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Aretha Franklin stole the show on Inauguration Day with a bow-tied example of African American church hat culture. TIME examines the accessory and where it came from.

Who knew that a Bible commandment could come in so many colors? When the Apostle Paul declared that women must cover their heads during worship (1 Corinthians 11:15), African American women took his decree, attached feathers and bows to it, and turned it into something beautiful.

In the early 20th century, Sunday church services provided African American women who worked as domestic servants or in other subservient roles the only real chance to break away from their drab, dreary workday uniforms. They favored bright colors and textured fabric — the bolder the better, really — and topped their outfits off with a flamboyant hat, or “crown.”

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article courtesy of GospelConnoisseur.com

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