Hats
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‘Church crowns,’ glorious hats for Easter and beyond

Hats
Though the world has gotten much more casual in recent decades, and hats are far less ubiquitous, hat culture remains alive and well in many of the nation’s black churches. These ‘church crowns’ are about devotion with a touch of something delightful, and wearing them takes a bundle of attitude and self-esteem.

Meeka Robinson-Davis, pictured in a red chapeau decorated with red, pink and yellow flowers, is a second-generation hat maker. She runs the Slauson Avenue branch of the store her mother Sonja Robinson founded, One-of-a-Kind Hats on Crenshaw Boulevard in Los Angeles. (Kirk McKoy / Los Angeles Times)
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Green with a bold flower, this ‘church crown’ is among those at One-of-a-Kind Hats, 4432 W. Slauson Ave., in South L.A. (Kirk McKoy / Los Angeles Times)
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Yellow with a bow and some sparkle. (Kirk McKoy / Los Angeles Times)
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Straw hats, black accents. (Kirk McKoy / Los Angeles Times)
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A statement in white on white. (Kirk McKoy / Los Angeles Times)
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Meeka Robinson-Davis in an “occasion” hat that could work as well with a wedding dress. (Kirk McKoy / Los Angeles Times)
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Lime and lace. (Kirk McKoy / Los Angeles Times)
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Another design from One-of-a-Kind Hats. (Kirk McKoy / Los Angeles Times)
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Strong reds with gold lace. (Kirk McKoy / Los Angeles Times)
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Meeka Robinson-Davis, left, and her mother, Sonja Robinson. (Kirk McKoy / Los Angeles Times)
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Barbara Washington, a member of the congregation at West Angeles Church of God in Christ in South Los Angeles, wears a black broad-brim with aqua silk trim on Palm Sunday. On Palm Sunday, the pews were splashed with plenty of colors and styles. (Kirk McKoy / Los Angeles Times)
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Mae Blake, wife of West Angeles Church of God in Christ’s bishop, Charles Blake, in a cotton candy-pink confection with silk bows. The church, with 24,000 members, has three services each Sunday. (Kirk McKoy / Los Angeles Times)
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Janice Smallwood-McKenzie in a simple, sophisticated straw hat. (Kirk McKoy / Los Angeles Times)
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Zenora Steele wears a headband of white silk roses. (Kirk McKoy / Los Angeles Times)
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Betty Lovell in a dramatic fuchsia broad-brim. (Kirk McKoy / Los Angeles Times)
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Carol Boyd in a black top hat with crystal-studded veil. (Kirk McKoy / Los Angeles Times)
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The bishop’s wife in a bright floral beret. “I don’t wear hats just on Sunday,” she emphasizes. “For me, hats are a way of life. I grew up seeing them worn every day as a part of a polished, well-coordinated look.” (Kirk McKoy / Los Angeles Times)
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Sonja Robinson in a white organza broad brim with silk flower cascade; Meeka Robinson-Davis in a coral topper with silk flower trim. (Kirk McKoy / Los Angeles Times)
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Virginia Ellison, in a jewel-encrusted, peach turned-brim with floral accents, claps to the music during a service at West Angeles Church of God in Christ on Palm Sunday. (Kirk McKoy / Los Angeles Times)
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Palm Sunday was a rich sample of the fashionable display that’s happening in many of the city’s black churches, though perhaps on a slightly larger scale — West Angeles is one of the biggest Protestant churches in the region.

“All are welcome,” says Bishop Charles Blake. “We don’t care how you dress, we just care that you come.” But most people come dressed up because they want to. And many of the women — old, young and in between — wear hats. Serious hats. (Kirk McKoy / Los Angeles Times)
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