Manitoba Chapters of the Red Hat Society


Wearing our Regalia? Members of the Red Hat Society are strongly encouraged to follow these color guidelines. Women over 50 wear purple clothing and red  hats, while women under 50 wear lavender clothing and don pink hats. We highly recommend that all RHS members adhere to this policy.

When attending Red Hat functions during our birthday month, we may wish to wear our birthday suits for the entire month. To a Red Hatter, our birthday suit is a reversal of our colors – i.e. a red outfit and a purple hat.

Red Hatters are strongly encouraged to follow these color guidelines and to NOT wear purple/red until they have reached their magic 50th birthday!

When a Pink Hatter reaches her magic birthday a REDUATION may be held to celebrate and acknowledge the 50th year of her life. At this time her pink hat is replaced with a red hat, and the color purple is worn replacing the lavender she wore prior to this event.

REDUATION adds an element of fun to aging, which we think is invaluable to women in our society who have learned to dread aging and avoid it at all costs. We believe that aging should be something anticipated with excitement, not something to dread.

Excerpt from the Queen to Queen’s Broadcast, 8/1/06.

PICK A PURPLE- This is entirely up to the wearer. Some choose to follow the season of coloring that they're comfortable  with, while others choose to wear whatever shade of purple appeals to them. As long as it is purple (of a sort).

The question of “When is purple – well, purple?” keeps coming up. In this, as in just about everything else, the RHS has NO RULES. But it does have strong guidelines about regalia. Anyone over 50 MUST WEAR PURPLE clothing. Ah, but which purple you ask? Royal purple? Eggplant? Plum? Grape? What about periwinkle, hyacinth or amethyst? Is there a place for ‘dusty’ purple or purple plaids or prints? And, at what exact point on the color scale does purple become so light that it becomes lavender?

Though it is important to all of us to wear our colors, the last thing we want to do is try to establish an absolute color standard. (Can’t you just see Hatquaters sending out color chips of ‘acceptable’ colors?). I know that there are Queens who feel strongly about setting color standards for their chapterettes. If a Queen insists on certain guidelines, I think her chapterettes should honor them (or find another chapter), rather than go out of their way to incite a tempest in a teacup. But, on the matter of colors, Hatquarters prefers to encourage giving each member some latitude. Although those of us over 50 are expected to wear purple, we certainly don’t advocate wearing uniforms! Factors to be considered are:
  • Subjectivity: Do you consider it a form of purple? I personally have solved this problem for myself by declaring that, “It’s purple if I say it is!” You too, may choose to do the same. After all, we are all royalty!
  • Lighting: We all know that colors look different depending upon the light that they are viewed in. What is purple in the fluorescent light of the store dressing room may turn out to be periwinkle under the noonday sun at the garden party.
  • Skin Tone: A dusty, greyed purple may suit one type of complexion, while a brilliant blue-purple may suit another.
  • Variety: A gathering of Red Hatters, adorned in many shades of purple, makes a gorgeous sight! Variety is the spice of life!
  • Plaids, stripes, prints? OK – if you must! Solids are best, but no one shall be banned for wearing these – at least not in the Fabulous Founders chapter.


What form of regalia ‘must’ we wear? Some feel that dresses or suits are musts, while others opt for pants. Queen Karen Harris (Venice Razzle Dazzlers, Venice, Florida) has suggested something else – purple saris! Karen once lived in India and swears by these for keeping cool in the hot weather. Suffice to say that outfit options are limited only by one’s imagination (and good taste, of course).

Want to make your own purple clothes? Do what many chapterettes have done. One such Queen, Marilyn McGregor (Sassy Broads with Hat’Titude, Ottawa, Ontario) suggests: have a BYOPD (bring your own purple dye) party. For the cost of a few packages of purple dye everyone gets a new purple outfit (or two) to take home. Adds Marilyn, “It is also a good opportunity for us to get together for a few good laughs, particularly when some of the outfits don’t turn out just the way they expected!”


As Sue Ellen Cooper has indicated, we have no rules, but strong guidelines. There is a distinction. Yes, all RHS members are expected to wear our proper regalia colours – that of red hats and purple clothes. No, the sky will not fall if a chapterette occasionally wears black or white pants or skirt with her purple shirt or blouse. Maybe she doesn’t have the money for a head-to-toe purple outfit (although we do encourage thrift-store shopping, so that shouldn’t remain an issue for long). Maybe her purple pants are in the wash. Let’s allow different ‘versions’ of purple, too. After all, we don’t want to blend together like we’re wearing army camouflage! Let’s cut each other a little slack in this area.

However, if any member consistently refuses to wear full regalia, then she is making it clear that she really isn’t interested in being a member of the Red Hat Society. Sporting the colors is how we make ourselves identifiable to the world, and to each other. It seems little enough to ask of each member. As long as all chapterettes wear their appropriate colors, why not live and let live?

Written in Friendship by Sue Ellen Cooper


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