Carolyn Cromwell had planned to wear a hat decorated with mirrors, but opted for an oversize red straw number, thinking the glass would fog in the damp weather.
It may have been a cold, wet Easter, but Ms. Cromwell wasn't about to let the weather ruin her opportunity to wear an Easter bonnet to services at Bethel A.M.E. Church on Druid Hill Avenue yesterday.
Although wearing an Easter bonnet has become a waning tradition of late, you would never know it looking at the collection of hats outside the church after Easter services.
Some were of the traditional straw variety, some had homemade flowers and touches of velvet, but amid all the decoration, Ms. Cromwell's head wear was easy to spot.
The hat, a standout trimmed with sequins and a dangling bauble on the right side, was a holdover from Easter 1990.
"In the black community, Easter is not only a celebration of religion, it's a springing forward out of heavy woolens into silks," Ms. Cromwell said.
Although umbrellas and rain hats covered most heads yesterday, for some women, a rain cap just wouldn't do.
"It was rainy, and I thought maybe I would put on something cheerful," said Lena McKinney, who was leaving Easter services at Union Baptist Church, wearing a red felt hat she bought in New York years ago.
"I never come to church without a hat; it's just a part of me," said Catherine Adams, who wore a black straw hat yesterday to Union Baptist.
Some churchgoers observed that people don't seem to get out the Easter finery the way they used to. Most women spotted with hats yesterday said they wear them every Sunday, not just on Easter.
"I think the values are different," said Mary Hathaway, leaving Union Baptist wearing a blue and silver pillbox hat with a gray bow in the back.
Ms. Hathaway recalled Easter parades on Pennsylvania Avenue in the 1950s when prizes were awarded for the best Easter outfits.
"People are a little more comfortable now in what they wear; they don't go out a lot wearing fancy clothes like we used to," said Sallie Worrell, as she arrived for Easter service at City Temple of Baltimore Baptist Church at Eutaw and Dolphin streets.
Wearing a rain hat instead of one of her fancy Easter bonnets, Ms. Worrell still looked elegant in her ivory suit trimmed with lace and a mink stole.
"We used to always look forward to Easter," Ms. Worrell said.
"My mother used to make us little white suits and we just didn't want to get undressed," Ms. Worrell added.
Of course, some people don't have any patience for nostalgia -- even on Easter.
"I don't dress up," said one 81-year-old woman leaving Union Baptist without a hat.
"I have dressed up for so many years and I don't feel like getting dressed up anymore," she said, declining to give her name.