Apr 25

Red Hat & Purple Dress Day

Red Hat Purple Thistle
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Red Hat Purple Ghillies
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"When I am an old woman I shall wear purple
With a red hat which doesn’t go, and doesn’t suit me.
And I shall spend my pension on brandy and summer gloves
And satin sandals, and say we’ve no money for butter."

~ Warning! Jenny Joseph (1932-2018)

For Scottish Dancers of all ages who dare to pair purple or red ghillies with its clashing opposite, this tartan marks the origin of Red Hat Day, inspired by a gift of a red fedora and a book of poetry which included Jenny Joseph's famous poem. Californian Ellen Cooper founded The Red Hat Society, a fellowship society for women of a certain age, whose purpose is "to connect like-minded women, make new friends and enrich lives through the power of fun and friendship!" "Red Hatters" wear red hats and purple attire to all functions. Ironically, the author of the poem hated the colour purple. ♥️💜

To mark "Red Hat Society Day" we have the "Red Hat Purple Thistle" tartan, for official and non-official members of the Red Hat Society,  an international social organization originally founded in 1998 in the United States for women age 50 and beyond, but now open to women of all ages. Today, there are over 20,000 chapters in the United States and over 30 other countries.

The Red Hat Society connects, supports and encourages women in their pursuit of fun, friendship, freedom, fulfillment and fitness while supporting members in the quest to get the most out of life.

This tartan is designed for those members of the Red Hat Society who enjoy Scottish Country dancing as one of their fun, friendship, fitness and fulfillment pursuits.  The purple thistle, the emblem of Scotland and a nod to the royal patronage of The Royal Scottish Country Dance Society, provides a colour complement to the cheeriness of the red inspired by the Jenny Joseph poem, "Warning" which begins:

“When I am an old woman, I shall wear purple, with a red hat which doesn't go and doesn't suit me. ”



When I am an old woman I shall wear purple
With a red hat that doesn't go, and doesn't suit me,
And I shall spend my pension
on brandy and summer gloves
And satin sandals,
and say we've no money for butter.

I shall sit down on the pavement when I am tired,
And gobble up samples in shops and press alarm bells,
And run my stick along the public railings,
And make up for the sobriety of my youth.
I shall go out in my slippers in the rain
And pick the flowers in other people's gardens,
And learn to spit.

You can wear terrible shirts and grow more fat,
And eat three pounds of sausages at a go,
Or only bread and pickle for a week,
And hoard pens and pencils and beer mats
and things in boxes.

But now we must have clothes that keep us dry,
And pay our rent and not swear in the street,
And set a good example for the children.
We will have friends to dinner and read the papers.

But maybe I ought to practise a little now?
So people who know me
are not too shocked and surprised,
When suddenly I am old
and start to wear purple! 

"Warning," Jenny Joseph


A companion tartan in darker tones also exists.

For more about The Red Hat Society, click the red hat and purple ghillies!

Officially registered tartan graphics on this site courtesy of The Scottish Tartans Authority.  Other tartans from talented tartan artists may also be featured.

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