Kate Middleton, ‘Hat Person of the Year’? Time for a recount!


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Recount! I demand a recount! Kate Middleton gets more than 90% of the vote as the ‘Hat Person of the Year’?

Not Princess Beatrice, for her Philip Treacy antler hat from Kate and William’s wedding, a fetching item if only because it fetched $130,000 for charity on EBay?


Not Tilda Swinton, on the cover of W in a Patricia Underwood for Chris Benz white hat that John Wayne would empty his six-shooter to get?

Not ... me?

The 104-year-old Headwear Assn., which bills itself as the oldest fashion trade association around -- and who is still around from then to dispute that? -- crowned the Duchess of Cambridge as ‘Hat Person of the Year.’

She has certainly shown a fine flair for the whimsical chapeau. There’s her scarlet maple-leaf hat for her Canadian trip last year, an homage to her hosts. On the solemn side of things, her stylized black fedora for Remembrance Day suited the moment and the wearer. Her fascination with fascinators –- those little tip-tilted numbers that don’t conceal her face or her shampoo-ad hair –- have blown the lid, so to speak, off sales figures for similar numbers.

PHOTOS: Festive royal wedding hats

Much the same happened when her late mother-in-law, Diana, Princess of Wales, stepped out in her own millinery, which sometimes ran to the larger and more dramatic -- and had the same effect on hat sales.

In Britain, but not here.

American women are willing to wear just about anything: flip-flops and parkas in winter, Uggs and miniskirts in summer. They’ll wear their hair like two-tone convertibles -– dark roots on top, blond ends on the bottom. They’ll sport saggy-butt yoga pants out to dinner, and put on 5-inch Louboutins with denim leggings. But they still don’t have enough chic and attitude to wear hats. They may wear baseball caps, and shapeless things with earflaps, and sad Ali McGraw-dying-but-still-lovely knitted beanies. But they’re evidently terrified of real hats. So here’s my appeal to the Headwear Assn.


Last year, you gave the award to Johnny Depp, and before that, to Brad Pitt. Men’s hat sales seem to be chugging along just fine –- especially for those hipster fedoras. You need someone to make a splash for real hats, big hats, women’s lovely wide, exotic, beribboned, veiled, mysterious and amusing hats, cloches, bowlers, tricorns, bonnets, berets, trilbys and Gainsborough hats.

You need … me.

The Duchess of Cambridge cannot support this article of clothing single-headedly. It needs help here, across the pond.

And that’s why my motto, as I begin my campaign for next year’s Hat Person of the Year (and incidentally I don’t know anything about any ‘super PAC’ operating on my behalf), is this: Ask not what millinery can do for you -- ask what you can do for millinery.


Tilda Swinton hits the InStyle Golden Globes after-party

Princess Beatrice and the hat that launched a Facebook page [Poll]

Princess Beatrice’s royal wedding hat sells for more than $130,000 on EBay

-- Patt Morrison

Photos, clockwise from top right: Johnny Depp, the Princess of Wales, the Duchess of Cambridge, Princess Beatrice and Patt Morrison, a columnist for The Times’ opinion pages who knows her way around a hat. Credits, clockwise from top right: Martin Bureau / AFP/Getty Images; Associated Press; Getty Images; Ian Langsdon / EPA; Los Angeles Times.