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Red Hat Society? Not so much.

Updated on September 30, 2014

Red? Yes. Purple? Yes. But not together.

My bestie Bea and I went to have fancy tea for my birthday and as a reason to dress up and wear big hats. While we were there enjoying eating our tiny sandwiches off of pink plates and sipping teas with names like “Blue Lady,” in walked a group of Red Hat Society Ladies.


The Red Hat Society

The Red Hat Society, for those of you who may be unfamiliar, is an international organization for women of all ages, most of who are 50 years old, or older.   They wear red hats and purple clothes.  Those younger than 50 wear pink hats and lavender clothes.   According to the official red hat website, their mission is to support and encourage women of all ages in their pursuits of fun, friendship, freedom, fulfillment, and fitness. 

To be clear, I am not against the Red Hat Society in anyway. I even have a friend that started her own chapter and I participated for a few months (several years ago) to be supportive of her. Thing is I am not really a “joiner.” Even as a young girl I didn’t like group activities or organizations. I was in the Girl Scouts and I hated it.

I wasn’t a good fit for the Girl Scouts. I didn’t care for the uniform, and there were far too many camping activities. As you may already know, I really love not camping. But I digress.

We will NOT act our age!

Bea and I decided we are, well, to, um, US to ever be Red Hat ladies, even when our kids pack us off to the nursing home. (And we are going together and we are going to be roommates!) Anyway, we decided we are going to start our own society. The Red HOT Society.  Instead of red hats and purple clothes, you can wear whatever you want on your head or nothing at all.  Instead of red hats we will wear red stilettos. You don’t have to wear purple clothes. You can if you want, but you don’t have to. We will encourage, but not require the wearing of leopard print.  We will not age gracefully. We will use every weapon in our arsenal. . . age defying creams,  teeth whitening, hair dye, and of course the best age fighting weapons of all:  friendship,  laughter and a positive outlook on life. 


The red hat society was in part inspired by a poem, “Warning - When I Am an Old Woman I Shall Wear Purple,” by Jenny Joseph. We need a slightly different version:

When I am an older woman, I shall wear leopard print

with stilettos, and a skirt that is too short.

And I shall spend all my money on wine and ridiculously large hats

Shoes, handbags and jewelry and say we've no money for dinner.

I will kick off my shoes and walk barefoot down the street

and eat whatever I like and never diet

and make funny faces at children, smile at strangers

and have too many cats

I will dance in the rain, and drive with the top down on sunny days

And go to night clubs and stay out way too late

and I will learn to throw a mean right hook.



Old enough to know better, too young to care

We will take a cue from the Red Hat Ladies and we will support women of all ages in their pursuits of fun, friendship, freedom, fulfillment and fitness (if that makes her happy.) We will also support the drinking of wine and the eating of chocolate cake. We will banish words like “can’t” and “shouldn’t.” We will take trips of a lifetime, such as our already planned for the somewhat distant future, trip to the Kentucky Derby when I am 50. We really want to go so we can justify the purchase of HUGE Kentucky Derby hats. We will go and wear our hats, and sip mint juleps and place outrageous bets. We will politely but honestly say what we really mean to say. Having raised our families we will embrace a new chapter in our lives. We will embrace being older and wiser. We will embrace the fact that we are finally comfortable in our own skin. We won’t worry about silly things like smile lines. We won’t worry about gray hairs either, but we will dye them. Jet black for me and golden honey blond for Bea. We will wear what we like, too. If I want to wear fishnets, a black pencil skirt, tight sweater and of course, red stilettos on a Tuesday afternoon to have coffee with Bea before grocery shopping, I will. If she wants to wear a beautiful printed bohemian mini dress and purple suede knee boots on the same Tuesday afternoon to meet me I will applaud that. If you would like to join us, come on! Putting on your glad rags and take no nonsense off of anyone shoes and meet us at the coffee shop. Don’t worry about being able to pick us out. You will immediately recognize us.


Submit a Comment

  • crystolite profile image

    Emma 7 years ago from Houston TX

    Nice article,thanks

  • Tess45 profile image

    Tess45 7 years ago from South Carolina

    I love my Bea! We are post well out of our 30s, but we can still pass...We get pretty silly out in public too.

    I thought I better put that in there as I have 5. Since, I am married does that mean I am NOT the crazy cat lady?

  • JLClose profile image

    JLClose 7 years ago from OreGONE

    I have a "Bea" in my own life. Her name is Bekah. We always joke that we will join, or start our own, Red Hats Society when we get older. As of now we're pushing 30 and act way too immature when we get together. But we always have a blast doing it. :0)

    I love your version of the poem, especially the part where it says you can have as many cats as you want!

  • profile image

    Dawn Davis 7 years ago

    You don't need to be 50. You already do that! Me, I won't be done raising children at 50 or even 60! You wil be the only 90 year old in the nursing home with red stilletoes! I on the other hand will be organizing shows and bossing everyone around in the nursing home when I am 100. By then I will be senile and have my shows mixed up! A bit of this, a bit of that.

  • DIYweddingplanner profile image

    DIYweddingplanner 7 years ago from South Carolina, USA

    Loved the hub! We'll be red hot till we die!

  • Tess45 profile image

    Tess45 7 years ago from South Carolina

    Barb, you are so sweet!

  • BabWryter profile image

    BabWryter 7 years ago

    Very groovy! I love hats. My old age is much closer than yours. I have a straw Chinaman hat that I wear at home, but daren't wear out for fear of offending Chinese people... I look like a mushroom when I wear it. :) You two look lovely in your hats.

  • Tess45 profile image

    Tess45 7 years ago from South Carolina

    I have always wanted to see Wyoming...

  • Deborah Demander profile image

    Deborah Demander 7 years ago from First Wyoming, then THE WORLD

    This is a great hub. I only wish you were in Wyoming...sigh..well, I guess I'm off to start my own not red hat society.