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Red Hat Society Ladies

By Yvonne Russell

Who are the Red Hat Society Ladies?

If you see ladies in the over 50's bracket, wearing red hats and purple dresses, get out of their way. Red Hat Society Ladies are on the move, and they're having fun. The Red Hat Society originated as a group of friends having afternoon tea in Fullerton, California. Now the ladies of the Red Hat Society number over 1.5 million worldwide. There are more than 41 000 chapters, including groups in Canada, Japan, Mexico, Egypt and Australia, as well as an online chapter.

Seize the Day Wearing red hats and purple dresses is symbolic of this seize the day, devil may care approach to life. For Red Hat Society Ladies who are feeling especially frivolous, a feather boa, glitzy jewelry and purple gloves add an extra dash of glamor and fun. They call themselves a disorganisation, and have no rules except the red hat and purple attire worn to all gatherings like a badge of honor.

Founder, Sue Ellen Cooper was inspired by Jenny Joseph's poem Warning. The essence of the poem is about embracing fun and life, rather than being held back by age and society's expectations.

The poem starts off

When I am an old woman I shall wear purple With a red hat which doesn't go, and doesn't suit

Red Hat Society Ladies have learned the art of prioritising what is really important in life. And they are going for it. I don't mean doing the laundry or having the best starched sheets on the block. The Red Hat Society Ladies are intent on having serious fun.

Fun and Friendship In fact, it's all about fun and friendship. The fun starts with the naming of the chapters and members. Chapters include the Raspberry Tarts, the Rowdy Red Hat Mamas, the Brassy Belles, and the Scarlet O"Hatters. The leaders of each chapter are Red Hat Royalty, with Sue Ellen Cooper as the Exalted Queen Mother.

Bev Fussell, Queen of the Australian Dinky Di Divas told ABC Television that "girls just wanna have fun... We've gone garage-saling in convoy, and that's an absolute hoot." San Francisco's Strutting Peacocks chapter holds an annual tea party at the San Francisco Zoo. When it comes to parade time, it seems that Red Hat Ladies just can't resist a red sports car or a red London style double decker bus.

Ladies with Hattitude

Even bikies are not safe from being descended upon en masse, and being asked to pose with the Red Hat Ladies. The Red Hat Rockettes in Rockingham, Western Australia, and their irrepressible leader, Queen Beadazzled, have the photos to prove it. The Red Hat Society Ladies are ladies with a zest for life and plenty of "hattitude". Long live the Red Hat Society.

About The Author

Yvonne Russell is the Editor of All Info About Tea & Coffee Lifestyle. Read more about The Red Hat Society, as well as other Tea and Coffee related articles about e.g. books, entertaining, tea party ideas, recipes and kids tea party poems etc.,


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