Cover image for The Red Hat Society : fun and friendship after fifty
The Red Hat Society : fun and friendship after fifty
Cooper, Sue Ellen.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York, NY : Warner Books, [2004]

Physical Description:
xiv, 256 pages : color illustrations ; 23 cm
Corporate Subject:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
HQ1059.5.U5 C676 2004 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

On Order



Encourages women over the age of fifty to have fun and find kindred spirits while discussing such topics as marriage, children, grandparenting, retirement, and the physical, mental, and emotional effects of aging.

Reviews 2

Booklist Review

An infant disorganization whose members have been catapulted into fame, thanks to some shrewd publicity, the Red Hat Society is aimed at middle-aged women, recognizing a stage in life that traditionally was downplayed or feared. Southern Californian and Queen Mom founder Cooper relates, with much humor and some sobriety, the society's beginnings and rapid growth. A Jenny Joseph poem (when I am an old woman I shall wear purple with a red hat which doesn't go, and doesn't suit me ) serves as the motto, signature, and impetus for members sporting red hats and purple apparel. A lot of the narrative is anecdotal; the names of local societies, for instance, range from Hot Cakes and Behattitudes to Silver Foxes and W.O.E. (Women Out of Estrogen). Just as much is inspirational; stories about the first convention (Chicago, April 2002) and shared experiences, from marriage to health, pepper the book. It is a philosophy definitely intended to celebrate milestones and express individuality, a philosophy worthy of large-scale promotion. --Barbara Jacobs Copyright 2004 Booklist

Publisher's Weekly Review

Cooper, the Red Hat Society's founding "Queen Mother," believes middle-aged women have gotten used to going unnoticed, and this book describes how she's trying to change that. The Red Hat movement began in the late 1990s, as Cooper, a California graphic artist, began hosting 50th (and other) birthday celebrations for a few friends. Inspired by the line in Jenny Joseph's poem "Warning" that vows, "When I am an old woman, I shall wear purple,/ With a red hat that doesn't go," Cooper presented each birthday girl with a red hat that jibed with her individual taste. The women loved the hats so much, they started wearing them to teas, slumber parties and even sporting events. Their gatherings attracted attention, and today, the society claims to have over 10,000 chapters across the country. And members have moved well beyond hats. These days, Cooper encourages Red Hatters to accessorize with "a fluffy red-feathered fan, or a pair of purple fishnet hose," since "it is a lot easier to act silly when you are dressed silly!" Why the need for such folly? Cooper recommends it as an antidote to the serious loss of self-esteem many aging women face as they deal with their children leaving home, caring for elderly parents, widowhood, health crises and altered body image. It's a zany approach, to be sure, and Cooper's ideas may sound ridiculous to women at the height of their careers or those in retirement who've found alternate ways to relieve stress and express creativity. Nevertheless, this feel-good handbook, complete with anecdotes from members, could find a welcoming audience. (Apr.) Forecast: The third annual Red Hat Convention will be held in Dallas in April, which should drive book sales, aided by ads in Real Simple and People, radio giveaways and an author tour. FYI, Conari Press is publishing My Red Hat, a gift book for "women of a certain age," by Jill Larson Sundberg, in March ($12.95 96p ISBN 1-57324-963-7). (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Table of Contents

Author's Notep. xi
Prologuep. xiii
1 Birth of a Notionp. 1
2 Ruby RedHatp. 13
3 "And in a Supporting Role ..."p. 43
4 The Old Gray Mare Just Ain't What She Used to Bep. 69
5 Connecting the Dots (and the Lindas and Dianes)p. 85
6 Why Little Girls Love Pinkp. 103
7 She Ain't Heavy ... She's My Sisterp. 111
8 Queens' for a Dayp. 125
9 Party Hardy (What Do We Really Do?)p. 137
10 Express Yourself!p. 157
11 Ritualsp. 189
12 Join Us!p. 213
Afterwordp. 239
Appendix Would a Rose Smell So Sweet?p. 243