From the time I was a little girl in Florida, I've loved hats. My grandmother Leona Pittman believed a woman was not properly dressed for church without one. She always tilted her large brims to the right, slightly covering her right eye.
In my 20s, I started wearing hats to church as a tribute to my grandmother. Today I'm known for my hats at my church and at the NAACP, where I've served for 30 years. I'm following in the legacy of female civil rights leaders who completed their Sunday go-to-meeting clothes with fashionable hats.
Now I own about 200 hats, including everyday styles and special-occasion designer hats. I love Philip Treacy, Queen Elizabeth's couture designer. I also like Louise Green, a milliner in Los Angeles who specializes in vintage styles. I'll buy the hat first and then find a suit or shoes to match. Sometimes I'll have a hat for six months before I find just the right outfit for it. I like to keep up with trends, but I also recognize that wearing hats is a time-honored tradition. It keeps our history and culture alive.
—As told to Barbranda Lumpkins Walls
Hat tricks: Roslyn Brock's do's and don'ts: