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Red Hat ladies mix, fun, fashion and charity

November 02, 2004|by CANDICE BOSELY

martinsburg@herald-mail.com

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - Cynthia Greenly said she's moved "about a hundred times," but wherever she goes she finds friends - even "sisters" - who all seem to have a penchant for wearing red and purple.

Greenly and about 75 other area Red Hat Society members gathered Monday at the Holiday Inn in Martinsburg for a luncheon and annual charity event.

They came from West Virginia, Maryland and Virginia carrying bags of clothes. Each woman was asked to bring three to five articles of clothing to be sold in Greenly's Hedgesville, W.Va., consignment shop, named Repeat Boutique.

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Proceeds from selling the clothes will go to the Shenandoah Women's Center, which assists women and children in need in the Eastern Panhandle.

Clothes that are not sold will be donated to the shelter, Greenly said.

At 48 years old, Greenly is not of age yet to wear bold reds and purples. She wore a pink hat with a lavender ribbon.

Only women 50 and older can wear the red and purple of the Red Hat Society.

Red Hat Society members gather frequently and also hold an annual charity event.

"It's just fun, fun, fun," Greenly said of the group. She's a member of the Charles Town, W.Va.-based Ramblin Roses, Rowdy Rebels chapter.

"These ladies are my sisters. They always make you feel welcome to a new community," Greenly said.

Recent group outings included a trip to Winchester, Va., to visit a mansion and eat at a local restaurant. The group also hosts slumber parties. A gala ball is planned for next week, she said.

"The ladies really come dressed to the nines," Greenly said. "The more extravagant you are, the more fun it is."

There's no strict minimum age to join - one member's 3-year-old granddaughter "has a hat and everything," Greenly said.

She said she would encourage any interested woman to join a local Red Hat Society chapter.

"They don't even have to put any thought into it," Greenly said.

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