“Women of fashion have decreed that it is ‘bad form’ to wear new and gorgeous apparel on Easter Sunday in the bourgeois manner of past years, irrespective of the appropriateness of the season or the occasion…The day for women to appear in gaudy clothes, topped by summery hats, on a cold, blustering day of early spring ‘because it is Easter,’ and their toilets have been created for the dress parade that follows the Easter church service and must be worn, is emphatically a thing of the past and has been for several years now…”

The excerpt above was written in 1896. But the Easter bonnet–the tradition of putting on a new, festively bedecked hat on Easter Sunday–has proven to be alive and kickin’. Not only is the Fifth Avenue Easter Parade, which culminates around St. Patrick’s Cathedral, still thronged with participants, the custom has produced a worthy fundraising event: Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS’ 31st annual Easter Bonnet Competition, will be presented April 24 at 4:30 PM and April 25 at 2 PM at the Minskoff Theatre (200 W. 45th St.). Hosts for Tuesday’s performance include Bette Midler, David Hyde Pierce and Gavin Creel as well as Christine Ebersole and Patti LuPone (War Paint). There will be original numbers performed from shows such as Kinky Boots, Wicked, and The Lion King; a special parade of bonnets will pay homage to the colorful shows Sunday in the Park with George and Waitress. Some $30 tickets are still available so get them while you can! No special headgear is necessary to attend.

But, if like Jane Eyre you cannot afford expensive millinery and must make your own bonnet, you will need a pattern–easily found these days on the internet, and sewing materials, buckram, felt, ribbons and laces. Or go totally modern and make one from cardboard and duct tape. Just don’t forget the paper flowers, fake chickens, robin’s eggs and feathers–you can’t possibly overdo here.

 

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