By Alex Kasriel
October 3, 2008
Until last year whenever I went to shul it always involved conducting a surreptitious hat contest amongst the women in the Ladies Gallery. One year, the jaunty bucket style always won, and in another, the more masculine trilby caught my attention. In the early noughties, women went even more casual with wooly hats adorned with sequins and I was loving the look.
After getting married in July I was due to cover my head for the first time in shul this Rosh Hashanah. The husband, who is a devout liberal, said: "Are you going to wear a hat?" thinking I would be embarrassed about going along with what he sees as female oppression. Quite the contrary, this was the perfect excuse to try out a whole new world of accessories. If you wear a hat on any other occasion you are seen as a little eccentric or attention-seeking. Just look at Jamiroqai whose individual style earned him the unfortunate moniker of ‘The Twat in the Hat’. Mercifully, in shul the only judgment is whether your chosen head covering is stylish, not whether you should be wearing one at all.
And being a hitherto hat virgin I had the opportunity to try out two new looks over the two days of Yom Tov. The first was a demure beret, worn over the ears (not French style) and the second was a more bold, print headscarf inspired by the Dolce & Gabbana catwalk this season. Fabulous, but not something you could get away with wearing down the pub. So thank God for shul!