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Driving Me Hatty

July 27, 2013

Hola, peeps!

Yesterday I experienced a long-overdue milestone in life, a coming of age event which came much later for me than it does for most Americans:

I bought my first brand new car.  At age 41.

You see, my previous car died as I was trying to leave for work.  The clutch went out for the third time and my car wouldn’t even pull out of the driveway (at least I didn’t get stranded on the road).

I have never considered buying a new car before; I’ve always owned used cars because I am very frugal and the bang-for-buck ratio of a used car has always been much better.  The top 3 priorities in my used car search yesterday were, in order of importance:  1) reliability; 2) good gas mileage; and 3) a manual transmission (which is getting increasingly rare in the U.S., unfortunately).  As my search turned up few used car options and what was available cost much more than I expected, I had to start considering a new car for the first time ever.

After a couple of test drives, I chose a 2013 Mazda 3 iSport, which is very nimble on the road, gets great gas mileage, and is highly rated.  Yay for me!  I’ve also owned a Mazda Protege before and loved it.  It’s zoom zoom time here in Texas!

mazda 3

Naturally, my thoughts tonight turned to hats and cars.  My first instinct was to blog about hats shaped like cars, but the few results returned by my search were not what I had in mind, nor were they worthy of a blog post!

So then I thought it might be nice to feature some men’s millinery for a change.  Haven’t done that in ages!

Let’s talk about….  The Driving Cap

driving cap

The driving cap originated in 19th Century Britain and Ireland, and was worn by just about every working class man, every day.  It was made from cotton, tweed, leather, or wool, and was gradually adopted by the aristocracy who had the caps made from finer materials to wear while playing golf.

The past 30 years, men have grown more interested in driving caps as stylish alternatives to the bland ball cap.  I find it refreshing to see men embracing this “new” option in personal style.  Several sites out there had great fashion and styling advice so I thought I would share a couple here. had some nice looks which are safe enough for mainstream men who don’t want to stand out too much, but still have some style.

img_3130 was my favorite, though.  It had some great styling advice and really sharp looks which I would consider European-inspired, or at least not like anything you would ever see here in Texas.  (Of course, it doesn’t help that it’s only cool enough here for 4 months out of the year to dress like these guys.)

cap trio

Burberry 2012

But why let the men have all the fun?  Maybe I need to fashion myself a driver’s cap to wear with my driving gloves (courtesy of my grandma’s estate) in my sporty new Mazda 3!  What is your favorite driving outfit?  I would love to hear about it.

Have a great weekend and drive safe!

(p.s.  No, I did not get compensated in any way by Mazda to endorse their cars.  I’ve just had good experience with them in the past and they’re highly rated here in the U.S.)


As always, please feel free to comment on this post below.  If you like what you see here, subscribe to this blog for more great millinery stuff!

S/S14 Rome Fashion Week: Ethical Chic from Stella Jean

July 20, 2013

Earlier this month, Rome Fashion Week debuted the Spring/Summer 2014 collections of several talented designers.  Among those was Stella Jean,a young designer of Italian-Haitian lineage who started her fashion career as a model and quickly realized her calling was creating fashion, not just wearing it.

Stella participates in the Ethical Fashion project which promotes social responsibility and ethical consumption to empower impoverished Third World communities.

Her garments are gorgeous on their own, but her use of headwear makes each outfit positively shine.  I would wear most of the Stella Jean outfits I’ve seen, but I’ve posted my favs here.  I love scarves by themselves, but I especially love her use of scarves under hats – that’s been one of my favorite looks for many years and I think Stella Jean pulls it off so elegantly every time she uses it.  Overall, I love how her use of color, texture, pattern, and scale make her models look so mature and powerful.  I could see women across a broad age spectrum clamoring to wear these clothes.

You can see the entire fashion week collection here.  If you like what you see, stop by Stella Jean’s website for more ethical chic!


As always, please feel free to comment on this post below.  If you like what you see here, subscribe to this blog for more great millinery stuff!

These Are Not Your Childhood Paper Hats

June 22, 2013

A friend of mine, Alicia Colina-Ashby of La Alicia, sent me a link recently to this blog post by All Things Paper which featured gorgeous hats by Mary Design made from rolled paper.  La Alicia is all about eco-friendly creative stuff so it’s no wonder she found these great hats.  Many thanks to Alicia for sharing these hats with me!


Mary Design is the brainchild of Brazilian designer, Mary Arantes, who designed the hats which were then fabricated by Futurearte, a “cooperative handicraft group that trains at-risk young people in management and marketing skills.”  The full slideshow of hats and bracelets can be seen on here.



Please take a moment to read the All Things Paper blog post here, then get inspired by the images and go create your own designer paper hat.  Feel free to share pics if you do!

A Frivolous Friday: Felines in Fedoras

June 15, 2013

Happy Friday, everyone!

It’s been a harrowing week in our house. My sweet kitty, Jack, became ill suddenly and I was worried that his condition might be life-threatening. Fortunately, the vet believes it is merely an infection and Jack is now on kitty pain meds and antibiotics. He seems to be feeling better already, which is a relief.

What does that have to do with hats, you ask?

I find that events like this one remind me of my priorities, including loved ones and the need for levity in our complex and sometimes scary world.

In that light, I present to you…
(drum roll please)

Cats in hats!

meredith yarborough cats

Meredith Yarborough knits hats for cats (and dogs and guinea pigs) and sells them in her Etsy store.  Her cat hats have been featured in several articles including this one on the Huffington Post.  While my cats would never be the models of civility which hers appear to be, it cracks me up to look at pictures of cats in hats.  Sorry, Jack.

My favorite hat of hers is the Aviator.  Too funny!

Aviator Cat Hat Dog Hat -  Aviator Cat Dog Costume - Pilot Hat Costume for Cats and Small Dogs

Other links which surfaced in my search include a Flickr page dedicated to cats in hats (my, what a chic looking cat in a blue beret), a hilarious pic on Pinterest of a guy with his cat and the caption “We didn’t choose the thug life. The thug life chose us.”

We didn't choose the thug life. The thug life chose us.

To top it all off (har har) another Huffington Post article about cats as hats.

So there we have it.  A lighthearted Friday celebrating my cat Jack’s return to health and the ability of both felines and fedoras to brighten our day.

Thanks for reading and Happy Father’s Day to all you dads out there!

TMM, where have you been?!

June 8, 2013

Don’t shoot me!

I know, I know.  It’s been over 1.5 years since my last blog post.  You probably thought I had died, or been trampled to death by a herd of rhinoceroses.  Nope on both accounts (whew!)

After several wonderful years of full-time millinery madness, I’ve been back working in the corporate world and just haven’t had the time to keep all of my many projects going strong.  If you feel left out, well, don’t take it personally.  Our bathroom renovation has taken almost two years and it’s still only about 70% done!

To make a long story short, we all have to prioritize and I’m picking up my baby blog again and promise to take better care of it.

Now, I will not promise to blog every day.  But I truly appreciate all of you following me and hope to deliver the goods you’re expecting at least once a week.  I think that’s manageable, don’t you?

With that said, I would love to hear from you!

  • What topics do you want covered?
  • What is important to you in the world of millinery or fashion?
  • What makes you happy/angry/sad about these topics?

Drop me an email, comment on this post, or send me a courier pigeon.  I promise to read and respond.  🙂

Jean Paul Gaultier at the DMA – Pure Gallic Genius

November 21, 2011

I went to the Dallas Museum of Art’s Jean Paul Gaultier exhibit yesterday with members of the Dallas Millinery Society and the Dallas Hat Band.  Naturally, I had to plan an outfit and throw together a hat for the event (I was surprised how few others did that).  I’ll post photos of our group on the Dallas Millinery Society’s Facebook page, hopefully this week.

There was also a very nice exhibit next door to the JPG exhibit called African Headwear: Beyond Fashion.  This show is also very worth seeing and ties in to the JPG show since he is very influenced by non-European cultures.

I have to say that the JPG exhibit was one of the best exhibits of any kind that I’ve ever seen, anywhere, ever.  It was so creative, so inspiring, so beautiful, and so odd that I literally had to push back tears at one point.  I resisted the urge many times to jump up and down with glee, and I’m surprised I didn’t pee in my pants from excitement.  I really had to work not to let my exuberance become obnoxiousness (I asked my friends to tell me if I was annoying them, they said I wasn’t.  Most of them were pretty excited about it, too.)  His headwear is amazing, of course, and very prevalent.  If I had seen this show when I was in art school, I probably would have learned millinery back then.

The museum advises that you allow two hours to see the show, but I could’ve stayed there for four hours if we hadn’t had lunch planned after the show.  I will be going back to see it again, though.

Whether you like his designs or not, JPG’s creations are sculpture come to life and when they’re not thought-provoking, they’re simply provoking, which I find wonderful.  He is quintessentially French (so I am biased there, being a bit of a Francophile) and his quirky sense of humor comes across loud and clear.  He’s not subtle very often and some critics complain about that; I think there’s a place for subtlety and a place for outrageous, unfettered joy in creation.  JPG fits into the latter.  I asked the lady at the information desk what JPG was like when he was here in Dallas right before the show opened – I asked specifically if he was fun – and she said he was very fun, funny, genuine and very nice.  How refreshing.  🙂

The way they display the show is humorous and innovative and worth seeing all by itself.

Go see the show while it’s up.  Go see it twice.  Save up for the $125 catalog (which is really a huge coffee-table book).  You will be glad you did.

And now, since only the press were allowed to take photos, here are some pilfered pics from the show.  I haven’t found images yet of two of my favorites, but when I do I’ll try to remember to post them.

this is a mermaid with walkers - I love this piece! he takes something many people look down upon and reveals its inner beauty


As always, please feel free to comment on this post below.  If you like what you see here, subscribe to this blog for more great millinery stuff!

What is it about Hats? – The Documentary

July 20, 2011

I requested the movie What is it about Hats? A Documentary About People Under the Brim as a birthday gift and wanted to do a semi-review here for you hat lovers.  (I didn’t take enough notes to do a full-fledged review; I was looking at all the hats!)

What is it about Hats?

For a short documentary (around 30 minutes), it’s $20 selling price seems steep (I think the price was closer to $30 when I got mine….)  But, considering the unusual subject matter and the fact that it’s an indie documentary, I still think it was worth it.

It features many prominent milliners and members of the fashion industry from around the United States, including:

  • Ian Dellar
  • Truly Biggs
  • Nicole LeBlanc
  • Lisa Farrell
  • Loreta Corsetti
  • Blythe Savage
  • Kate Pernia
  • Myra Walker
  • Stephanie Davis

The basic format is broken into sections such as “How to Wear a Hat” where they interview people on their opinions about attitude and placement on the head.

Some of my favorite quotes/concepts from the movie:

  • “There is a hat for you.  You just have to find it…and then you have to wear it.”
  • “You have to wear the hat, the hat cannot wear you.  You dn’t want to look too conscious about wearing a hat.”
  • “Caps are not hats!”  (I love that one)
  • When you’re wearing a hat “you look like you are somebody that other people want to know.”
  • “Peoples’ posture changes when wearing a hat.”
  • “A woman that can wear a hat, usually, is an interesting woman.”
  • “My advice to anybody, if you’re single, is to wear a hat!”

The three main things I wish the producers had done differently:

  1. I wish it were longer.  (This one is obvious and I’m sure there were reasons it wasn’t longer, probably budget-related.)
  2. I wish there was more technical info in it.  It would be lovely to have a movie that really goes into how hats are designed and made, and I think it would give more people an appreciation for how technical and how difficult millinery can be.  Maybe they’ll consider a sequel to address this side of millinery.
  3. Interview more men and address that population equally.  The movie almost exclusively featured women, but more men are wearing hats now.  The movie was released in 2006 – maybe it’s time for that sequel.  🙂

Overall, I think if you love hats you’ll find this movie entertaining and sometimes insightful.  Let me know what you think about it if you ever see it!


As always, please feel free to comment on this post below.  If you like what you see here, subscribe to this blog for more great millinery stuff!

Vintage Millinery Suppliers in Short Supply

July 1, 2011

My cousin has a vintage shop on called SunnyDayRainyDay and she’s got all sorts of great stuff for sale.  Many moons ago, she sent me some vintage millinery catalogs and I spent an entire evening pouring over them with a glass of wine.  What fun!

One of the catalogs is from Milliners Supply Company here in Dallas, Texas and the others are from Louie Miller Company in Chicago, Illinois.  The dates range from 1960-1966.

Take a peek at the treasures that I found in these catalogs:

cover of Louie Miller Company catalog, 1966

page with "Fancy (Cape) Net Frames"

The vast majority of pre-blocked hats were buckram frames just waiting to be covered.  I just thought the cape net frames were more interesting since it seems harder to find cape net in today’s millinery.  I sure would love to have seen the finished, covered hats!

more Fancy (Cape) Net Frames - note the comment that these are "Primarily made for solid flower hats. A must for your spring wardrobe." It's hard to believe how many solid flower hats were sold in the 1960s!"

fine Beaver Felt hats, pre-blocked and ready to trim

Note the cost of the beaver hats — $8.50 in 1966 is roughly $58.11 today.  My, how times have changed!  I suspect, though, that the low price was influenced by the fact that these were synthetic beaver as opposed to real beaver fur.  What do you think?

#6318 and #6327 are my favorites!

My goodness!  A block that cost $22.50 in 1966 would be roughly $150 today.  That’s actually quite a bargain for both a crown and brim together.

The following two photos are the front and back of a flyer that was stuffed in the middle of one of the catalogs.  Apparently, one could learn millinery by mail order in the 1960s.

front of flyer

back of flyer

I think it’s so sweet that they advertise why the hats created by students of the Academy of Millinery Design are worth a premium.  Perhaps the students were a bit ahead of their time, ready and waiting for the Conceptual Age to dawn.  😉


As always, please feel free to comment on this post below.  If you like what you see here, subscribe to this blog for more great millinery stuff!

A Whole New Mind, A Whole New Horizon

June 21, 2011

This post isn’t exactly hat related, but it is about a book you might want to read (and, no, I didn’t get paid to promote this book.)

After sitting on my bookshelf for at least 3 years, my copy of A Whole New Mind by Dan Pink found its way into my hands and heart.  (I must admit that my sister is responsible both for giving me the book and then hounding me until I read it.  What a great sister.  Thank you, Julie!)

The reason she encouraged me (more than once) to read the book?

Because I am a whole-brained person who has found support for my viewpoint to be quite lacking, to say the least, for most of my life.

Written in 2005, the premise of the book is that right-brained and whole-brained people — people who are equal parts left- and right-brained — have been widely disenfranchised and ignored by Western society largely because of a bias on the part of science in favor of left-brained activities.  This scientific viewpoint has failed to recognize that every human uses both parts of the brain to function and each brain hemisphere has its own wisdom to impart, even the right hemisphere.

Dan Pink (about whom I’ve blogged before) has made a very compelling case for the theory that we are entering a new Conceptual Age in which whole-brained people will rule the economy.  We had the Agricultural Age, the Industrial Age, the Information Age, and now, according to Pink, we have already entered the forefront of the Conceptual Age and those who do not adapt will fall behind, possibly for good.

While that last bit is a teensy bit frightening even to me, a whole-brained thinker, the overall concept is fascinating and hopeful.

Pink is not arguing that left-brained thinkers should be banished, just that the time is right for creative types to step to the plate and get our turn at bat (now I’ve got the theme song from The Jeffersons TV show stuck in my head….)  He suggests that the changing global economy has created the primary factors of Abundance, Asia, and Automation which are driving the onset of the Conceptual Age.  The book even provides suggestions for ways to tap into your potential and find a spot for yourself in the new Age.  (Btw, I emailed Dan and asked him if he still stands by his theory six years after publishing the book and he wrote back saying that yes, despite the bad economy, he still sees things headed in the Conceptual direction.)

It’s fascinating stuff and one which, if you’re like me and have been called “weird” your whole life just because you see things a little differently, you should read.

Once you do, you may find yourself referring back to it frequently and buying copies for loved ones.  I also plan to buy an extra copy (used, from, to be eco-friendly) and donate it to my local library (a favorite hobby of mine).

Yes, the book is that good.  Read it today to explore a whole new horizon!


As always, please feel free to comment on this post below.  If you like what you see here, subscribe to this blog for more great millinery stuff!

Millinerium Derby hat in Women’s Wear Daily online

June 7, 2011

My friend, Lisa Petty, from emailed me today to say that the Millinerium Kentucky Derby style hat that she wore to the Mad Hatter’s Tea Party at the Dallas Arboretum made it into a slideshow on Women’s Wear Daily’s website.  So I had to share the shot with you all:

Millinerium hat on Lisa Petty at Mad Hatter's Tea, Dallas Arboretum, April 2011

You can see the full slideshow here.  Enjoy!


As always, please feel free to comment on this post below.  If you like what you see here, subscribe to this blog for more great millinery stuff!

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