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February 19, 2005

The Red Hat Society.

Report on The Red Hat Society, something I’d never heard of. Sounds fun and a great idea:

There are no rules, but members usually turn out in red hats and purple clothes for society gatherings which feature everything from tea parties to tobogganing, via belly dancing classes and "Laser Tag," a form of paintball.

In essence, girls day out for women of a certain age. One thing that puzzled me wasthe constant reference to what "red hat" means in English:

or the meaning that red hats apparently carry there: that you're not wearing any knickers and so you're a prostitute."


The problem is the 'red hat, no drawers' phrase.

I like to think I’m reasonably fluent in English, it is, after all, my native language, but I’d never heard of this phrase. As a nominal papist my immediate thought, on hearing of a red hat, is a Cardinal, and I was unaware that they insisted upon the kilt solution.

February 19, 2005 in Trivia | Permalink


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If it helps at all I have heard the expression "big hat,no drawers".
Doesn't help much does it?

Posted by: Rod | Feb 19, 2005 12:01:00 PM

The Red Hat Society was fashioned after a poem "Warning" by Jenny Joseph, which mentions wearing purple and a red hat. You can find the poem at http://www.wheniamanoldwoman.com/pages/348544/index.htm

Posted by: Nancy | Mar 24, 2005 9:07:04 PM


Posted by: harry | Aug 6, 2005 7:13:57 PM

Red hat no drawers refers to prostitutes in London during the war,because prostitution was illegal they would wear a red hat,so punters would recognise them,i was told this by many returned soldiers after the war.

Posted by: mike brookes | Nov 1, 2005 3:01:55 PM

Yes, "Red hat no drawers" was in use that I know of in the 1940's, certainly in the south of England anyway, it's meaning I'm sure will be obvious to most people, I think the modern equivalent is "Going commando". However, let's not associate it with that fine body of ladies in "The Red hat society"!

Posted by: witheld | Aug 3, 2006 2:20:35 PM

Red Hat Society is a fantastic group of women who build friendship, fun and fabulousness.

For some even more fabulous clothing and red hats check out www.redhatsandmore.com

Posted by: RHAM | Oct 21, 2008 4:22:48 PM


'Red hat now drawers' has been a saying in U K for very many years.
I've heard it from Aldershot to London , Essex, Sussex, Kent and Hants.
I never knew the origin.

John....now in Oz.

Posted by: John | Feb 25, 2009 10:36:55 AM

'red hat, no drawers' was a phrase My Mum used to say (discretely) sometimes, upon seeing a red-hatted person. and we live near Nottingham (UK).

Posted by: Ash B | Mar 30, 2009 2:33:02 PM