Local has hat to top off every occassion

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Fashion trends may come and go, but one Natchez woman has stayed true to her style since she was a young girl.

Wanda Mulvihill, 84, has changed her wardrobe throughout the years to follow the current clothing trends, but there is one accessory she refuses to give up — hats.

Mulvihill has collected 187 hats in her lifetime and has outfits that match every one of them.

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“I just do my own trend,” she said.

Her collection first started when she was a young girl and was forced to wear a bonnet by her mother.

“She would tell us, ‘Don’t go in the sun without your bonnet, because you could get freckles,” Mulvihill said.

In her youth, Mulvihill said the only hats she owned were her bonnet and a white dress hat with a mesh trim that she only wore to church on Sundays.

But, as she grew older, her collection of hats grew as well.

Now she has a hat for just about every holiday and occasion. Many of the hats she decorates herself with ribbons and silk flowers she buys from a dollar store.

“I never go anywhere without my hat,” she said. “They call me the hat lady.”

She has also received many of her hats as gifts from friends, family and her late husband Mike, who also liked to wear hats.

“The first time I met him he was wearing a panama hat,” Mulvihill said. “He walked up to me, tipped his hat and said ‘howdy.’”

Many of her most cherished hats are the ones that she decorated with antique brooches that he gave to her.

Mulvihill said she tries to avoid being seen around town without a hat. She even has certain hats she wears to do the gardening.

“I just love hats,” she said.

“I guess I don’t want to get freckles.”