So What Was UP With Aretha Franklin’s Hat?

Yes, were struck by Aretha Franklin’s hat at the inauguration yesterday. Many negative thoughts on it have been blogged since. Some simply labeled it ludicrous while others accused it of stealing attention from Barack’s speech. At first we found it outlandish, but on closer consideration decided Aretha probably didn’t think it would cause such a fuss. She got the hat (made of wool and embellished with Swarovski crystals) from Detroit-based milliner Luke Song. Song says he makes hats for Aretha all the time and she wanted something special for the big day (it will run in his regular collection for $179, in case you’ve got a Derby to attend in the near future). But we can totally see Aretha — who wears large hats regularly — waltz in there and decide a giant, stiff, crystal-embellished bow would be just the thing for the ceremony. Kind of like Blair Waldorf might select a headband without thinking twice about what the rest of us see. Go big or go home! And would you have wanted Aretha to go home? Of course not! Below, a few more reactions to the hat.

• This article notes the hat could become controversial for drawing attention away from Barack’s speech. However: “[L]arge hats are traditional among older black women in the Baptist tradition … Franklin’s choice of headwear was entirely appropriate for the occasion because it is reminiscent of the style of hat that legendary gospel singer Mahalia Jackson wore when she sang in front of 200,000 people at the March on Washington in 1963. This is where Martin Luther King Jr. delivered what is arguably the most magnificent and inspiring speech in history, the ‘I’ve Got a Dream’ speech.” [Associated Content]

Photo: Courtesy of Warner Bros.

• On a lighter note, Ellen DeGeneres wears a similar hat on her talk show today. “That would of [sic] been so embarrassing. The next thing you know, we would have been in Us Weekly’s ‘Who Wore it Better?’” she kids. “They said this is the only one they made! I can’t believe it!” Ha. [Us]

• Best Week Ever is asking readers to make their own animated Blingees with a photo of Aretha in the hat. They’ve provided two examples: One includes a white cat and a disco ball while the other includes a roll of toilet paper that reads 2009 and a cigarette. Click and you’ll understand. [Best Week Ever]

• This blogger thinks Aretha’s bold fashion statement will save the hat industry and found a number of similar styles regular folks can buy. Ooh, ooh, us first! [MyItThings]

• This blogger has declared bows on hats a trend and compiled a collection of hats with bows you can buy. These bows are tiny by comparison and somewhat disappointing. [Etsy]

• Only a women’s magazine: “[Y]es, it might be considered a DON’T on a lesser woman, on a less important kind of day. But here, today, on Aretha, it totally works: you have to give the Queen of Soul major props for flaunting her signature, spotlight-stealing style on such a momentous occasion. Besides, it beats all those Elmer Fudd–like trapper hats we’ve seen so much of lately.” What say you? [Glamour]

So What Was UP With Aretha Franklin’s Hat?