In Soviet times the local women’s tradition to keep their hats on indoors was truly widespread. Ladies in huge fluffy hats could be found in public queues, sitting in restaurants, enjoying their time in cinemas or theatres and sometimes even working away in the office in such large headgear.
Some sources insist that this tradition goes back to ancient times in Russia when a woman’s headdress served as an integral part of her hairstyle. The greater the cost of the hat and the more fashionable its style, the greater the social status and wealth of its wearer. This could possibly explain why Russian women still love their fur hats in particular.
However, my Mom explained to me that Soviet women simply lacked good hair products and were shy about showing their hair looking disheveled and messy after wearing a fur hat. In addition to this, theatre and cinema cloakrooms in the Soviet Union would accept winter coats but often refused to store large winter hats. Too big to leave inside a coat sleeve, these ‘fur masterpieces’ or “shapkas” (as they are known in Russian) would stay on top. This habit acquired, older ladies still keep wearing their “shapkas” indoors even nowadays.