I spend much of my day measuring garments, measuring ladies to create garments for them, measuring models to fit them into garments...well you get the idea.  Suddenly I realized that the most common thing I hear from customers, friends and family is "Can you make those styles in plus sizes" or "I don't think vintage comes in my size".  The truth is most of the girls asking this question are not even close to what I would call a plus size, or need something custom made to fit their measurements.  So here's the opinion of a vintage dressmaker on why girls' idea of size is so misconstrued.
  So here goes, here's the biggest secret of all...are you ready for it?!  Almost every girl can find something wrong with how her body looks in almost any garment.  Thin, svelte, curvy, plump, lanky, petite...all of us.  I remember being on vacation with a friend and his uber gorgeous girlfriend, like you don't even want your man in her general vecinity, she's so hot, girlfriend.  We all went to the beach and she wore this crazy bath robe type coverup because she was embarrased to be seen in a bikini. This was the exact moment my crazy uncaring, delusional self-confidence was born.  If this bombshell thought she was any less than perfect, then obviously I couldn't trust my own self image.  I decided I want to be hot and that's how I'm going to feel about myself, end of story.  So long story short, unless you just decide to feel a certain way and say the hell with picking yourself apart, you're always going to be able to find something wrong, even if you have to make it up.  Also remember that hot girl you'd give anything to look like might just wear a bathrobe to the beach!
  So maybe you're not "plus size", or maybe you are, but either way you're probably lacking in the undies department.  Yep you heard right, lack of undies, er, undergarments.  The truth is most women up until the late 60s wore a lot more under their clothes than the women of today.
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From shoulder to hips, women wore shapewear.  It was worn under most any garment to smooth and give a smaller waist.  It was even worn when exercising!
The use of corsets and girdles gave women a flawless looking shape.  Over time women gradually moved towards more freely fitting clothes and less restrictive undergarments.  Even as fashion moved back to fitted styles the shapewear wasn't quite brought back as a staple to everyday dress.  I think it's a pretty common misconception amoung younger women to think that women were just built completely different back then, but the truth is they just had wonderfully constructed undies.  Today we can luckily avoid steel boned corsets and opt for something much lighter, like spanx.  Most vintage dresses were made to be worn with shapewear and will fit much better when worn over the proper undergarments, no matter what size you are.  So if you want to rock a tee shirt and jeans, flowy dress, or boxy one piece go for everyday undergarments, but if you want to get the most out of tighter fitting pieces wear underwear that adds smoothness and curves.  You'll feel more confident and comfortable if you do!

     Yes, a lot of vintage is tiny tiny, but it was made in many sizes, and it can be found in most any size; it is just a bit harder to find the larger sizes.  It's not because larger sizes didn't exist; it's actually just because it wasn't kept.  Smaller sizes were cherished and held on to, larger sizes weren't. Quite a bit of  girls either lose weight at some time or intend to lose weight, and the first thing they do is get rid of what they considered "fat" clothes.  Whether they were actually heavy or just viewed themselves that way, they just didn't cherish the garments that reminded them of it.  Sad, but true.

 So to address the final issue, does vintage come in larger sizes, or can the "New Look", pinup, 50's styles dresses be made to fit women who are an above average size?  I say above average size because that is actually the definition of plus size.  Yep, if you're larger than the tiny "average" bracket you're a plus size.  I personally disagree with this, and when asked for a plus size I always assume the garment needs to be made completely custom with different proportions and construction.  To me, if you can find your size in a typical clothing store, then you aren't plus size.  The truth is, the difference between a size extra small and extra large is only 10 inches!  Not even a whole length of a ruler all the way around your body seperates a size 0 from a 16.  
  Many of the dresses from the 50s have very full skirts, and some have empire waists, which are perfect for women who have a bit more weight from their mid section to hips.  Shift dresses of the 60s are usually boxy and not quite as form fitting, and it's pretty common to find 32-34" waists.  Dresses with full skirts give curvy girls a great hour glass shape and can be easily made to fit many sizes.  So vintage or new, something can be found for almost any girl, any shape.  
  Svelte or plump, lanky or curvy, we all can rock vintage styles, new or old.  Just remember to buy some awesome underthings!  Take your measurements with your new undies on if you're looking for something form fitting; you'll be suprised to find how much better you match up to the vintage proportions this way. And if you're too tiny or too large there are so many great places that make vintage inspired clothing in all kinds of sizes to flatter any body.  Finally, remember: plus size is defined as "above average" and it would be silly to beat yourself up for being above average!

Thank you to all who read my blogs.  As with every post everything is lighthearted and mostly opinion and I always love to hear from all of you and different opinions, questions, thought or even senseless ramblings you may have!  I never write anything I intend to be mean spirited or hurtful so please do the same.
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The love of all things vintage applies to so much more than just clothes.  My awesome rockstar husband shares how he gets his vintage fix...

  Why I Love Vintage Records
       by Ed Trautz


 Vintage vinyl is a love of mine, but I’m not a
sound-geek with speakers in every corner of the house or $10,000
headphones.I don’t even own that impressive of a collection, though
it is awesome to me. No, my vintage record fund comes from the few
dollars I may have in my pocket at any given time, and my collection consists
solely of beloved finds from yard sales, flea markets, and thrift
stores.But this haphazard method of snatching up LPs is some of the
fun: the hunt!A few hours spent perusing classic vinyl, from
Sinatra to Elvis, from the oft-found Pat Benatar and Carly Simon to KISS and
Neil Diamond, Parliament, and The Ramones, offers entertainment, a chance to
learn a few things, and the cheap thrill (usually $1-2) of finding a real
gem.
 But, as any music lover can tell you, vinyl also SOUNDS
better than any of our modern formats for listening.It may be a
subtle improvement over the far-easier to use sound files, but it is a definite
one.
The basic idea is that digital music’s format is converted
as it is amplified, so it doesn’t capture all of the sound wave.
Vinyl is the most true recreation of the artist’s sound, because it is
not converted; the sound wave is played in its entirety and nothing is lost as
the format remains analog from start to finish. If you’re
interested in all of the details of this, these guys explain it better than I
can: http://electronics.howstuffworks.com/question487.htm
 Another cause for vinyl vindication is, as my father
pointed out to me at a young age, the sheer artistry of larger LP album
covers.That canvas is tall and wide, and the vintage, sometimes
trippy, sometimes abstract, images you can find just add to vinyl’s
allure.In fact, many purchase LP frames to display their vinyl as
art; these frames are sold just about everywhere! http://www.google.com/search?q=vinyl+record+frame&hl=en&safe=active&client=firefox-a&hs=s6O&tbo=u&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&source=univ&tbm=shop&sa=X&ei=X0QBUYrpDJPS9QTw7YDYCA&ved=0CFMQsxg&biw=1270&bih=801
 As a sum of these parts, vinyl records offer a ritual
for music.Cleaning off the dust, setting the speed and the needle,
listening to an album as the artist intended it (as one piece of art rather than
a collection of disposable one-off tunes), and sitting to focus on the music
rather than pushing it to the background of our lives, this is how music was
once revered, and it is still well worth this reverie.If you too
are taken by the appeal of vinyl, you’re not alone!In fact, vinyl
is promoted with great passion on Record Store Day, a day set aside to celebrate
the independent record stores who won’t bow down to the streaming and
downloading of the world!You can find more information at http://www.recordstoreday.com/Home

 
Dogs kitchen begging
  They may look cute, inquisitive...like two sweet little angels. But behind these faces is a never ending supply of weird noises, mischief, and maladjustment!  The black one is Harlowe, and the white one is Ava.  I named them after Hollywood icons.  I may have misjudged.

White boxer dog sweater sleeping
This is my older girl, Ava.  She is well aware that she is not allowed in my bed.  When I found her (and took this picture) she was making no attempt whatsoever to get up or hide what she'd done. Thanks, Ava.

boxer pug puppy, black boxer
I decided since I am so awesome at picking out dogs that I should get Ava a puppy friend.  This is baby Harlowe, she's super cute.

dogs playing boxers wrestling
This is grown up Harlowe wrestling with her sister, looking guilty, and once again proving that I am bad at choosing pets. Also notice how they made my pj's and towel into a bed before playing on them!

boxer sleeping on laptop
Another favourite activity of Harlowe is to lay on the laptop while I am working.  She's kind of a jerk.

black and white boxers

But then again they are kind of cute.

boxer pug english bulldog sheepdog bischon
And they behave when company
comes over.

dog sleeping on couch
They can only behave themselves for so long though. Eventually someone will end up somewhere they're not allowed.  This is how I found Harlowe, all smushy faced and drooling on the couch she isn't allowed on.

dog cone drinking from toilet
They refuse to have any boundaries even when they run the risk of drowning in the toilet.

dogs in costumes reindeer boxers
But occasionally they do pretend to be good sweet little dogs and trick us into buying them things....

orange tabby maine coon kitten
Like this kitten.

white boxer kitten sleeping on dog
Ava and Harlowe love their kitten so much they have taught him to lay with them on the furniture they're not allowed on.

puppy and kitten orange kitten boxer puppy
I think Harlowe actually just wants to eat him.

dog and kitten friends sleeping
They may actually be friends though...

orange kitten laying on back
Because Cooper is a jerk too, because I choose pets poorly.

Although my pets are jerks I love them dearly!  Ava was a stray that spent a long time in a shelter before I adopted her.  Harlowe was adopted from a breeder that had an accidental liter of mixed breed puppies.  Cooper, the newest addition is also a rescue from a county shelter.  They are actually pretty great, mostly well behaved, lovey little animals. 
 
  Shopping online is supposed to be easy as pie and way more convenient than driving around to find things you can't live without.  Unfortunately, it is the end of my world if I get lost, redirected or find something I must have only to discover it isn't in my size.  Ok maybe that's a bit over dramatic, but it's definitely no fun to be tearing your hair out while shopping online.  In the interest of making your coffee fueled, pajama clad browsing sessions the most phenomenal moments of your relaxed life, I have a few questions for you about online shopping...

    What makes your life easier?

 
  After all the chaos and pre dawn shopping of black Friday why not unwind with a bit of small business shopping.  Small business Saturday was created two years ago by American Express to promote consumers shopping smaller locally owned businesses.  Almost every town has the great little mom and pop stores, bakeries, salons, and so many more great little gems that not only are a staple of the town,  but offer more personal service than the big chain stores.  Another great way to support individual businesses is to shop local flee markets and craft fairs where a lot of vendors set up shop.  Online is always a great option too.  Places like Ebay, Etsy, Retrophoria and Artfire are full of small business who offer all kinds of sales and promotions for the holiday season.  Check out a few of the great shops below.
 
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NorthlineDesigns offers a whole shop section
full of Holiday sales! Perfect for any vintage lover. 
Check out http://www.etsy.com/shop/NorthlineDesigns
 for great deals.

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Need a gift for a girl who's all about glamour? 
Chec out Moon Shine Baby Creations at
http://www.etsy.com/shop/MoonshineBaby 
for fabulous one of a kind accessories.

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Have a foodie friend that would love
some yummy, fresh baked bread?  Check
out Edens Touch Bread at www.edenstouchbread.com
for bacon cheddar, cinnamon bread, gluten free bread
and many other delicious loaves. Or visit
http://www.etsy.com/shop/edenstouchbread

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Want to give the gift of some nice, warm, cozy, knit socks? 
Check out Knit Around The House http://www.etsy.com/shop/KnitAroundTheHouse
for snuggly wool sock in lots of colours.

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Or even get your own home ready for
the holidays with a gorgeous new area
rug.  Carpet Tile Superstore offers great
prices on gorgeous rugs.  I can attest to their 
wonderful customer service, super fast shipping 
 and beautiful products. Visit
http://stores.ebay.com/CARPET-TILE-SUPERSTORE
to see all the lovely home decor items they have to offer.

 
  While planning out the shopping list for Thanksgiving dinner I took a moment to glance over at my husband and notice him making a list called "Kick x-mas in it's teeth plan". The list is essentially a planner of activities that are christmas oriented, such as make tons of gingerbread men and decorate them with friends.  Now at least half of the time I just ignore these ideas, not because I don't like his ideas, in fact I love his sense of humor and he comes up with some great ideas, but more because it's better to let him go with it and not manage his planning.  I finally realized last year that I turn into a 5 year old when it comes to Christmas and I should not be in charge of anything other than minor details.  In fact my 5 year old ways almost killed Christmas the first two years we were together.  How you ask?  Well...
  My husband and I were still dating and he had this perfect little bachelor pad that I had become almost a permanent resident of.  Halloween was over and I was over my candy obsession at the moment so I decided it was time to focus on Christmas time.  Now I'm sure your thinking "What about Thanksgiving?"  Well it just kind of got passed over that year in my brain.  Maybe because it was our first Christmas together, or because it was a very cold fall, but I went into little kid Christmas mode extra early that year.  I started to focus on the fact that we had no Christmas tree, my husband may describe it as obsess, I like focus.  Days of talks about how we need a tree, have to have a tree and can't live without our very own tree ensued.  Finally the stores were starting to get live trees in and we were in the car going to get our very own!  We wondered around the big chain store with the cheapest trees you could buy and found a perfect huge tree.  We tied said tree to the roof, brought it into the second floor duplex and set it up and made it pretty.  Yay!  I finally had my tree!  Lovely little story, right?  Wrong.  Now as I remember my husband gave into my tree need in mid November, which is sort of early for a tree, but they last that long.  Um sort of, I think if you have the whole tree longivity thing down you can get over a month.  Or maybe if you buy a fresh one from a tree farm, or keep it outside for a bit before setting it up, or don't buy the cheapest one you can find and set it up like 6 weeks in advance!  So needless to say our tree did not make it to Christmas.  It was brown at least a week before.  It became the most fragile thing in the house that we wouldn't even breathe on  or else it would explode little brown needles all over the living room. We still enjoyed Christmas, but withone very ugly, non festive, disaster of a tree. Lesson learned!  Or not...
  The following year we had our very own house for Christmas time.  Of course this means more room for Christmas, more to decorate, super Christmas!  Because I'm not actually 5 I realized that maybe we should wait a bit to get a tree, maybe get it 3 weeks before Christmas this time.  So I waited patiently and started to focus on how we need a huge tree.  I may have measured the corner it was going in more than once to plot out how to fill a third of our living room full of tree.  My waiting was rewarded with a trip to get a tree, this time from one of those standard parking lot tree sets.  I wandered and wandered and finally found a enormous tree.  "Perfect, we'll take this one' I said, I'm pretty sure my husband said no, but I couldn't be reasoned with at this point.  So we tie the tree to the roof of the car and head home.  I was well aware that the tree was not fitting in the house without some cutting of the top or the trunk, so I got out the saw.  I cut a good 6 inches off the bottom, then realized that out tree was so big because it had two trunks.  Oh well it'll work just the same.  So we put the stand on the tree, drug it into the house and stood it up. And it looked amazing!  Yep it was perfect for those two seconds it remained standing until we watched in horror as our tree split down the middle and crashed to the ground!  There was no fixing it, we tried and then just got mad.  I'm pretty sure there was yelling about there not being a Christmas this year and then the greatest image I will ever have in my memory was created.  My husband, angry or frustrated or upset that I was sad, picked up both halves of the tree, ran down to the end of the street with it and heaved it far into the woods.  It's final resting place to this day!  We went out the next day and bought a perfect tree and Christmas was saved.
  So I have finally learned my lesson and back out of major Christmas planning.  It seems to be working because we avoided Christmas tree disasters the last couple years!  Finger crossed for this year.
 
 
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This past weekend I made some spooky little pillows for my front porch.  They turned out really cute and were super easy to make!  So the following is a tutorial on how to make your own Halloween decoration pillows.

What You Will Need
  • About 1 yard of muslin fabric (I used heavy weight, but any will do)
  • printer paper
  • a design (either one you have made, or I used a premade pumpkin carving pattern)
  • fabric scissors
  • some thread and a sewing needle (also a sewing machine makes it a bit easier, although it's not necessary)
  • a ruler or measuring tape
  • cotton stuffing
  • spray adhesive
  • spray paint in whatever colour you would like your design to be.
  • an exacto or utility knife
  • a marker that matches the colour of your spray paint for touchups


craft supplies spray glue scissors ruler pin cushion
What To Do

1. Gather all the supplies you will need and fine a good place to work, like a kitchen table or some sort of big flat surface.

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2. Fold your muslin fabric in half and use a piece of printer paper as a template to cut out the piece for your pillow. I cut mine a little bit bigger than the paper so that I would have a black paint edge around the outsides of the pillow.  Take your 2 pieces of cut muslin and set them aside.

pumpkin carving halloween stencil haunted house
3. Either draw your own design or print one out that you find online.  I searched pumpkin carving stencils to get this one.  Make sure your design fills most of the paper, you may have to resize it. 
4. Use an exacto or utility knife to cut away the negative space of the design, this will end up being the coloured area on your pillow.(Most of the printable ones will have the area you want to cut out shaded gray, which makes it a bit easier to know where exactly to cut.)

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5.  Spray your cut out design with spray adhesive.  Make sure to either do this outside or lay down newspaper on the surrounding areas because it tends to make everything sticky!
6. Let the paper sit for about 30 seconds to 1 minute.

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7. Carefully center the paper on 1 piece of your cut muslin fabric, sticky side down.  Carefully rub all areas of the paper to make sure every little piece is completely stuck to the fabric.
8. Lay the fabric with the attached stencil on a surface that won't be destroyed by paint overspray.( I use a piece of postor board outside in the dirt)


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9. Spray paint over the stencil and fabric. A few light coats are best so there are no runs.  Once the paint on the fabric looks pretty solid and not splotchy, you're done.  Don't worry about making it completely solid, it actually looks better if it is a tiny bit splotchy. Also it is more likely to bleed or peel if you put on too many layers of paint.
10. Set aside your pattern to dry completely.
11.  Once the paint has dried place the right sides of the two pieces of muslin together ****double check that your design is on the inside!****and stitch all 4 sides leaving about a 4 inch opening on the bottom (this is your stuffing hole!)  A 5/8" seam allowance is good.  If you are sewing by hand make sure to use a small running stitch so your stuffing can't sneak out.

hand stitch overcast stitch
12.  Turn your pillow to the right side by pulling it through the hole.  Your design should now be on the outside.
13. Take handfuls of your pillow stuffing and shove it in the hole a bit at a time.  Make sure to push the filling into the corners.
14. Once your pillow is as full as you would like it to be (I stuffed mine until it was almost hard from the amount of stuffing I put in)  you will need to hand stitch the hole closed using an overcast stitch.
15. Use your marker to fix up any boo boos you see.
16. Put your new pillow somewhere where everyone will be super impressed by your awesome work!

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So we've all bought that amazing pair of shoes that just ends up living in the back of our closet because they don't fit comfortably.  Whether it's a brand new pair or a lovely vintage pair just waiting to go on those stems, these tricks will give a bit more wiggle room for your feet!  Fortunately I had the pleasure of working with an older German woman who after working selling shoes in three countries learned many useful shoe stretching tips that she happily passed on to me.  I have tried all of them with great results and you should too! 
  These tricks work on synthetic or natural fibers like leather and suede.  Natural fibers are generally easier to stretch and soften much nicer than the synthetics, but these methods will give results for most any type of shoes.  Just be sure to be patient and take time to stretch any pair so you don't tear any fabric or break any stitches!

Stretching with Rubbing Alcohol
Grab a spray bottle and fill it up with some rubbing alcohol.  Spray the inside of your shoes until they are slightly damp and pop them on your bare feet.  Strut around in them until the alcohol dries.  Repeat if your shoes are still a bit snug as many times as needed.  This is my favourite method and works super well on leather and suede shoes as well as many synthetics.  Just make sure to watch for colour bleed in brightly coloured pairs.

Wool Socks Method
Throw on a pair of uber thick socks, like slipper socks or some form of super thick heavy winter ones and put on your shoes.  It may take a bit of effort to slip them on your feet, picture the ugly stepsisters in Cinderella trying to get in the glass slipper...maybe that was a bit exaggerated, but you get the gist!  Romp around the house and if you can, make a few trips up and down a set of stairs.  This method is a bit uncomfortable, but is safe for any pair of shoes.

Freezer Stretching
Grab a plastic bag that seals well and fill it 3/4 full of water.  Plop the sealed bag into the shoes and throw them in the freezer.  Leave them in overnight and the water will expand as it freezes and slowly stretch out your shoes.  Because this works slowly it is a very gentle method and is great for a pair that is just too uncomfortable to wear while stretching.

How to Prevent Blisters
Sometimes shoes just rub you the wrong way even though they are the perfect size.  Stitching in the heel or anywhere in the shoe can irritate feet and cause nasty blisters.  To stop this from happening you can coat them in wax!  Light any candle you have lying around the house and wait for a little pool of wax to melt.  Blow out the candle and use a wooden stick or your fingers to quickly pick up a bit of the melted wax and cover the inside area of the shoe that's causing irritation with a thin coat of wax.  You can also pour a small amount onto the back inside edge of the shoe and move it around to coat the whole inside back, just make sure to keep the layer very thin.

Try out one method at a time or they work well when combined
So now you can break out those ill fitting shoes or buy that fabulous vintage pair that your not so sure of the fit and give these tricks a go!

 
Every fall each network has their new line up of shows that they show us blips of over and over.  Some you can tell won't make it through the first season, others you just can't wait to watch.  Bomb girls was definitely the latter for me.  After being fed clips of fabulous 40s eye candy I was in for this one! 
  Bomb girls tells the story of the women who choose to fill the factory positions left when the men went to war.  The story focuses on four main characters who choose to help the war effort by working in a munitions factory that makes bombs for allies during WWII.  Bomb girls manages to give a history lesson about women asserting their independence in a very watchable way.   The scenery changes from grand opulent homes to swing clubs to production factories giving plenty of variety.  The characters are likable and complex enough to keep you interested.  From the spunky blonde to the sheltered rich girl breaking free from her mundane life, there's plenty of stories to be built in upcoming episodes.  The styling is well done and it seems a lot of effort has been put into making it accurate to the time it takes place. 
  So I have to say I am hooked on this one.  The clothes and sets are lovely, the girls are interesting and the stories are addictive.  Will Vera recover from having her scalp ripped off while doing a dangerous job in the factory?  What will come of Gladys accepting the proposal of two men?  Will she remain loyal to the upper class boy her parents approve of or choose the dreamy boy who asked her hand in marriage before being deployed to war? 
 
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Hats are such a lovely accessory any time of the year.  I've found though that women tend to shy away from rocking such a fabulous accessory with excuses like "I'm not a hat person," or "Hat's don't look good on me".  The truth is that hats look good on everyone. Well, maybe there's an exception or two...on second thought, probably not...hats are awesome!

So, after a bit of thinking I realized maybe it's just the threat of breaking etiquette  that keeps people from accessorizing their heads, so I dug up some basic rules of hat etiquette that come from the days when women owned more hats than shoes!

The following are rules pertaining to fashion hats worn in America.  Baseball caps have a different set of rules, as do other countries.

Is it good manners to remove my hat when indoors?
  The rules that apply to men certainly do not apply to women in this area.  Rock your hat outside and inside proudly!  It isn't considered bad manners to remove your hat when inside; in fact, it is considered quite unusual for a woman.  Hats are considered part of the wardrobe, so basically, as far as old school etiquette rules go, this would be the equivalent of removing your dress when entering a building.  To each her own, but to follow the rules, that hat stays put.

What Type of Hats are Acceptable and When
  Hats can be worn pretty much anywhere.  Commonly they are not worn when at home or when visiting a friend, although attending a dinner party at a friend's house would be an exception.  Large hats are acceptable for church, but should be removed when in a theatre...don't be that lady blocking everyone's view with your ginormous hat!
  Sun hats are best reserved for the beach and outdoors as they are not considered fashion hats and are not typically worn indoors.
  Most all other types of fashion hats are acceptable during parties, weddings, and in restaurants, or just a day out on the town.
  When attending a formal event or cocktail party it is more acceptable to wear a fascinator, comb, or scarf than a hat.
 
So now you know how to be polite and not rub Miss Manners the wrong way while wearing your hat.  Also, remember it is very impolite to point out when someone is breaking etiquette rules...so if you break a rule and someone has something to say, they have trumped your wrongdoing and you're the more polite one anyway!