these hats we’ve seen?
Think of the Queen’s hat at the Royal Wedding – a sunny yellow, wide-brimmed hat – happy and celebratory, but rather conservative, as befits the Queen. With that hat, I picture her sipping a lovely first-flush Darjeeling – clean, fruity, and very refined, with perhaps some shortbread on the side, or a cucumber sandwich. Then there was Victoria Beckham’s hat – small, black, and very severe. Fashionable, of course, but not a playful hat at all. She would be drinking a dark, aged Pu-erh, and perhaps nibbling on a toast point topped with creme fraiche and caviar.
Also on the occasion of the Royal Wedding, the royal princesses, Eugenie and Beatrice, were decked out in creative hats. Princess Beatrice had on an interesting bright blue confection with a dragonfly and feathers, which was described in some reports as a fishing lure. I imagine her drinking gyokura, with its bright, grassy flavor. Princess Eugenie, on the other hand, was wearing a hat I heard described as “antlers.” It was not, I must say, my cup of tea. But with its pale-taupe hue and open construction, I would pair it with a genmaicha. Its nutty taste would be a perfect match for that hat!
Now on to the Kentucky Derby. I think the Americans were inspired by the recent millinery excesses of the Royal Wedding. The hats were a bit wilder than I’ve seen in past years. Some of them were quite stylish – I saw a woman in a 1920’s-style cloche hat, wearing a very restrained afternoon suit. I would pair that hat with a simple Ceylon black tea – possibly with just a bit of milk. And scones and clotted cream, of course. That look seemed more British even than the Brits at the wedding!
Then there was the woman with the giant, semi-sheer white picture hat, cartwheeling across her head. It had an enormous pink flower – an hibiscus, perhaps – in the center. Very fresh and springy looking, if just a bit over-the-top. I would have to say she was drinking an hibiscus tisane – if not a mint julep!
In short, this has been a fun spring in the fashion-watching world! I love seeing everyone’s creativity and passion come out with their clothing choices for special occasions like these, and I may just have to host that tea to encourage my friends to the same heights!