We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What is the Red Hat Society?

By Alison McAdams
Updated May 23, 2024
Our promise to you
PublicPeople is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At PublicPeople, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject-matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

Feeling bolder in your old age? The Red Hat Society might be just the ticket for fun and companionship in your retirement years. The Society bills itself as an international "disorganization" of middle-aged women who live with gusto and wear - what else? — bright red hats.

The Red Hat Society started in July 2000 when Sue Ellen Cooper, of Fullerton, California, sent a red hat and a copy of Jenny Joseph's poem, "Warning" to a friend for her birthday. The practice quickly snowballed and a burgeoning circle of friends began gathering for tea dressed in red hats and purple dresses.

Today Sue Ellen, the Society's "Queen Mother," organizes several conventions a year for mass frivolity and publishes a quarterly mini-magazine of "Red Hatter Matters" to the 256,000 members worldwide. The Society's $35 yearly membership fee covers the operating costs for the organization's six staff members.

Members younger than fifty are encouraged to join and wear pink hats and lavender dresses until their fiftieth birthday Coronation when they are crowned while being serenaded with kazoos and clappers.

Attire at conventions ranges from lady-like tea clothes and pajamas for breakfast to formal wear for banquets. While red and purple dominate the color scheme at each event, the only fashion rule is "gaudy is good."

The Society is unique for offering a club whose activities are entirely dependent on the whims of the members. No causes are professed and no fund-raising is needed to sustain the grassroots spread of chapters. All that the devoted Red Hatters seek is the chance to dress up, kick up their heels and be more visible in an era that idealizes youth.

By Jenny Joseph

When I am an old woman I shall wear purple
With a red hat which doesn't go and doesn't suit me.
And I shall spend my pension on brandy and summer gloves
And satin sandals, and say we've no money for butter.
I shall sit down on the pavement when I'm tired
And gobble up samples in shops and press alarm bells
And run my stick along the public railings
And make up for the sobriety of my youth.
I shall go out in my slippers in the rain
And pick the flowers in other people's gardens...

But maybe I ought to practice a little now?
So people who know me are not too shocked and surprised
When suddenly I am old, and start to wear purple.

PublicPeople is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Discussion Comments
By ShadowGenius — On Feb 22, 2011

There are also many speedo gangs of elderly people who go to the beach in speedo outfits in various locations throughout the world. These are intimidating and infamous. It seems that a red hat society is much more widely appreciated.

By anon142873 — On Jan 14, 2011

It was actually started in 1997.

PublicPeople, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

PublicPeople, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.