red hat
 n.— «Last year, for instance, fewer than 3,930 of the 10,726 people who went through basic mine safety training wound up as “red hats,” slang for new miners who have passed training exams, made it through a coal company’s screening process and been hired for their first mining job. During the first six months in a coal mine, a red hat is part of the uniform required to set novice miners apart from more experienced ones.» —“Mine jobs still alluring” by Kris Wise Daily Mail (Charleston, West Virginia) June 21, 2006. (source: Double-Tongued Dictionary)

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  1. Scott says:

    Red Hat also has a common useage in women’s fashion — denoting women “of a certain age” who have decided to cut loose and get colorful. The concept comes from the poem by Jenny Joseph:

    Warning
    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.
    ~~~~~~~~~~
    More at

    http://www.wisegeek.com/what-is-the-red-hat-society.htm

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