My mother-in-law used to have a bowler hat. Was it a real bowler? I don’t know. But that’s what we used to call it.

She wore her bowler hat to every special family event like weddings and baptisms. And every time she wore it, it matched her outfit perfectly. It didn’t matter if her dress was blue or black or brown or even silver, her hat matched every single time.

When my husband Andy was much younger and still lived with his parents, he was in charge of his mother’s hat.

“Andrew,” his mother used to say, “I’m wearing this outfit to Victoria’s and Albert's wedding on Saturday. Can you paint my hat the same colour?”

So Andy would find some enamel paint in the right colour and paint the hat inside and out. He coated it thoroughly until it was the desired colour.

“My mother had that hat for years,” Andy tells me. “I repainted it a number of times. In fact I put so much paint on it, it became armour-plated.” He grins. “I made that hat so hard, I turned it into a helmet. Forget safety helmets. My mum’s hat would have withstood any impact!”

Of course my mother-in-law isn’t the only person to be associated with bowler hats. What about Charlie Chaplin? Then there’s the inept detectives, Thomson and Thompson from the Tintin comics. Mr Potato Head wears a bowler and so does George Banks from the movie Mary Poppins.

I had a look on Youtube for some bowler hat fashion tips. I watched several videos and found out that a cute pair of pumps, some tube pants and a crop top are the perfect additions to a bowler hat (if you're a girl.) I haven’t got any of these clothes items which is probably just as well. Oh! could you imagine me in tube pants? (Big grin.) Perhaps not. I was surprised to discover people make videos of their outfits. (I'm not cool enough to be interested in the fashion channels.) Now I'm wondering... Should I post videos of what I wear every day? Perhaps not.

While I was browsing, I found a how-to-make-a bowler hat video. The presenter makes her hats from newspaper.

“Andy,” I say. “If you’d known how to make bowler hats out of paper, your mother could have had a whole collection of hats in all sorts of colours. You wouldn’t have had to repaint her hat every time she went to a wedding.”

Even if you haven't been invited to a wedding, you still might like to make a newspaper bowler hat. You could wear it to a fancy dress party... dress up as Charlie Chaplin or Mr Potato Head... or... who else wears a bowler hat?

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  1. My Marsupilami loves his Bowler hat. It's not the reat thing, it's made from some open felt, but he looks just like Dupont or maybe Dupond when wearing it. He found it on a flea market and have loved it ever since. I don't know if it's possible to post pictures in answers, I'd do if I could.

    1. Uglemor,

      I had to look up Dupont et Dupond. French for Thomson and Thompson, I believe. I learnt something new today! I love seeing your children all dressed up. You could post a photo on my FB post in the comments. That would work. I'd love to see it!

    2. Oh, I did not know they were called otherwise in English, sorry to be confusing. I'll try to put a photo in FB, but FB often confounds me. Maybe I'd better write a blogpost on dressing up.

    3. Uglemor,

      I'm glad you told me the French names for Thomson and Thompson! Thank you for posting the photos of your children dressed in their costumes. Marsupilami's bowler hat is wonderful!

  2. Wow, you can make your own? So cool!

    1. Stephanie,

      I can only make paper bowler hats! Not really much use for wearing to anything other than a fancy dress party. They'd still be fun to make! Thank you for visiting my blog.

  3. Are you serious? Please tell me you are; hats painted to match her outfits. Oh I love this woman, love her!
    My mother-in-laws, mother-in-law (whew) used to be a top milliner in Auckland oh so very long ago and we have been blessed with some of the hats she used to make. I just love old hats and used to collect them.

    1. Lisa,

      This is an absolutely true story. Honest! It never occurred to me that someone might think I made up the story of my mother-in-law's painted bowler hat. Of course the ending of the post isn't true. I guess I write confusing stories!! I think that any real milliner would faint at the thought of someone painting their hats!

      I have never been in a hat shop. I'm not a hat person because I don't like 'hat hair'!! Aren't I fussy? But I do like looking at hats. Maybe I can incorporate a hat into my Q post. I might write about the Queen!

  4. Reading your title got me wanting a bowler hat, and the more I read, the more my desire changed to need. Voila, instructions for making a bowler! Thank you very much, Sue. I haven't watched the video yet. I hope it's easy to make.
    The View from the Top of the Ladder

    1. Susie,

      Oh yes! Our lives (or at least our wardrobes) won't be complete until we have a bowler hat or two. I can just imagine you in a bowler. Yes, you definitely need one. You'd better start saving your old newspapers. I'm sure the hats are easy to make. You could make one for your husband and the Mama too!


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