People / Travel / USA

Steppin’ Out: The Charleston Hat Ladies’ Promenade

Some will say that hats are about function; they keep your head warm in winter, cool in summer, or protected from falling objects. There are religious hats that inspire reverence, and police hats that command respect.

This is all true, but in springtime, the Charleston Hat Ladies will say (with a chahmin’ southern drawl): “Phooey on a bunch of function!” Hats are a fashion statement, and the best time to show off your stylish chapeau is the annual Easter Promenade.


The informal parade starts at Washington Square in downtown,  and proceeds down Meeting Street to the tree-shaded Battery. It’s a low-key event, in a slow, southern sort of way, but the participants are strutin’ their stuff, and having a great time.


The parade members range from excited toddlers to reserved southern matrons, and all are having a fine time. Charleston is a very colorful place in spring, and the Hat Ladies’ Promenade adds a big splash to this color.

Happy Trails,

Stay tuned for our final post in the “Slice of Americana Series” on Wednesday. You’ll love the topic! Click here to see all the posts in the series.

Smallest church

And if you think that hats are the perfect adornment for going to church, then head north to Virginia to see the Smallest Church in America.

19 thoughts on “Steppin’ Out: The Charleston Hat Ladies’ Promenade

    • Laurie, if you’re ever near Charleston on the Easter weekend, this is a must-see. The parade is very low key, in a southern sort of way, and the variety of hats is amazing. And for photographers of your calibre, it would be a gold mine. ~James

  1. Easter Bonnets were a big part of my childhood in Baltimore, but they were generally more conservative, boater-style straw jobs than fascinators in my Episcopalean Church. Now. The Baptists and the Evangelicals? Lord they brought it on Easter Sunday. Thanks for the fond memories.

    • Thanks for the comment and for dropping by the blog. My childhood memories of Easter were a buttoned-up shirt collar, and new shoes – both too tight for my taste. Luckily, Easter only came once a year. Now the Charleston Hat Ladies – they have hats on a galactic scale. ~James

    • Bronwyn, you’ve hit the nail on the head. I didn’t see one plain-Jane hat at the parade, so The Richmond Hat Ladies would agree with your head decoration idea. The whimsy was beautiful to see. ~James

    • Easter is a lovely time to be in Charleston, and the Hat Parade is a wonderful, southern tradition. The diversity and color in the parade is fantastic, so you’ll love it. ~James

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