I absolutely LOVED her hat!!! What many critics failed to understand was the connection to the age old tradition of 'Crowns' in the black community. Large, fanciful, embellished, bedazzled, ladylike, fierce, dramatic toppers are de rigueur at Sunday church services, special events, fashion shows, plays, graduations, etc, in the black community. They are a show of wealth, status and class in the same way that designer bags are. They also represent a regal connection to our African ancestry. I believe Aretha's fashion statement spoke to something deeper than just 'I wanna wear a big ole' fancy hat'. I think it spoke to a reverence and respect that she held for the momentous occasion and it's direct connection to her history - a history filled with church, civil rights, marching, shoutin' and making it to the mountain top.
For a woman that is known to show far too much skin, especially her never-ending cleavage, Aretha looked rather chic and understated in her melange charcoal lady-coat and chapeau. The hat has been requested by the Smithsonian - for sure, a great honor. I hope she donates it because it is about more than just the Inauguration, it is a great nod to a rich, little known aspect and aesthetic of American culture and history.