Celebrating Hats Every Day
December 25th, 2016 by Dianna Troyer

Pat Griswold takes organizing her hat collection very seriously. She keeps everything labeled and categorized so she can find each of her 500 hats.
Photos by Sarah Spratling

January 15 is National Hat Day, but Pat Griswold of Carlin, Nevada, doesn’t wait until January to celebrate. Pat has collected more than 500 hats dating from 1912 to the 1960s, so any day is a great day to wear a hat.

“Some are elegant classics and others just make you laugh,” says Pat, 85, who started her museum-quality collection in 1985 after buying some hats at an auction. “The ideas behind some designs are unbelievable and creative with the use of feathers or ribbons.”

The hats are stored in her basement in neat stacks from floor to ceiling. Each box has a photo on it, showing the dressy vintage hat inside.

Pat’s late husband, Lee, liked to joke about one of his favorites.

“It’s black with feathers on it,” says Pat. “He said it looked like someone shot a crow and the feathers landed on my head.”

Women’s dress hats are still in vogue in some places, Pat says.

“Extravagant hats with wide brims are a must at the Kentucky Derby,” she says. “Women in the British royal family have always worn fashionable hats, too.”

Pat says her hats range in value from about $6 to more than $175, depending on their condition and how unusual they are.

“They’re all fascinating,” she says. “Every hat is unique and has a story waiting to be told.”