Hats Off for New Florida Lawmaker Frederica Wilson

Illustration for article titled Hats Off for New Florida Lawmaker Frederica Wilson

By Robin Givhan

The world of hat making is relatively small, and within that tiny universe of horsehair and feathers, Rep.-elect Frederica Wilson (D-Fla.) is a glorious, bedazzled star. Washington, however, does not cotton to glitter, spangles or bright shiny objects.


Thus, the stage was set for a righteous kerfuffle between Technicolor exuberance and humdrum beige. But whom are we kidding? You already know how this tale is going to end.

Wilson, 68, who was elected last month to represent part of the Miami-Fort Lauderdale area, has distinguished herself with a daily display of head-snapping hats that blend church lady formality with rodeo queen panache. But her love for a flashy Stetson has run up against a long-standing rule: No hats on the House floor.


The ban dates to 1837, and not even the famously tough-talking, hat-wearing former congresswoman Bella Abzug could overturn it.

Wilson's fashion dilemma became real during orientation for House freshmen. She had to remove her hat for her official portrait. But she told her hometown media that she planned to appeal the rule.

Hat wearing, Wilson says, is a family tradition, one connected to her Bahamian roots and to her grandmother. "You know how some ladies buy shoes no matter how many pairs they have?" Wilson says, by way of explaining her 30-year fascination with pillboxes, cloches and such. Well, that's how she buys hats, and she has somewhere in the ballpark of 300, although she's never counted. "I like to dress up. I dress up every day, and I feel dressed from head to toe."

Read more of this article at the Washington Post.

Take a look at Frederica Wilson's many hats. 

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