I am currently vacationing in Michigan. I was talking to some ladies who reside in MI about how casual the dress code is here. They were talking about the use of hats as fashion accessories and how 'nobody wears them' in MI as fashion accessories. They of course talked about the garden hats and hiking hats that are more worn as SPF protectors rather than as fashion.
When I am selling hats I find that women in a particular region don't wear hats. I often will ask ,"So what has to happen before this changes"? One response was a belief that at some time in the future a group of brave women will start adopting the practice of wearing fashion hats and when they see more people in public doing this they will join in but not until then. Many women express the concern about 'standing out' by being the only one wearing a hat. One comment was that they need a 'Hat society' movement to mirror the Red Hat Society movement; they are looking for public permission to wear hats again..
Are we sheep? So is this true about other trends? What makes women take the risk and wear something new and different than their local norm? How many hat wearing women in a group of say fifty women would have to be seen wearing hats before others will join in?
Just so you know I do wear hats occasionally in an area where it is not the norm but not always. I like to look chic but not look like a show off. It is a slim line that I don't want to cross. I personally think that public events are the perfect place to start wearing hats. Events can be community outdoor activities such as, craft fairs, flea markets, sports events, picnics. The wearing of the hat can be a nod that this is a special activity and wearing a hat is acknowledging the efforts of the event workers so you in a way are 'dressed up'.
There are so many bloggers that have made careers out of giving women high self esteem and to go for self expression despite what others might think for instance Already Pretty is one of them. I know that Michigan as a whole has a depressed economy more in some locations than others. Does economic depression equate to conservative self expression or is it a lack of economic resources that depletes any chance of spending what little resources available on something as frivolous as a fashion hat? If so I get that.
What conclusions can I draw from my observations, that Michigan is economically depressed, in a lot of localities, that women in MI are feeling the consequences and adapting their lifestyles accordingly and that following trends are not necessarily about self-esteem and the need for self expression. So it seems that economic base will have an great influence on whether or not someone will try a new trend especially if it is not a necessity. Taking a big jump here perhaps I need to buy a US made car the next time I need a car to hopefully trickle down to improve the MI economy and therefore MI women will be able to afford to follow some new trends like fashion hats...